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Omelettes down CR Ballz at Field House

BY MATT SCHOMMER | DECEMBER 07, 2009 7:30 AM

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“That big dude killed us.”

That’s what CR Ballz’s Zach Walter said after his team’s first loss in the intramural men’s 3-on-3 basketball tournament Sunday night against the Omelettes. The Omelettes upended CR Ballz, 15-13 and 16-14 at the Field House.

The “big dude” Walter referred to was the Omelettes’ first-year dental student Mike Vandello.

After arriving to the match a little late with teammate Josh Doyle, Vandello took the court and quickly took over the game.

“We started off hot,” Vandello said. He added that Kyle Merten, Harold Bitter, and Chris Bitter got them “a comfy lead” in the first game.

Vandello’s night was highlighted by a couple of dunks, one coming off a nifty move that froze his defender, allowing him to go up for an uncontested two-handed slam.

“We definitely like to play inside a lot more,” Vandello said.

The Omelettes’ inside game played a big part in the squad’s high shooting percentage. The team finished with 58 percent shooting for the two games.

“They had some good shooters,” Walter said. “Plus, we hadn’t played any competition like that.”

CR Ballz, on the other hand, had a tougher time finding the basket — even when it had open looks. The squad only managed to hit nine of its 26 shots in the opening game.

On one particular play, CR Ballz’s Drew Ketelson missed an easy lay-up with no one around. That misfire was a microcosm of the team’s play in the first match — sloppy and frustrated.

“We started off slow and got down early,” sophomore Ryan Bennett said. “We made a little comeback, but it wasn’t enough.”

The second game, though, was a different story.

CR Ballz, which claimed it was more of an outside shooting team, fared much better the second time around, hitting nearly 50 percent from the field.

CR Ballz led by as many as three late in the second game on the hot hand of Bennett who nailed three consecutive shots from deep. But the team was unable to close, and eventually lost its lead and the game, 16-14.

“We just couldn’t get the game-winning shot down,” Bennett said.

CR Ballz will have one more chance to make it to the championship game if it can get through the loser’s bracket without another loss.

Omelettes will continue its march to the finals feeling confident.

“Every game has been competitive, even though the score doesn’t always indicate that,” Vandello said. “But I think we have a pretty good chance to win this.”

Vandello contributed the team’s success to the camaraderie it has able to build off the court.

Vandello and Doyle actually played basketball against one another in high school at rival schools Bettendorf and Pleasant Valley. Vandello said the two had some good battles but have since become good friends, studying and hanging out a lot.

But, there is another way the team manages to stay close.

“We end each game with a team shower,” Vandello said.


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