Presidential 21 Tourney: Round 4 Results
Click here for prior results, and at TSB, my token Beasley post. Howard, Arenas, Beasley. . .it's like the man up above is trying to force us to stay current.
Round 4 results:
(1)LBJ 21, (1)Harry Truman 18
LBJ rallies to beat Truman in memorable Democratic final
Today Lyndon Baines Johnson earned the right to play for the championship. To say that he merely overpowered his competition on the way into the final would be misleading. While he definitely capitalized on his advantage in size and strength, he also employed smart game plans to overcome his competition. Nowhere was this more apparent than in his 21-18 comeback victory over Harry Truman earlier today.
Truman’s range and speed gave him the early advantage. Because Truman hit two outside shots to start the game, Johnson was forced to extend his defense. When Johnson reluctantly came out of the paint, Truman took him off the dribble for an easy hoop to go up 11-4. Johnson adjusted, however, and scoring became more difficult for Truman thereafter. Shaking off his Round 3 sluggishness. Johnson had a spring in his legs that he hadn’t shown in the earlier rounds determined to contest every single shot that Truman launched, Johnson draped himself over Truman, but in a controlled manner. Truman never lured Johnson off his feet, despite numerous pump fakes.
With Truman under control offensively, Johnson committed himself to playing catch up. Johnson scored a string of points by backing Truman down to the post after checking up or clearing. Johnson took his time on the blocks, maneuvering himself until he hit reached his comfort zone and put in easy ones from close. Sensing that Truman’s legs were weakened by his futile defensive efforts in the post, Johnson stopped going out to defend Truman’s outside shots, which stopped falling anyway. For the winning basket, Johnson caught his own rebound that had rocketed off the rim to just outside the right block, turned his back to the hoop, took one hard dribble into the lane, then put in a runner off the glass.
Awaiting Johnson in the final is Abraham Lincoln, whose growth in this Tournament has been nothing short of a revelation. Lincoln knocked off the mighty Ronald Reagan to advance to the championship game, but he will have his hands full against the larger, stronger Johnson.
(1) Lincoln 21, (1)Ronald Reagan 18
Lincoln prevails in epic game with Reagan
Despite having a remarkable game (or perhaps because of it), Ronald Reagan simply added to the legend of Abraham Lincoln, who has been playing out of his mind since his lackluster performance against Gerald Ford in the opening round. In a game that several have dubbed this the real championship, the two Republican finalists did not disappoint, staging an epic match that people will be talking about for years to come. This contest was all about two men playing at the height of their abilities. Both men played with style, but it was always in service to the end of scoring or defending. The game was played at a blistering pace, yet the action seemed to unfold in slow motion.
Reagan took the early lead on a long jumper from the right corner and a lovely lefty teardrop. Reagan’s head fakes and jab steps kept Lincoln slightly off balance, just enough to get his shots off over his taller opponent. Reagan’s movements were crisp, but Lincoln stuck with him all around the court. While Lincoln only blocked one of Reagan’s shots—he used his left hand to jerk a Reagan lay up attempt directly out of the air—he altered more than a few. Reagan was so focused, however, that many of them fell anyway.
Lincoln played mostly facing the basket. He utilized his ever-improving handle to get him within 10 feet of the basket, where his jumper was automatic. Lincoln drove to the basket, but only when the opportunity presented itself. In one unforgettable drive, Lincoln launched himself into the air from inside the circle, released both hands from the ball before he reached his apex, and swung his arms down to his sides as the shot fell through the net. On this play and others, the sweeping movements Lincoln made with his long arms had an almost hypnotic effect.
It was fitting that Lincoln won this game on a shot from outside, because his versatility has been on full display as the Tournament has progressed. LBJ’s victory over Harry Truman in the Democratic final sets up a highly anticipated match up of the two big men with completely different styles and approaches. A very hungry Lyndon Johnson is the only thing standing between Lincoln and the title, but if his victory over Reagan is any indication, Lincoln will be ready for the challenge.