Team C Wins 2007 Cluster Championships in Dramatic Fashion; Seniors Harmeling and Louie Propel Team to Sweeping Victory

In a heart-ruling battle, the 2007 Cluster Basketball season came to a close last Thursday night as Team C won a nail-biter by one basket. Instead of being divided by clusters, teams this season were chosen randomly by Coach Leon Modeste. The season was a great success, and ended in a highly anticipated match-up between Team C and Team F. Team C was led by high riser Evan Harmeling ’07 and point guard Brian Louie ’07. The team came into the playoffs with a 7 – 3 record and the number-one seed. With a first round bye, it breezed through the opening rounds before reaching the Championship game on center court. Team F entered the playoffs with a 5 – 5 record and a share of the third seed. Its leaders included postgraduate bruiser Tyler Palin ’07, and Michael Sullivan ’08. The team easily took care of its first round opponent before encountering a very talented Team A lead by Anthony Ambrosi ’07 and Gigi Cadet ’07 who was 7 – 3 and grabbed a share of the regular season championship. In a close game with over ten lead changes, Team F prevailed with a nail-biting one basket win. This proved to be one of the closest Cluster Basketball finals. The evenly matched teams made for an exciting championship. In the first half of the game, both teams struggled from the field and the free throw line, but the dynamic improved as the evening progressed. Team F held a 12 -11 lead, but Team C fired up in the second half and took the lead with a great inside game that Team F was unable to counter. With Team F falling behind, John Lee ’07 took the game into his own hands to get his team back in the game, hitting two three pointers from the corner. With two minutes to go and down by nine, Sullivan followed Lee’s example by nailing two three’s in a row to cut the lead to three. After a timeout, Team C used its ball control abilities to run down the clock before the ball was stolen off an inbounds with three seconds left. Matt Gorski ’09 of Team C seemed to foul Sullivan on his half court attempt, which would have sent him to the free throw line to tie the lead, but the referee declared that the clock had already gone out. Team C rejoiced as a few members of the crowd rushed the floor to congratulate the esteemed Cluster Champions. The four teams that failed to make the Championship encountered many ups and downs during their season, including Team B’s unexpected loss of Austin Monahan ’07, the pre-season candidate for MVP of the league. Tanner McNeil ’08 and Edwin Diaz ’07 stepped up in his absence, but failed to successfully advance in the playoffs despite a very determined team. Said Diaz, “Because Coach Modeste took it upon himself to separate the clusters into several random teams, the level of play was evenly spread out and the basketball was very competitive.” Team D, considered the weakest contender in the high profile Cluster league with its 3 – 7 record, made a strong charge in the playoffs by defeating their first round foe. Its vocal leader Matt Skinner ’07, and star shooter Ben Feng ’07 proved to be a very talented duo, but they were unable to take their team deeper into the playoffs. Team D Player Nick Anschuetz said, “I thought the high level of play was excellent. It was a lot fun playing with the best kids in school. I’ve never played such a high, intense level of basketball.” Team E’s season seemed promising with the veteran leadership of Ikechi Ngwangwa ’07, and Pat Curtin ’07, but it was a small team and soon became outmatched by many of the taller squads. In response to his experience this season, Palin said “It’s disappointing to come so close to the trophy, but I congratulate Team C on their success this season.” The overall nature of the Cluster basketball was very controlled, as it can get heated with football postgraduates and young Lowers playing in the same game, but injuries were minimal and the season was a deemed a hit by many of its participants. As sports head into spring, Cluster athletes look forward to the Ultimate season.