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November 28, 2005 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-11-28

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The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - November 28, 2005 - 3B

Fans make f<
ASHINGTON - Before I came up north, my
Thanksgiving football tradition had nothing
to do with throwback
jerseys or professional football.
Throughout high school, I spent
my Thanksgiying mornings
watching a much more interest-
ing game. The Turkey Bowl is
the annual high school chain-
pionship game for the DCIAA,
Washington, D.C.'s conference
for public schools, and it's the
perfect combination of exciting -
atmosphere, interesting charac- IAN
ters and intense football.
I hadn't been back to the HERBERT
game in more than four years. The SportsMonday
I hadn't been forced to watch Column
a football game from Eastern
High School's rickety bleachers in the biting wind since
2001. Hell, I hadn't even paid for a football ticket in
more than a year.
But I quickly realized the Turkey Bowl is worth all
the fuss - worth the frisking and the obstructed view.
Because of the people who are in the stands and on the
field, the yearly contest might be my favorite annual
football game. This year, the title match pitted peren-
nial power Dunbar against the Golts of Coolidge.
After finding some standing room near the 20-yard

special D.C.

Turkey Bowl tradition

line, I started up some conversation with the guy to my
right. He was a Dunbar grad whose son - a 6-foot, 220-
pound lineman - played both ways for Coolidge. He
was cheering hard-core for his son, but as Dunbar began
to pull away, he joked that he might have to switch jer-
seys. Another guy overheard me talking about Turkey
Bowl history and joined in with conversation about my
alma mater.
"I went to Wilson too," he told me, "a long time ago."
We chatted about previous games and Coolidge strat-
egy. We all pretended that we were good enough to
coach each of the teams out on the field. I even got into
a semi-heated argument with a guy in a Wizards coat
standing to my left.
I have a lot of great memories from games when I
was in high school. In 1997, Byron Leftwich battled Cato
June, a former Michigan safety and current Indianapo-
lis Colts linebacker, just months before they went off to
college. Leftwich's H.D. Woodson team won 26-22 over
June's Anacostia in the first Turkey Bowl game I ever saw
(and the only one I ever watched on TV).
Leftwich is now my favorite NFL player that doesn't
wear the Redskins' Burgundy and Gold, and it's at least
partially because I remember watching him play at East-
ern almost 10 years ago. Even though D.C. isn't always
bursting with Division I talent, there is usually a player or
two who is going to make it big.
When I was a senior, it was Josh Cribbs, Dunbar's

quarterback who later went on to lead Kent State and is
now a wideout for the Cleveland Browns. At this year's
game - between Dunbar and Coolidge - there were a
handful of prospects. Dunbar's Vontae Davis is being
recruited by Michigan State as well as Maryland and'
Virginia. Even more impressive was the team's other
wideout, Arrelious Benn, a junior who has received
offers from Florida, Michigan State and Tennessee
among others and is being recruited by Notre Dame,
Florida State and more. Benn had two touchdowns in an
impressive first half.
The Coolidge Colts were the true underdog story. Just
one of the Colts three seniors is being recruited. A pow-
erhouse program back in the '80s, Coolidge hadn't been
to the Turkey Bowl since 1987; Dunbar had won six of the
last seven and hadn't lost a regular season game in eight
years until Coolidge took it to the Tide just a month before
the big game. After the Leftwich-June game in 1997, Dun-
bar won the next four - meaning that, for pretty much
my entire high school career, I had been forced to watch
Dunbar win.
On the backs of their star recruits, the Crimson Tide
won again this year, 43-14. But like I said before, this isn't
the NFL. The best thing about the annual Thanksgiving
day game, in my mind, is not the winners or losers - or
even the future NFL stars that play in the game. What I
enjoy most - other than the knowledge that my 10$ dona-
tion will (most likely) go directly to D.C. public schools
- is the atmosphere. Eastern Senior High School, "The

pride of Capital Hill," hosts every year because it's the
only DCIAA school with a stadium big enough to house
the 10,000 or so fans who show up. And it's these 10,000
fans that make the game exciting - cheering and cursing,
occasionally drinking or just goofing off.
When I got into an argument with the guy in the Wizards
coat, neither one of us knew anything about Coolidge running
back Dwan Thorton, who had two scoring runs on the day. It
didn't matter we hadn't seen Thorton play before. We still stood
there and discussed whether the ultra-quick back could over-
come his size (he's listed at 5-foot-7,165 pounds) with his heart,
which was obviously much bigger. Like Michigan's mini Mike
Hart, Thorton continually moved the pile to make a big gain
out of nothing. But the truth is that, also like Hart, Thorton's
size will probably keep him from being heavily recruited.
It didn't matter. After spending most of the third
quarter talking about Thorton, our conversation quickly
turned to the tradition of the Turkey Bowl. This man, an
Anacostia High School graduate, was at the game with
his two sons.whose combined age couldn't have been
more than 14. He told me that he makes the trek up to
Eastern every year, no matter who's playing.
"And if I don't feel like going, my sons will make sure
I get up here," he said.
Lucky guy.
- Ian Herbert can be reached at iherbert@umich.edu,

