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SPORTS

The NBA Playoffs

By: Noah M. ('19)

You could say these NBA playoffs have been entertaining. But then again they have also been extremely predictable for what feels like the last 5 years. Either way, let’s run through what we’ve seen so far and what we can expect to see in the future.

Round 1:

(Eastern Conference)

Celtics (1) vs. Bulls (8)

The Bulls surprisingly won both games 1 and 2 in Boston, only to be followed by 4 straight losses and a quick exit out of the playoffs. Yes, Rajon Rondo did get hurt during game 2 and was a crucial part in the Bulls success in the first 2 games, but would the Bulls still have beaten the number 1 seeded Celtics if they had him the entire series? Probably not.

Cavaliers (2) vs. Pacers (7)

No need to get too in depth here. LeBron turned into playoff LeBron and didn’t let anyone get it his way. Paul George didn’t get much help from his teammates and ultimately got obliterated by the defending NBA Champs in 4 games.

Raptors (3) vs. Bucks (6)

To give the Bucks some credit, they did keep it interesting as they destroyed the Raptors in game 3 to take a commanding 2-1 lead in the series, but ultimately went on to lose 3 straight, including one at home, ultimately proving DeMar, Kyle Lowry, and the supporting cast were too much for the up and coming Bucks. Milwaukee shouldn’t worry though; the Bucks have a very bright future.

Wizards (4) vs. Hawks (5)

This series was a duel between 2 solid Eastern conference teams. In the end, the Wizards came out with a 4-2 series win. This wasn’t a very entertaining matchup. John Wall and Bradley Beal were simply too much for Paul Millsap and crew. The Hawks are a solid team with some young talent, but were no match for this proven Wizards squad.

(Western Conference)

Warriors (1) vs. Trail Blazers (8)

Not much to say here. Warriors dominate. Clean sweep. See you later Blazers.

Spurs (2) vs. Grizzlies (7)

The Spurs, led by Kawhi Leonard easily beat the Grizz in games one and two to take a commanding 2-0 lead. Then, Grizzlies coach David Fizdale went on a massive rant about how bad the refs suck (he’s right), which sparked some hype in Grizzlies fans, propelling the underdog Grizzlies to 2 straights win and tying the series at 2. Then the series shifted back to San Antonio and that was the end to Memphis’ rally. Spurs win in 6.

 

 

Rockets (3) vs. Thunder (6)

The series everyone was excited for. The battle between the two MVP candidates. James Harden and the solid Rockets, vs Russell Westbrook, Mr. Triple Double, and the trash Thunder. In the end, Russ proves that he is the true MVP (yes I said it) by scoring seemingly every single point for the Thunder and still finishing the game with a triple double. However the Rockets still beat the Thunder in 5, because the Westbrook plays one on five with the Rockets. The Thunder literally have no one capable of playing the game of basketball, except Russ, so the fact that he even got them into the playoffs is remarkable. I know you never will, but Russell, get out of Oklahoma City; the future isn’t looking too bright. As for the Rockets, they’re lucky James Harden has a very solid supporting cast.

Clippers (4) vs. Jazz (5)

Surprisingly this was the only first round series that went to 7 games. Like the last 3 years, the Clippers took a lead (2-1) in the series before losing one of their key players to injury, in this case Blake Griffin. Even with the loss of Blake the Clippers hung in there and sent the series to 7, but ultimately had no match for Gordon Hayward and a very underrated Jazz team. What went under the radar, is that game 7 was future Hall-of-Famer Paul Pierce’s last NBA game. Tough way to go out but you shouldn’t worry too much about it; You were great in your prime and got a ring. Enjoy retirement.

 

 

Conference Semi-Finals

 

(Eastern Conference)

Celtics (1) vs. Wizards (4)

This was actually a fantastic series. Not only did it go to game 7, but it was fun to watch as a fan. The Wizards didn’t impress me in round 1, so I was expecting the Celtics to handle this easily, but boy was I wrong. After going down 2-0 the Wizards fought hard and won both games at home to tie the series at 2. After scoring 33 and 53 points in games one and two respectively, the Wizards figured out how to guard Celtics’ star Isaiah Thomas, propelling them to win those 2 crucial games.  The Celtics then won game 5, but the Wizards retaliated quickly as they were winners of game 6 in Washington. The series then shifted back to Boston for game 7, win or go home, where the Celtics had won all 3 games earlier in the series. Finally, Isaiah Thomas had a much needed good game, but if it weren’t for role player Kelly Olynyk’s game of his life, the Celtics probably wouldn’t find themselves in the Eastern conference finals. Olynyk scored 26 points, 14 of them in 4th quarter, as he sparked a huge run late in the game for the Celtics, ultimately leading them to the win and sending the Wizards home packing.  

