Doherty plays to crowd with fiesty play in gold team victory
By KEVIN BERCHOU
What do you get when you combine campus celebrities, Bookstore all-stars and a little debauchery on a bright, sunny Sunday afternoon on the Stepan Center Courts?
Trouble? No, the Bookstore Basketball Hall of Fame game of course.
In a contest that was far more fun than it was furious, Gold defeated Blue 21-11 in the annual Bookstore Basketball Hall of Fame classic on an afternoon that featured everything from a Leprechaun making a layup to a Notre Dame coach (surprise) heckling the officials.
Men's basketball coach Matt Doherty was on hand to steal the show, showcasing a dazzling repertoire of long range shooting and reverse lay-ups, while swatting shot after shot from his defensive post.
Sparked by the fiery play of Doherty, its captain, the Gold squad bolted to an 11-6 halftime lead and never looked back.
"The guys were intense on defense and unselfish with the ball on offense," Doherty noted. "I thought we played real well."
Teamed with familiar company in former player Skylard Owens, Doherty and his protégé led a team that also featured Bookstore all-stars Pete Ryan, Coley Brady and Matt Canna, in addition to Keough Hall rector and Nunc Dimittis player Father Tom Doyle.
The Gold team triumphed over a Blue team that was captained by leprechaun Mike Brown and coached by athletic director Kevin White. Todd Palmer suited up for the Blue squad, but was outdone by his coach who seemed to relish his role as the "go-to guy."
"We focused on shutting down Palmer," Doherty said.
Though the casual observer may have thought otherwise, the Irish coach hasn't had much time to work on his game.
"I haven't worked on it all year," Doherty admitted. "If I did I'd be broken down."
All Doherty did Sunday was break down the competition. After finding his touch from three-point range, Doherty forced the defense to respect his "game" and was able to compensate for his obvious lack of speed with some ball fakes that led to some highlight reel buckets.
The Gold team was also boosted by the solid play of Owens, who was mocked by Doherty for finally getting some playing time.
"I'm amazed how Sky Owens doesn't practice all year and then comes out and is all ready for Bookstore," said a baffled Doherty.
After seeing their lead stretched to 16-9, the Gold team moved to put the game out of reach. Mighty Mouse Matt Canna did just that, dunking on basket that was thought to be far out of his reach with a boost from teammate Pete Ryan.
From there on in, the "real pros" took over, as Doherty buried a couple long-range bombs before Sky Owens caught an alley-oop off the backboard and slammed home the victory.
Father Doyle did the clergy proud with his feisty play and contributed several assists to the effort. But Doherty was unimpressed.
"It's a good thing he has a job on campus as a rector, because he belongs on the bench in a collar," Doherty noted emphatically.
Always on the lookout for talent to help next year's varsity team, Doherty admitted that he found none, but did note that Mike Brown "would make a good leprechaun."
After leading the Gold team to victory, Coach Doherty had high hopes for another of his pupils to score a Sunday afternoon victory. Doherty stuck around for the men's final, the result of which he correctly predicted.
"Jimmy Dillon all the way," he had said.
All Sports Stories for Monday, May 1, 2000