From Grinnell to Fenwick, letting it rain

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By Brad Spencer

Sports Editor

Which is more significant: that Jack Taylor scored 138 points in a single college basketball game, or that his Grinnell College team won the game over Faith Baptist Bible 179-104 last week?

It's not easy scoring 138 points in a game. It's an awesome feat, but it has no precedence in the entire spectrum of basketball, a game that has not sustained itself on mere individual accomplishments. Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird did not win NBA titles solely on the basis of their individual play. Clichés aside, basketball is a team sport. You have the ball, you pass it, you may or may not get it back on that particular possession.

I'm sure Jack Taylor's a good kid who got caught up in the hoopla (so to speak) of breaking an irrelevant NCAA single-game scoring record. After the game, he thanked "the man upstairs," according to ESPN.com, even though we all know the man upstairs had nothing to do with Taylor firing 108 shots, including 71 treys, in a Division III college men's basketball game in Iowa. The man upstairs had nothing to do with Taylor bucketing 52 of those 108 total attempts (and 27 of the 71 threes). The man upstairs had better things to do, like watch Indiana continue to wreak havoc on opponents with a variety of talented players working as one unit in finely tuned precision. The Hoosiers, the No. 1 ranked team in the country in preseason polls, are a team of Jack Taylors, and consistently fun to watch. Keyword: consistently.

And what does this individual achievement say about Faith Baptist Bible, whose own player, David Larson, scored an impressive 70 points in the same game? Larson only attempted two 3-pointers, missing them both. He shot 72 percent from the field, bettering Taylor's 48 percent. But due in part to Grinnell's suffocating full-court press, Faith Baptist coughed up the ball a whopping 49 times. With that many turnovers, you're asking for trouble on a scale that may warrant national attention. It came in the form of Taylor.

Oak Park actually has not one but two connections to Grinnell College. OPRF grad Aaron Levin (class of 2010) scored 13 of Grinnell's 179 points against Faith Baptist. Levin's a junior forward for the Pioneers. 

But if you're eager to take in a snippet of Grinnell's wild — and strange — style of basketball where the object is to shoot, shoot, shoot and shoot some more, and you don't want to travel to Iowa (who would?), stop in on a Fenwick High School girls basketball game this season. Renowned head coach Dave Power applies the same type of run-and-gun strategy — in fact, he actually got the idea from Grinnell. The object is to outshoot your opponent.

In their season opening 71-44 victory over Wheeling recently, the Friars (5-0) launched 36 three-pointers. Power advises his sharpshooters to toss up more than 80 shots total per game. In their first five games this season, the Friars averaged 80.8 points per game to their opponents' 43.4. But no one has posted mind-boggling numbers on an individual level.

Not yet anyway. 

Contact: bspencer@oakpark.com

Twitter: @oakparksports

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