Cavaliers (2) vs. Raptors (3)

Rematch of last year’s eastern conference finals except this year it was even easier for the LeBron led Cavs. Last year the series ended 4-2 in favor of the Cavs, whereas this year the Raptors were swept. LeBron, still in playoff mode, was absolutely no match for Toronto. This series wasn’t even remotely close. Don’t complain Drake, your team has some work to do.

 

(Western Conference)

Warriors (1) vs. Jazz (2)

Nothing new. Warriors sweep and move on to conference finals without even trying. They only trailed for 12 minutes in the entire series. Enough said. Jazz fans better hope they resign Gordon Hayward this offseason or else Utah is in for a string of many bad seasons.

Spurs (2) vs. Rockets (3)

This series was very entertaining up until game 6. Each team won a game at home and away in the first 4 games of the series to tie it at two. Then, game 5 went to overtime but James harden couldn’t pull it out for the Rockets, as 39 year old Spurs’ legend Manu Ginoblili, came up with a massive block as time expired to take home a much needed W. Spurs’ perennial MVP candidate Kawhi Leonard went down with an ankle injury in game 5, forcing him to miss game 6. It didn’t matter, as the San Antonio Spurs traveled to Houston to blow the Rockets out of their own house, as James Harden had one of the worst games of his career. The Rockets fabulous season would end there, as a great Spurs team moves on to face a 4-headed monster in the Golden State Warriors.

Conference Finals

 

(Eastern Conference)

Celtics (1) vs. Cavaliers (2)

While this series has not yet begun, I’ll give you my predictions. Yes the Celtics are the 1 seed, and yes they are a great team, but LeBron is in beast mode and Kyrie is almost unstoppable. Throw in Kevin Love and a very deep bench, and the Celtics just have no shot. LeBron will continue his dominance and easily push the Cavs to their fourth consecutive, and LeBron’s seventh, NBA finals appearance. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Celtics win 2 games, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if they get swept. Either way, they are no match for the Cavs, and are sent home early. They just won the lottery and got the number 1 pick in the draft so that should help. Look out Cavs. The Celtics could be very dangerous next year if they hit with the number 1 pick and/or acquire Paul George or Jimmy Butler.

 

(Western Conference)

Warriors (1) vs. Spurs (2).

Differently from Celtics vs. Cavs, this series has kicked off already. The Spurs took a commanding 25 point lead in Golden State deep into the third quarter of game 1, leading me and others to think the Spurs were actually going to win this game. Of course, I was wrong, as Kawhi Leonard re-injures his ankle and leaves the game, sparking a 17-0 run for the Warriors. The Warriors keep chugging at the lead and eventually win the game by 2. Kawhi didn’t play in game 2, so it went just as expected; Warriors win by thirty. That is where the series is at this point, so I’ll make my predictions for the rest of it. If Kawhi doesn’t return for the playoffs, the Warriors will sweep, but if he does return they might, just MIGHT, win 1 game. Either way, adios Spurs.

The Finals

 

 

Cavaliers (2) vs. Warriors (1)

And here we are. The moment we’ve all been waiting for. While in theory there is a possibility that this isn’t the NBA Finals matchup, Let’s be honest, This is the NBA Finals matchup. I don’t really want to predict this because what I think is going to happen goes against what I want to happen but I’ll do it anyways. Warriors in 7. Ugh I can’t believe I’m saying it. LeBron will single handedly carry the Cavs to a game 7 because he simply won’t accept elimination earlier than that, and it seems like all NBA finals go to 7 now-a-days; however, I feel like if the series does reach a game 7, a nucleus of Steph Curry, Klay Thomson, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green will be too powerful for the defending champions. If the series doesn’t reach game 7, it will be because the Warriors win sooner; not the Cavs. The Warriors will be your 2017 NBA Champions… As much as it pains me to say it. If I’m saying what I want to happen: Cavs sweep and Curry and Durant both have the worst 4 games of their lives. Let’s go LeBron. Team on your back. It’s all up to you. #CavsNation

Carolina Panthers Draft Review

By: Reese R. ('19)

      As every Panthers fan knows,  we have had a rough last two seasons. After going 15-1 in the regular season and blowing out the Seahawks and Cardinals in the playoffs, we played a disappointing and lackluster Super Bowl. Then last season… wow. Bennett Hudson says, “They let me, my city and my family down.” Holden Bobb said, “Last season didn’t live up to the Carolina expectations. Excellence”.

