Bears

Sobolewski leads Benet over H-F for title

352484.jpg

Sobolewski leads Benet over H-F for title

Friday, Dec. 31, 2010
8:08 PM

By Patrick Z. McGavin
Yourseason.com

David Sobolewski saw the crease.

I had a ball screen, I waited for the defender to drop down to guard Frank Kaminsky and made my move, the Benet senior guard said.

His layup with just under two minutes was the only basket of overtime as the No. 3 Redwings overcame a nine-point first-half deficit and beat No. 7 Homewood-Flossmoor 54-50 to capture the Proviso West Holiday Tournament championship Thursday night.

It was a war out there, said Sobolewski, the Northwestern-bound guard who scored a game-high 19 points and was named the tournament MVP.

Kaminsky, the 7-foot Wisconsin recruit playing with a nagging ankle injury, made the defensive play of the night.

Kaminsky (12 points, nine rebounds) made the other critical play of the game. With the Vikings down 52-50 after Matt Parisi (nine points) made one of two free throws with less than 15 seconds remaining, Homewood-Flossmoors Tyrone Sherman (11 points, five assists) drove to the basket and appeared to have a clear path to a layup.

Kaminsky rose and made a textbook block. Parisi collected the loose ball and was fouled. His two free throws with 11.2 seconds closed out the scoring.

Behind the early hot hand of David Fatoki (10 points, two three-pointers), the Vikings led by nine on two separate occasions in the second quarter. Receiving key contributions from sophomore Pat McInerney (seven points) and Pat Boyle (seven points), the Redwings opened the third quarter with a 13-5 run to establish their first lead since 6-5.

The two keys of the game were Frank playing, when we didnt even know if he was going to be able to go after he had treatment on his ankle, and the play of Pat Boyle, Benet coach Gene Heidkamp said.

His ball-handling against their pressure and what he did defensively, within the scheme of what we do, individually against a great player like Julian Lewis was tremendous.

H-F star forward Julian Lewis, coming off back-to-back games of 31 and 28 points, was hurt by foul trouble and scored just four points. His only basket, a three-pointer, gave the Vikings a 40-36 advantage heading into the fourth quarter.

Kaminsky opened the fourth quarter with five straight points, his three-pointer marking the first of four lead changes. Defensively, H-F really hurt us in the first half, Heidkamp said.

Theyre a great team, with five guys on the floor that can score at any time. They hurt on us in the inside and got a lot of easy baskets in the first half. We really had to step it up defensively in the second half.

Antonio Bishop scored 13 points to lead the Vikings. Delvon Rencher added eight points.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: How hot is John Fox's seat?

10-22johnfox.jpg
USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: How hot is John Fox's seat?

Seth Gruen (Bleacher Report/”Big Ten Unfiltered” podcast), Chris Emma (670TheScore.com) and Matt Zahn (CBS 2) join Kap on the panel. If the Bears lose badly to the Lions, should Sunday be John Fox’s last game? 

Plus Bulls Insider Vincent Goodwill joins the panel to talk Bulls as well as the Niko/Portis cold war.

Listen to the full SportsTalk Live Podcast right here:

Collecting some final thoughts on if Tarik Cohen isn't getting enough snaps for the Bears

Collecting some final thoughts on if Tarik Cohen isn't getting enough snaps for the Bears

John Fox on Friday sought to clarify some comments he made earlier in the week about Tarik Cohen that seemed to follow some spurious logic. Here’s what Fox said on Wednesday when asked if he’d like to see Cohen be more involved in the offensive game plan:

“You’re looking at one game,” Fox said, referencing Cohen only playing 13 of 60 snaps against the Green Bay Packers. “Sometimes the defense dictates who gets the ball. I think from a running standpoint it was a game where we didn’t run the ball very effectively. I think we only ran it 17 times. I believe Jordan Howard, being the fifth leading rusher in the league, probably commanded most of that. I think he had 15 carries. 

“It’s a situation where we’d like to get him more touches, but it just didn’t materialize that well on that day. But I’d remind people that he’s pretty high up there in both punt returns, he’s our leading receiver with 29 catches, so it’s not like we don’t know who he is.”

There were some clear holes to poke in that line of reasoning, since the question wasn’t about Cohen’s touches, but his snap count. Cohen creates matchup problems when he’s on the field for opposing defenses, who can be caught having to double-team him (thus leaving a player uncovered, i.e. Kendall Wright) or matching up a linebacker against him (a positive for the Bears). The ball doesn’t have to be thrown Cohen’s way for his impact to be made, especially if he’s on the field at the same time as Howard. 

“They don’t know who’s getting the ball, really, and they don’t know how to defend it properly,” Howard said. “… It definitely can dictate matchups.”

There are certain scenarios in which the Bears don’t feel comfortable having Cohen on the field, like in third-and-long and two-minute drills, where Benny Cunningham’s veteran experience and pass protection skills are valued. It may be harder to create a mismatch or draw a double team with Cohen against a nickel package. It's easier to justify leaving a 5-foot-6 running back on the sidelines in those situations. 

But if the Bears need Cohen to be their best playmaker, as offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said last month, they need to find a way for him to be on the field more than a shade over one in every five plays. As Fox explained it on Friday, though, it’s more about finding the right spots for Cohen, not allowing opposing defenses to dictate when he’s on the field. 

“We have Tarik Cohen out there, we're talking about touches, not play time, we're talking about touches so if they double or triple cover him odds are the ball is not going to him, in fact we'd probably prefer it didn’t,” Fox said. “So what I meant by dictating where the ball goes, that's more related to touches than it is play time. I just want to make sure I clarify that. So it's not so much that they dictate personnel to you. Now if it's in a nickel defense they have a certain package they run that may create a bad matchup for you, that might dictate what personnel group you have out there not just as it relates to Tarik Cohen but to your offense in general. You don't want to create a bad matchup for your own team. I hope that makes sense.”

There’s another wrinkle here, though, that should be addressed: Loggains said this week that defenses rarely stick to the tendencies they show on film when Cohen is on the field. That’s not only a problem for Cohen, but it’s a problem for Mitchell Trubisky, who hasn’t always had success against defensive looks he hasn’t seen on film before. And if the Bears are trying to minimize the curveballs Trubisky sees, not having Cohen on the field for a high volume of plays would be one way to solve that. 

This is also where the Bears’ lack of offensive weapons factors in. Darren Sproles, who Cohen will inexorably be linked to, didn’t play much as a rookie — but that was on a San Diego Chargers team that had LaDanian Tomlinson, Keenan McCardell and Antonio Gates putting up big numbers. There were other options on that team; the Bears have a productive Howard and a possibly-emerging Dontrelle Inman, but not much else. 

So as long as Cohen receives only a handful of snaps on a team with a paucity of playmakers, this will continue to be a topic of discussion. Though if you’re looking more at the future of the franchise instead of the short-term payoffs, that we’re having a discussion about a fourth-round pick not being used enough is a good thing.