Still below
.500: Blue
drops OT
thriler
By Ian Robinson
Daily Sports Writer
Almost 52 weeks.
That's how long it has been since the women's
basketball team last had a winning record.
* On Nov. 26, 2004, the Wolverines won 57-51
at California-Santa Barbara to improve their
record to 2-1. Four days later, Michigan lost a
61-60 decision to Drake at Crisler Arena to drop
their record to .500.
The team will have to wait
longer.
On Saturday night, the Wol-
verines' bid for an above-.500
record fell short in a 61-55 overtime loss to Toledo
at Crisler Arena to drop their record to 2-3.
Michigan had plenty of opportunities to win
- the game but could not convert any of them.
The Wolverines did not hit a field goal in the
last 8:38, including the five-minute overtime.
"At the end of regulation, we had some pretty
good opportunities," Michigan coach Cheryl
Burnett said. "We executed pretty well. We just
missed the shots."
Michigan's first opportunity to go ahead in the
waning seconds came when junior Kelly Helvey
pulled the trigger on a three-point attempt from
the top of the key with 10 seconds left.
The ball ricocheted off the front rim and
bounced toward the right block. A Toledo player
knocked the ball out of bounds in the ensuing
scramble to give the Wolverines the ball with
just over five seconds remaining.
Michigan inbounded the ball from underneath
the basket to freshman forward Carly Benson,
who cut to the left block from a stack formation
in front of the inbounder. She hoisted a shot that
sailed over the hoop, but sophomore Ta'Shia
Walker was waiting on the opposite block. She
caught the air ball and put up a shot. Her first
attempt clanked off the side of the backboard.
Walker grabbed her own rebound, but her put-
back hit the side of the backboard again as time
ran out in regulation.
Michigan blew yet another chance in overtime.
Trailing by one with less than two minutes
remaining in the extra period, Helvey found
Walker open on the right block for an open lay-

.
Rim apparently
shrinking for 'M'
outside shooters
By Ian Robinson
Daily Sports Writer
Sophomore Krista Clement emerged from the locker room after Satur-
day's game to Toledo wearing her practice jersey and basketball shoes. She
was heading back into the gym to work on her shot.
The Wolverines went 3-for-20 beyond the arc in Saturday's 61-55 loss to
Toledo, including Clement's 2-for-12 mark from 3-point range.
Against Toledo's zone defense, Michigan rotated the ball
around the perimeter in search of an open 3-point shot,
which it found with ease. The problem was that very few oft
the open shots fell through the cylinder.
Yet, Michigan coach Cheryl Burnett supported her c i
team's shot selection.
"I thought they were really good shots with players that
can make those shots," Burnett said.
Most of Clement's attempts came when she worked the ball with a team-
mate between the wing and top of the key until she slipped to a weak spot
in the zone.
Following the game, Clement was frustrated but said that the postgame
atmosphere in the locker room made her realize that this team is special.
"We all took accountability, and that is encouraging," Clement said. "They
want me to have confidence."
Clement, who was given the "green light" by Burnett to shoot any open
shot, went back onto the court to find her confidence and keep that light
green.
PRINCE-ESS OF CRISLER: Before either team scored a point, Kelly Helvey
showed that she had her defensive intensity. After Toledo's Crystal Young
intercepted a Michigan pass in front of the scorer's table, she took off on the
fast break, seemingly uncontested.
As she elevated for the lay-up, Helvey came from out of nowhere to swat
the ball toward the Crisler Arena tunnel in a play reminiscent of the memo-
rable Tayshaun Prince block of Reggie Miller in the 2004 NBA Playoffs.
Toward the end of the second half, Helvey stole the ball from Toledo in
the key. She dribbled across the court and found freshman Jessica Min-
nfield streaking down the left sideline. Minnfield connected on a pass with
sophomore Janelle Cooper who drove down the baseline for a layup and
Michigan's second to last field goal of the game.
Helvey finished the game with two blocks and three steals.
AIN'T NOTHING LIKE BEING WITH FAMILY: Turkey and dressing, ham, ribs, sweet
macaroni, peach cobbler, chocolate cake, sweet potato pie and a helping of
holiday cheer.
That is what Cora Walker, Ta'Shia Walker's grandmother, served sopho-
more Jessica Starling and freshmen Stephany Skrba and Melinda Queen for
Thanksgiving dinner at her Lansing home.
For women's basketball players that could not get home for holidays, they
turned to their Michigan basketball family for the festive meal.
NOTES: Saturday night's loss dropped Michigan overall record against
Toledo to 9-7, but Michigan's first win against the Rockets was one of the
most monumental in the program's history ... Women's basketball became
a varsity sport at Michigan in the 1973-74 season. After dropping their first
game to Michigan State 73-35, the Wolverines hosted Toledo at the Intra-
mural Sports Building. Coach Vic Katch led her team to a 43-37 win over
Toledo for the first victory in the program's history.