This upcoming season, The Panthers are looked at as the underdog. The 2017 NFL draft began on April 27th. This year’s draft class possessed some of the most talented players to come out of the draft. Players like Myles Garrett, Leonard Fournette, and Christian McCaffrey possess raw talent and are physical specimens. At around 10pm on a Thursday Night, my dad and I waited for the Thomas Davis to announce the Panthers selection. With the eighth pick in the 2017 NFL draft… the Carolina Panthers select… Christian McCaffrey. Christian McCaffrey is a young, intelligent, running back from Stanford. He is a tremendous talent who surpassed Barry Sanders for the most all-purpose yards in a single season in 2015. He broke team records and bowl game records. His skillset complements that of Quarterback Cam Newton. Although many think McCaffrey was the perfect pick, some, such as Myles Browner, believe that Malik Hooker was the better pick. Hooker is a ball hawking safety who can change the game in a single play. Despite the criticism McCaffrey’s superb catching abilities and his lighting like quickness. It is up to Offensive coordinator Mike Shula to utilize McCaffrey’s many talents. We had 2 second round picks this year and used them on players that will help the offense. We drafted Curtis Samuel with the 40th pick in the draft and Taylor Moton with the 64th. Samuel is a 5’11 wide receiver running back hybrid. He ran a 4.31 40 yard dash at the NFL combine. He will be the Ted Ginn of our team next year. He has the speed and the hands, but again it is all about how we use him. Taylor Moton is a 6’5 319 pound big boy. He played left guard at Western Michigan but might play some at left or right tackle. He is a strong force that can move defensive linemen out of the way and create running lanes. Moving on to the third round, we drafted defensive end Daeshon Hall. He is a 6’5 athletic player. He is a raw talent and needs work but his size and speed are a great mix. Weighing 266 pounds and running a 4.76 is impressive. With work he has the potential to do great things for the Panthers in future seasons. The Panthers had no 4th round pick but their 5th round pick might as well have been a 1st rounder. Corn Elder, a 5’10 stud cornerback from Miami was a huge steal for Carolina. After watching some of his highlights, I think he has the potential to start next year at either nickel or replace Daryl Worley at our #2 corner. He is an athletic big hitter. In his highlights I saw toughness, along with the “no fear factor.” Scouts say he is too undersized for a starting outside corner but the amount of heart a player has can’t be measured. With our last two picks in the 6th and 7th rounds, we drafted two replacement players. 6’2 Alex Armah is the Mike Tolbert replacement. Dave Gettleman released Tolbert after another under average year. Armah brings better size, strength, and pass catching abilities then Tolbert and will be a key part of the offensive. With the last pick of the draft we selected Harrison Butker from Georgia Tech. He is a kicker…so we can only hope that he’ll be better than Gano. We also signed undrafted free agents: Ben Boulware from Clemson, Fred Ross, Bryan Cox, Cole Luke, Austin Stephens, and Austin Duke from UNCC. All these players have potential to be great NFL players and can help the Panthers go 16-0 and win the Super Bowl.

CCDS Sports Recap

By: Linton E ('18) and Will J ('19)

Don’t get me wrong, there are very few things I love more than sitting on Belk Stadium’s wobbly bleachers to watch some pigskin fly through the air, or attending a boys’ lacrosse game and conversing with almost every Country Day parent I’ve ever known, or enjoying a nice cross country mee—wait. Let’s back up.

1: I love a LOT of things more than those wobbly, and may I say dangerous, bleachers.

2: I usually try to avoid most awkward conversations with parents at lacrosse games and beeline it for the student section.

3: I am very certain I’ve never even witnessed a cross country meet.

I think we can all agree that Country Day’s athletic teams each have their own labels and characteristics that are well-known throughout the student body.  That being said, let’s all gather together as a Buc family to acknowledge the uniqueness of our community’s athletics.

P.S. This is not intended to be a roast session, and I sincerely apologize if a few tears of pain are shed while reading.

Varsity Cross Country:

Consisting of people who complain about the running in practice and early morning meets in the middle of a forest; yet, no one made them sign up for this sport.

Varsity Field Hockey:

Known to be very focused and dedicated, the field hockey girls usually break out into quarrels regarding their plaid kilts on game days.  They are strong enthusiasts of Ivy Citizens and will display this admiration by regularly wearing floral leggings.  Surprisingly, this team has the implausible honor to play on Touma’s treasured Dowd Field during the fall… truly stunning.

Varsity Football:

The team with at least 19 different coaches. The football team is usually the only sport during the whole school year to actually receive any sort of support from the Pink Posse, and once they finish their last game, the pink skirts and cow bells are retired and never used again. If you are in search for a football player during the months of August to January, he is most likely scurrying through the courtyard towards the BSAC, lunch tray in hand, and yelling over his shoulder, “Sorry, we have film!”

