Short #ShoreHoopsBook preview; ACC women's notebook
Let's learn about Larry Farrare and a take a spin around ACC women's basketball.
Welcome back to All in the Game, y’all.
I haven’t written on this newsletter in a while because, well, I’ve been busy.
One of the many things soaking up my time right now has been doing research, conducting interviews and writing my book about the history of high school basketball on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
Here is a small taste of what the book will contain:
A year after Somerset High School won its second state title in boys basketball, Mace’s Lance of Cambridge carried the torch for Black high schools on the Eastern Shore behind the play of Larry Farrare.
His 31.5 points per-game was the second-best mark among all players in the state of Maryland in the 1966-67 season, and he powered Mace’s Lane to the Class B state final. Despite putting up an incredible 37 points, Farrare’s squad fell to Frederick Sasscer High from Prince George’s County, 94-79. Mace’s Lane made four trips to the state tournament between 1964 and 1969.
Farrare was a marvelous athlete at 6-foot-4, and won the state’s long jump and high jump titles in 1966 and 1967. He was a member of the Maryland Junior Olympic team, too. Vic Burns — who grew up in Cambridge and coached North Dorchester to a state title in 1999 — recalled that Farrare was once invited to a camp with the Philadelphia Phillies of Major League Baseball.
“He could dunk, he could handle the ball, behind the back stuff, he could just do everything,” Burns said. “He was that type of player. The Farrare’s of Cambridge were very well-known, athletically.”
Farrare wound up playing college basketball, but not until nearly 14 years after his high school career ended.
After working for eight years as a supervisor for a tuna company, Farrare landed at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and played three seasons in Princess Anne, 1981 to 1984. Through 55 appearances with the Hawks, he averaged 7.8 points and 2.7 rebounds per-game while shooting 49.7% from the floor. In the April 9, 1984 edition of Sports Illustrated, he was featured in the “Faces in the Crowd” section for being “the country's oldest major-college basketball player.”
I hope I can share more snippets and trivia with y’all as I continue working on this thing. It’ll be available this fall.
Thursday scoreboard and notes from ACC women’s basketball
Virginia Tech 66, UNC 54
North Carolina won its first seven home games of the season. That streak came to an end Thursday when the Tar Heels fell to Virginia Tech. Undoing Courtney Banghart’s side again was another poor shooting performance, as the Tar Heels connected on just 17-of-63 shots from the floor for a 27% shooting percentage. As of Friday, UNC ranked 115th in the country in field goal percentage (41.5%), 203rd in three-point shooting (29.5%) and 152nd in effective field goal percentage (46.1%) according to HerHoopStats. UNC tied a season-low in points scored and were also out-rebounded by the Hokies by 15.
Deja Kelly, who scored 15 points for UNC, told the Daily Tar Heel after the game: “I think we were really focused on boxing out their bigger people, as far as (Elizabeth) Kitley and (Asiah Jones), so they had their guards. I think (Cayla King) crashed a lot, she got a few offensive rebounds, and we just didn’t secure the rebound off of their misses, which hurt us."
Banghart added: “I told them there’s two ways to approach adversity: one is you fold, and the other is you get better. And I think this group will continue to get better.”
Elizabeth Kitley led the way for Virginia Tech against UNC, notching 18 points, 14 boards and two blocks. The sophomore is fourth in the ACC in scoring this season with 17.6 points per-game and is second in the conference in rebounding with 10.9 boards per-game. She and Georgia Tech’s Lorela Cubaj are the only ACC players averaging a double-double this year. Kitley is 21st in the nation in win shares (3.4) per HerHoopStats.
Kitley’s high school and Hokies’ teammate, Cayla King, was also a standout against UNC as she tallied 15 points and seven rebounds. King’s three-point shooting mark of 42.4% on the year is the best in the ACC among players who have featured in at least seven games. Just behind her is teammate Aisha Sheppard with a 40.6% three-point make rate. She too had 15 points against UNC.
