There was some good, exciting, basketball this week. We had one game in Logan that featured a streaking Bronco team grinding out a double-digit win. We saw an OT win that looked a bit iffy. And we saw some Fresno games that could have gone better. Basketball is heating up and is featured in today's game balls. Who made some good plays?
Game Ball One:
Shay Shaw (basketball)
Well. She's done it again. Being awesome is kind of difficult and, well, Ms. Shaw just makes it look so easy. On January 6th the Broncos had a pretty big clash with the Aggies of Utah State. Down at the half, and looking pretty dire down the stretch, Shaw was able to record another double-double for the Broncos with 19 points and 15 rebounds. She only had two assists for the game. One of them was this to Brooke Pahukoa:
(Clips courtesy of the Boise State athletics department.)
Her monster game helped bring the Broncos back to life and make it to overtime, where she scored eight points and lead the Broncos to the eventual win. Surprisingly Shaw is "only" fourth in the Mountain West at 8.21 rebounds/game. She also makes moves, like this:
The following game on January 9th, versus Fresno State at the Save Mart Center, saw a decidedly less productive output from Shaw (relative to her normal games anyway). She only had three points in the game, but she did manage to keep her rebounds in the double-digits with ten. Unfortunately the Broncos were not able to pull out that game. Ironically Shaw has averaged more points in losses (13.2) than she does in Broncos wins (12.1). The outlier is the 32 points in the loss to Idaho State. Isolate that game from the losses and Shaw on averages 9.4 points per game. The overall point will stand that when Shaw does not make points, the Broncos will struggle.
Game Ball Two:
Brooke Pahukoa (basketball)
Woman is a scoring machine. As an example from above, Ms. Pahukoa shoots from behind arc very well. She dropped 22 points and picked up 6 rebounds for the Broncos. She's also pretty clutch. When the Broncos were down, by three, close to the end of regulation, she attempted a three:
Well she missed. But not before getting fouled! Which, in this case, is a good thing because it gave her three shots at the foul line. Want to know what happened? Sure you do.
Clutch thy name is Brooke. After knotting up the score for the Broncos, she contributed another two points in OT to help seal the Bronco win.
In the game against Fresno State, Pahukoa almost had a double-double going with 27 points and 9 rebounds. The Broncos had led the Bulldogs 34 to 23 at the half. Unfortunately the Broncos had a letdown in the second half, coupled with the Bulldogs scoring 26 points in the third, led to an eventual Bronco loss. But it was not for lack of Pahukoa having a good night.
Game Ball Three:
James Webb, III (basketball)
Probably a permanent fixture for the Game Balls section. Webb just does basketball things well. He "only" recorded 12 points and 5 rebounds against Utah State. But the Broncos were already running the Aggies out of their gym, winning by double-digits 76-61. The Broncos are a gaudy 2-18 at the Spectrum. The real "test" this week was against Fresno State. Webb went an impressive 25 points, 9 rebounds and hit his first eight free throws. And what else did Webb do? Put on a show for the crowd.
The Broncos had to hold back the oncoming Fresno State run (23 points to the Broncos 10) in the second half. The Broncos had held a 20 point lead in the game (yay!). But only won by eleven (much weaker "yay!"). The point is the Broncos still won. But it was not nearly by enough points.
And guess what? The Mountain West Conference agrees that Webb is pretty good at this shooty-hoops thing. He's won the MWC player of the week for the third time in four weeks. This dude has to be a shoe-in for First Team All-MWC in the postseason, right? This is not football, so the MWC tends to get these right.
Game Ball Four:
Mikey Thompson (basketball)
Thompson had 17 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists in the win at the Aggies, leading the Broncos in points and assists. Having the senior leader around helps put the Broncos in the right position to win games, and against the Aggies, it was needed.
Fresno State was a little hairier since the inevitable run by the Bulldogs would put some pressure on the Broncos to not screw it up. So how did Thompson contribute?
Again, by contributing where needed. 12 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists. He was the Broncos' player of the game, and he needs to show that leadership when the rest of the Mountain West comes calling.
Game Ball Five:
Chandler Hutchison (basketball)
Hutchison comes off the bench. That is just what he does. While he "probably" has what it takes to start every game, he knows his role and he flourishes. He's that dependable player that CAN take over a game, when needed, and contributes wherever he can.
Against Utah State he had 15 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists. His athleticism is becoming more apparent for the Broncos and he is gaining in his confidence. He was the only bench player, for the Broncos, that had double-digit points. While he has the chops for a consistent starter, his role is off the bench.
The Fresno State matchup saw less production in terms of points (only had 9) and, well, anything else for that matter (3 rebounds). But he DID manage to foul out? So there is that? Well. Also this:
Ah, I love seeing these players get confidence in what they are doing and not being afraid to throw down a dunk. Webb and Hutchison have made the Broncos easy to watch, especially with plays like that!
Busy week people. And performances that are worthy of our time. Did you see anything with some pizzazz? Let me know.