No. 1 Keyplay.com edges NDToday.com 21-17 to win title
By KATHLEEN O'BRIEN
Associate Sports Editor
Both Keyplay.com and NDToday.com sailed through the Bookstore Basketball tournament, flattening their competition like steamrollers. One had to lose when they played one another in Sunday's finals.
In a classic Bookstore showdown, the two teams traded the lead throughout the game, one that could have easily gone either way. Keyplay.com found its niche at the right time, though, and scored the final five points to earn a 21-17 victory and go home champions.
NDToday.com's B.J. Kloska, a crowd favorite, put his squad ahead 17-16 with a shot from behind the 3-point line. Those were the last points NDToday would score, as Keyplay silenced their offense the rest of the way.
"Down the stretch, I think we all got our second wind," Keyplay's Tom Dietrich said. "[John] Teasdale had a couple big baskets. Cas [Schneller] had a couple big rebounds. Paul [Moore] clamped down on defense. Jimmy [Dillon] had that 3-point shot. That was a bomb. That made them tighten up on defense, and let us get to the basket."
Dillon finally found his varsity playing form after an unimpressive start, and slammed home a dunk on a pass from Tournament MVP Dietrich.
NDToday turned the ball over its next trip down the court, then fouled Keyplay's Schneller to send him to the free throw line. Schneller missed the free shot, but his team retained possession, and Dietrich poured in one of his team-high eight buckets with a pull up jumper.
"I thought that we matched up with them pretty well with the exception of Tom [Dietrich]," Kloska said. "He shot the lights out every time he got the ball. That's what MVP's do."
Down 18-17, NDToday missed a shot which bounced out of bounds to hand possession back to Keyplay. Dribbling down the court, Dillon drew up and knocked down a surprise attempt, a long-distance shot from well behind the 3-point line that gave Keyplay all the momentum.
In a loose ball situation, refs called a jump ball, which kept possession in the hands of NDToday. But they missed their next shot, and were called for a foul on the rebound. Keyplay had missed its first three attempts from the charity stripe, but Teasdale managed to nail one to give Keyplay a 20-17 lead, just one point from victory.
"Our fouls in the end killed us," NDToday's Dave Mikolyzk said. "That had a lot to do with the ending. It just went their way at the end."
The two squads scrapped for a jump ball, and this time the possession arrow pointed in favor of Keyplay. Dietrich, who was red-hot all day from the field, continued his streak. He took a 3-point-range shot, and even the hand of NDToday's Tim Muething in his face couldn't prevent it from going down. Dietrich's nothing-but-net shot was a perfect ending to a Bookstore Basketball career, and the senior wound up his three seasons of playing in the tourney by earning a team championship and MVP title.
Dietrich, Moore and Schneller advanced to the Final Four together two seasons ago, and repeated that performance last year with Teasdale. This year, they pulled in Dillon after his Fighting Irish basketball career concluded, and, with four seniors, got the results they'd searched for the past two years.
"We've been to this place two years before, and ended up on the losing end both times," Schneller said. "We really wanted to make sure we were the ones on fire at the end this time. We were determined to go out as winners. We went to the Final Four the past two years, and made it over the hump yesterday. Those guys were great, Versatility and NDToday."
The two teams were the top two seeds from the start of the tournament, and the box score showed there were 13 ties in the game. The two teams were tied at every point interval but one in the first half.
Both Kloska and Dietrich scored five baskets in the first period. NDToday went into halftime ahead 11-10 after behind the arc shot by Mikolyzk. He also scored the first hoop of the second stanza, laying one in to make it 12-10 NDToday.
Dietrich answered with a shot that set the tone for the rest of the game, a 3-pointer that bounced well above the backboard but fell through the net, and the ball continued to roll Keyplay's way the rest of the afternoon.
"Tom [Dietrich] was on all day," Mikolyzk said. "He kept hitting his outside shots."
NDToday had two players on the First Team All-Tournament in Kloska and Mikolyzk, and Muething was named to the Second Team.
"It's really nice to be recognized after four years," Mikolyzk said. "My whole team earned this award."
In addition to Dietrich being named Tournament MVP, Keyplay's Schneller earned Second Team All-Tournament honors.
While only Teasdale is an underclassmen from Keyplay's squad, NDToday returns all but Mikolyzk and Mark Godish.
"I'll come back next year to watch you guys win," Godish promised Kloska as he walked off the court.
All Sports Stories for Monday, May 1, 2000