Virginia Tech now has three straight wins against UNC.
UNC players wore this patch on their jerseys.
Notre Dame 79, Wake Forest 72
Despite a career-high 29 points from point guard Gina Conti, Wake Forest fell to Notre Dame on the road. The difference was Maddy Westbeld and Mikayla Vaughn, who combined for 39 points, 13 rebounds, five assists, five steals and four blocks for the Irish. The 6-foot-3 Westbeld continues to lead ACC freshmen in scoring with 16.3 points per-game and is sixth overall in the conference in rebounding with 7.2 boards per-game. The Irish shot an impressive 55.9% from the floor and outscored Wake 42-28 in the paint.
Notre Dame head coach Niele Ivey said this after the game: “I’m extremely proud of my group for finding a way to win. A really hard loss last week so after that game, my job was to change the mindset of this group. To see them respond and to find the resiliency, I am extremely proud of that. Some career performances from Westbeld and Vaughn today.”
Let’s go back to Gina Conti though, one of the ACC’s best point guards who doesn’t get talked about enough. The 5-foot-9 senior from Grove City, Ohio also had two assists and four rebounds on the night, in addition to knocking down a career-best eight three-pointers. That’s how many three’s Conti made her entire freshman season – a stat that shows how hard she’s worked and how far she’s come. Conti is shooting 40.9% from three-point range this season. She is also one of the country’s best free throw shooters, making 31-of-34 charity stripe shots this year. Also, Conti had just one turnover against Notre Dame in 39 minutes of action.
No. 2 Louisville 89, Boston College 70
All five starters scored in double figures for the Cardinals, but Player of the Year candidate Dana Evans led the charge with 24 points, three assists and two rebounds. Freshman Olivia Cochran continued to impress with 18 points and seven boards in just 22 minutes of play. Louisville shot 56.7% from the floor and 47.6% from three-point range.
Around the ACC
Nyah Green has arrived at Duke. The former McDonald’s All-American announced she was transferring there last month after spending about a season-and-a-half at Louisville. She has four years of eligibility remaining and could be a key rebuilding block for Kara Lawson.
On Friday, Syracuse head coach Quentin Hillsman said that the Orange never considered canceling its season like Duke and Virginia did. Hillsman expects the Orange to have a full roster on Sunday vs. Miami. The 24th ranked team in the AP Poll, Syracuse hasn’t played since Dec. 20. Hillsman added that Tiana Mangakahia said her foot feels “ten-times better.”
Asked about Virginia and Duke’s decisions to cancel, Hillsman said: “I can only coach one team. So, I worry about myself, I worry about our kids. Our kids are motivated and ready to play. You just don’t know the reasons behind (Virginia and Duke’s) decisions and you got to respect that… I know our university has taken every precaution to keep us safe. Our testing protocols are unbelievable.”
“A bag of chips is a way to defeat time. It brings temporary infinity: a feeling that it will never end.”
I used to live in Atlanta, and I’ve never heard of Carver Bible College, much less the basketball played there. But this season, their men’s team has played against 17 Division I opponents, losing each game by an average of 59 points. Russ Steinberg explains what the hell Carver is trying to accomplish.
Alexandra Petri gives a masterclass in writing satire: “I see no choice but to resign from this Death Star as it begins to explode.”
Stuff I’ve done recently
Here’s my story on Virginia canceling its women’s basketball season, for The Next.
At WUNC, a round-up of how North Carolina’s Congressional Delegates voted in certifying the election, a story on Hillsborough passing protections for LGBTQ folks, and on two UNC players being taken in the top three of the NWSL Draft.
She didn’t get drafted, but I hope we’ll still see Army’s Sydney Cassalia play in the NWSL. I wrote about her for Against All Enemies. Also there, a story on how a Naval Academy graduate led the Browns to a playoff win.
Stay safe. Y’all be good.
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“You steer the ship the best way you know. Sometimes it’s smooth. Sometimes you hit the rocks. In the meantime, you find your pleasures where you can.”