STEVEN TAI/ Daily
Junior Kelly Helvey missed a potentially game-winning 3-pointer in the closing seconds of regulation. Michigan
then missed three other opportunities to convert in the final moments.

up. Walker's layup hit the rim and fell back into
her hands. As she tried to put the ball back up, it
appeared that a Toledo player hit her but no foul
was called. Burnett protested to the referees and
received a technical foul.
"I take responsibility for that," Burnett said.
"I usually keep my head very well, but it was a
game-changing possession."
Toledo guard Danielle Bishop converted both
free throws from the technical foul and hit a
jump shot from the left wing over Walker with
two seconds remaining on the shot clock to give
the Rockets a five-point lead.
It wasn't just the stagnant offense that let
opportunities slip away; the Wolverines's
defense had plenty of chances to put the Rock-
ets away. With the shot clock approaching zero,

Toledo made a variety of improbable shots to
avoid violations.
"We're running around for 28 seconds just
trying to make a pass and then somebody drives
and makes a three," Toledo coach Mark Ehlen
said. "I can't explain that. It's certainly not
coaching."
Toledo (2-1) hit at least three baskets in the
second half with the shot clock running out.
The Rockets' shot-clock heroics were matched
by a sub-par offensive performance by Michigan.
The Wolverines shot 3-for-20 from behind the
arc and just 32 percent from the field.
They also did not have a scorer in double digits.
"For us to get no one in double figures is
indicative of a lack of offensive ability," Bur-
nett said.

Losses bring miserable end to season

By Dan Feldman
Daily Sports Writer
When the Michigan and Penn State volley-
ball teams came on the court for their pre-game
warmups on Saturday, they looked nearly identi-
cal. Both teams wore navy shirts and navy shorts.
The only difference was a tiny M replaced the
Nittany Lion logo on the center of Michigan's jer-
sey and the Wolverines' num-
bers and Nike swooshes were OHIO STATE 3
yellow rather than white.
That's where it appeared the
similarities would end for thePENAE 3
night. No. 2 Penn State had
lost only twice all year - to
then No. 3 Stanford and No.1 Nebraska - and a
win against Michigan would secure them a per-
fect 20-0 Big Ten record.
Michigan, on the other hand, was seventh in
the Big Ten, hadn't beaten Penn State in its last
five tries, and lost to 3-0 Ohio State on Friday,

loss ended Michigan's season with a below-.500
mark (7-13 Big Ten, 13-16 overall).
"We played hard in the third game," coach
Mark Rosen said. "We changed systems to a two-
setter. We adjusted well and competed well. I'm
proud they came out hard and competed well. We
sided out more consistently, which allowed us to
play more consistently."
Said senior Candace Gay: "We fought hard and
played well against Penn State and tried to keep
the game going as long as possible. They are the
second-ranked team in the country, which makes
(playing against them) a tough task. We tried a
lot of different 'things today and some of them
worked. We always feel like we can win, but we
knew we would have to work extra hard to beat
them tonight."
Senior Megan Knoebel replaced freshman
Mara Martin in the starting lineup with Erin
Cobler moving to setter. It was a move Rosen had
planned on making all week, not one affected by
his team's loss to Ohio State.

floor."
Coming into the weekend, the Wolverines need-
ed wins against both Penn State and No. 19 Ohio
State to be eligible for the NCAA Tournament.
But a 28-30, 22-30, 24-30 loss to the Buckeyes
on Friday quickly dashed those hopes.
"We took ourselves out of the match at points
in the game, and it's hard to do that against a
team like Ohio State," Rosen said through the
athletic department. "Their setter is very good,
one of the best in the nation, and they have very
deceptive blockers. The bottom line is that we
couldn't trade points with them. We're disap-
pointed in how we played (Friday Night), and
it's especially sad because we have a few players
who are playing at a very high level right now."
Rosen also attributed the loss to a momentum
swing after junior Danielle Pflum went down
with a knee injury late in the first game. The
contest was stopped as Pflum lay on the court for
several minutes in visible pain. She did not play
against Penn State and will need further testing

.: . :. .. .. xi

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