Varsity Girls’ Tennis:

Completely un-roastable as they have been consecutive State Champs for four years. Although the girls’ tennis team is not the most decorated sport on campus, these girls certainly live up to the wise words of John McEnroe: “I’ll let the racket do the talking.”

JV Girls’ Golf:

Is this a team?

Varsity Boys’ Basketball:

Known for their hype theme nights, stands are always filled with juniors and seniors who have whole-heartedly embraced the assigned theme.  Among the preppy frat gods and poorly wrapped togas, there are a few freshmen who have completely stiff-armed the theme.  Denying the theme is just straight up lame and, truthfully, incredibly awkward.  Nevertheless, if you’ve ever missed an exciting basketball game or want inside scoop on the players, Coach Cherry’s Instagram is like the TMZ for the Varsity Boys’ Basketball team.

Varsity Swimming:

The girls’ swim team has been a dominant force in South Charlotte pools since the arrival of Stephanie Nelson and Sophie Francis.  The team is also led by their MVP, Hangling Liu.  The boys, on the other hand, are simply mediocre.  The speedos are horrendous, and I, personally, apologize to the eyewitnesses in the stands who catch a glimpse at such a sight.

Varsity Winter Cheerleading:

Although a few critics speculated this team’s focus and talent, they clenched a full-ride to Nationals, which was held during our Spring Break.  That being said, Winter Cheer did not make an appearance to Nationals, but it’s the thought that counts.  On the other hand, the girls have a hint of dedication left as they continue to practice their impeccable techniques out of season. For instance, a few of them will frequently, and nonchalantly, huddle together and basket toss Anna Davis Sommerkamp into the air and catch her as if they are filming Bring It On. We all applaud the cheer team’s arbitrary—and most times unnecessary—cheer routine outbreaks.

Varsity Baseball:

As an on-looker of this team, there is no doubt that the baseball guys require high maintenance. If weather.com shows a slight percentage of precipitation, their practice or game is instantly rescheduled for a later, and drier, day. They are known for their very passive trash talk as exemplified when they carry around brooms on game days. Baseball games normally last around nine hours, and they are required to warm up twenty-four hours before the first pitch. Proper baseball game etiquette is to chew sunflower seeds the entire time and yell, “Atta babes!” at the designated pitcher for that night. If you happen to come into close contact with the baseball players, the smart thing to do would be to kneel and bow down to Country Day’s most treasured athletes.

Varsity Boys’ Golf:

Sinkin’ putts as Mr. Plyler—their fearless leader—strolls between the links on a golf cart.

Varsity Girls’ Lacrosse:

Possibly the most athletic and skillful team on campus, yet they still seem to have difficulty in “rallying the troops.” Their ability to identify each other’s identical Nike Air Maxes—that are all scattered on the locker room floor—is something we should admire. Their mating call is one of the most easily recognized sounds as it ripples from the lower lacrosse field all throughout the campus. If you are ever curious as to where a lacrosse girl is, just listen closely until you hear their call. It should sound similar to, “Hey PICitty, pass me my stickyitty!!”

Varsity Boys Lacrosse:

The guys who consistently wear sweat pants during practice even if the temperature is north of one hundred degrees Fahrenheit. On the other hand, if the weather seems to be colder than usual, they quickly pop out the long, green cloaks and march their way right through the girls’ soccer practice.  In hopes for Dowd Field—Mr. Touma’s reason to get up and come to school each morning— to remain perfectly intact, he kisses every little blade of grass before the first face-off. The lacrosse boys are best known for making the whole BSAC smell absolutely atrocious from the months of January to May, and for sculpting their hair into retro mullets during the month of March in order to compete for the best “lettuce.” If you are not quite sure how to cheer during a lacrosse game, a simple, yet aggressive, “Grip it and rip it!” will surely do the trick.

Varsity Girls’ Soccer:

For sure the most volatile team in Country Day history, the girls’ soccer team is always up for a challenge. A new coach every season? You bet. Masculine game shorts? Oh, for sure. Play games at the unreasonable seven o’clock? Every game, no questions asked. In addition, the soccer team never leaves practice without bombing at least forty shots over the crossbar and onto the softball field. Sorry about that.

Varsity Boys’ Tennis:

If you were to stroll on by the tennis courts, there is no doubt you could find companionship next to Ms. Tillett.  Ah, how sweet the sight of the sunlight is when it glistens off of their white high socks, white shorts, and white headbands… gets me every time.

Varsity Track and Field:

Throw, Tony, throw.

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