Wednesday Dec 31 2008
High school boys basketball
Woodcreek boys lose key player and first game of season in San Diego
By: Kurt Johnson, senior sports editor
Franks out with knee injury for 13-1 Timberwolves
The 13-game season-opening winning streak enjoyed by the Woodcreek High School boys basketball team came to an end in San Diego Tuesday night, just two days after the Timberwolves lost starting forward Jordan Franks to a knee injury that alters the season outlook in the SFL. Playing in the championship game of the Surf Division at the Surf ‘N Slam Tournament, the Timberwolves ran into an undefeated team from Berwyn, PA and came up on the short end of a 53-44 result. “It was a bittersweet trip,” Woodcreek coach Burnel Pinkerton said. “We lost Jordan Franks to a torn MCL during the first game of the tourney and it could be three weeks to two months before he can play again. It was a huge loss for the team, not only was he having an outstanding year statistically, but he is also a senior co-captain.” “Jordan is bummed and the rest of the team is bummed,” he added. “We are all hoping for a speedy recovery. He is a huge reason why we are 13-1.” Playing without Franks in the tournament semifinal against Mt. SI of Washington state, Woodcreek took advantage of a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by point guard Nick Alongi, who scored 15 points and handed out six assists in the contest, to force overtime, and then the Timberwolves dominated the extra session. In addition to guard Ryan Milat’s 11-point night, key reserves Tevin Tyus (12 points), G Toor (15 points) and Matt Mazzuca stepped up to deliver big performances for Woodcreek, who also played most of that game without leading scorer Nik Milani, who was suffering with the flu. 6-foot-11 center Mike Kurtz was huge in that Monday encounter with nine blocked shots to go with 13 rebounds. A pair of borderline foul calls in the opening moments of the third period were very costly in the Tuesday title game against unbeaten Conestoga of Berwyn, PA (11-0). The fouls on Kurtz gave the big man four and sent him to the bench for a long stretch. In the title game, Woodcreek shot did not reach the charity stripe even once in the first three periods, shooting all six of its free throws in the final stanza. While the Timberwolves were not shooting free throws, Conestoga hit 15 of 21 from the line in the game. With Franks, a 6-foot-7 forward already gone, the loss of its other inside presence put Woodcreek in a difficult position matching up with Conestoga’s Division I Davidson-bound post player. Kurtz earned recognition on the all-tournament team for his performance in San Diego. Losing in the battle of unbeatens gave Conestoga a top-five team in Pennsylvania, the tourney title and left Woodcreek holding the second-place position. Kurtz was the only Timberwolf in double figures with a dozen points while Milat scored nine and snared five boards and Milani delivered six points, six rebounds. “It was a wonderful experience for our players and we got to do many other things besides play basketball,” Pinkerton said about the trip to San Diego. “It (the Surf ‘N Slam) was the best run out-of-town tournament I have ever been to.” Woodcreek returns home with a 13-1 record to prepare for opening the Sierra Foothill League season Tuesday with a trip to league-favorite Rocklin. With Franks out of that contest, the Timberwolf perimeter players will take on additional significance in that huge league opener.