Vol. LXII, No. 33
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
(Photo courtesy of Princeton Recreation Department)
BY GEORGES: Noah Savage, holding up finger behind trophy, celebrates with his teammates on Georges Roasters and Ribs/Ivy Inn after they topped Northwestern Financial 58-50 last Friday to earn a 2-1 victory in the Princeton Recreation Department Mens Summer Basketball League championship series. Savage poured in a team-high 17 points as Georges finished with a 14-2 record and its second summer league crown in the last four seasons.
Noah Savage may have been out in Southern California last week but that doesnt mean his thoughts werent on the Princeton Recreation Department Mens Summer Basketball League.
With his Georges Roasters and Ribs/Ivy Inn team facing defending champion Northwestern Financial in the leagues best-of-three championship series, the former Hun and Princeton University standout was monitoring developments as he visited friends in the L.A. area.
I texted Bob [Davison], I asked what happened in the first game and he said they won by a lot (55-39) and I thought ah, Im not going to be here for the win. recalled Savage. I was a little worried coming in Thursday night, I heard they lost a tough one Wednesday night (36-35).
While Savages teammates wanted to end things Wednesday night, Savage was thrilled that a Game 3 became necessary.
I was real excited because I wanted to get involved in this and get in the picture, said Savage, who showed up Friday with bandages under his left eye, courtesy of a rough pick-up game in Venice Beach.
Savage ended up providing plenty of excitement upon his return to action at the Community Park courts. In the early stages of the game, Savage took a while to warm to the action, adding five points off the bench as top-seeded Georges took a 24-23 halftime lead over No. 2 Northwestern.
In the second half, however, Savage caught fire, engaging in a mano-a-mano shooting duel with Northwesterns Derick Grant, reminiscent of the Larry Bird Dominique Wilkins battle in Game 7 of the 1988 Eastern Conference semifinals.
With Georges trailing 40-34, the 65, 220-pound Savage poured in four three-pointers to change the tone of the game. Grant, for his part, hit on four three-pointers and two long field goals in a 10-minute stretch.
Savages last three-pointer put Georges ahead to stay at 48-45 as the team pulled way to a 58-50 win and and its second summer league title in the last four seasons.
Georges ended the summer with a 14-2 record while Grant led Northwestern to a final mark of 11-5.
A beaming Savage tipped his hat to Grant, clearly relishing matching his skills with the former College of New Jersey star and current Harlem Globetrotter who poured in a game-high 24 points.
That was really fun, said Savage who ended up with 17 points on the evening.
Everybody in the park knew he was going to shoot every time. Once I made a couple, I decided I was going to shoot when I was open so I did. He was unbelievable; he made so many difficult shots. I play against pros a lot and hes really, really good. Hes as good as those guys.
In the end, though, Grants heroics werent enough to overcome Georges balance which got nine points from playoff MVP Bobby Davison and several big hoops from Scott Findlay, Mark Aziz, and Brian Halligan.
We play like a team, said Savage. There were times when they were trying to stop me and other guys stepped up and scored. When there were openings, I scored. When you play as a team, youd like to think you are going to win more often than not. Thats what we try to do.
The pieces of the puzzle came together for Georges as it developed into a team to be reckoned with.
We kind of figured out our roles, said Savage. I shoot a lot of threes; thats what I do. Scott is going to drive into three guys and knock them all over and score. Bobby is going to get every rebound. Mark helped us tonight, hes big, athletic, I think he bothered a couple of shots by Derick. Its just a real good team.
For Savage, who is heading to Switzerland later this month to play for a pro team there, making it back to New Jersey for Fridays game was a nice way to wrap up the summer.
Its a great send off, said Savage. I kind of miscalculated my trip to L.A.; I missed all the playoffs which I didnt really plan on. Im glad I got back, this is real fun. This is home; this feels good.
Doubly good for Savage considering he almost missed out on Georges championship fun.
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