ST. LOUIS, MO
This past Saturday the St.Louis Surge lost in the Regional Championship game 91-76 to the Elite Flyers. The last time these two teams crossed paths, the Surge won 93-88 in a chippy contest. And this game had plenty of chippy play and lived up to what Surge head coach Tony Condra called “a rivalry game.” Surge point guard Rebecca Harris told me during shootaround that the Flyers “has an axe to grind with the Surge,” especially since the Flyers coach Brittney Koch-Dowell was let go by the Surge. “This is war man, I’m ready for battle, I wish I had some of the eye black to put under my eye,”said Harris. I approached Coach Koch-Dowell for an interview before the game and not only she refused the interview, she also refused to shake my hand as I extended it to her. So since my hands was still clean I shook Surge owner Khalia Collier hand instead.
Now once the game began it clearly looked like the Surge was just out of sync on offense, and they blew several point blank shots at the basket. They easily cheated themselves out of 24 uncontested points right by the basket. And you have to give the Flyers credit, they played their type of game, which reminds me a lot of the New York Knicks in the mid-1990’s. The Flyers were led by Kari Koch-Dowell who won the Midwest Region Tourney MVP. Koch-Dowell put on an impressive shooting performance making all kind jump shots pull ups, shooting across her body, a hand in her face. She was finishing in transition with either hand and challenging Surge defenders to slow her down. Surge coach Tony Condra threw different people at her and it was just her night. The Flyers also got great contributions from forwards Channon Haywood and Hasina Muhammad. The Flyers will move on to San Antonio, Texas for the National tournament, while the Surge wait and see if they still get a wild card berth.
After the game, Surge players and fans were disappointed about the loss. Coach Condra looked at me in the hall and said,”How in the hell were we going to win? We missed 43 shots.” And that was the PG version of the conversation. The Surge just never got into any kind of offensive flow or rhythm and never went on a sustained run. They cut the lead to as close as 9 points in the fourth quarter with plenty of time remaining, they just couldn’t string together enough stops and had several unforced errors and erratic free throw shooting. The Surge came into the fourth quarter in the bonus and drew fouls but couldn’t cash in at the line. For more information about Surge go to @STLSurge on Twitter for updates. And congratulations are also in order for Surge coach Tony Condra, who is now Director of Girls Basketball at Matthew Dickey Boys and Girls Club.
UPDATE (as of this post): The Surge gained a wild card bid for the National tournament and will be participating in San Antonio as well.