Commentary by Matt...
WO Productions 57 Muffin Tops 54
Malecki and Muffin Tops Come Up Just Short. WO Productions Improve to 5-1
Our first game of the night pitted the 4-1 WO Productions against the 3-2 Muffin Tops. Both teams were coming off of convincing wins the week before. However WO Productions started the game without three of the best players, Jason O’Keefe, Phil Davis and Scott Whitney. WO Productions was also coming off of back to back game where their team received at least one technical including last week where they had one player ejected. A win by the Muffin Tops would really tighten up the standings at the top of the league.
The game started as most games for WO Productions start, strong inside play from Kyle Doucette. WO Productions was clearly missing the scoring punch they normally get from Jason O’Keefe as most of their points came off of Kyle Doucette offensive putbacks (13 offensive boards on the night). They made up for lack of offensive production with tough defense, starting the game on an 8-0 run. Muffin Tops finally got on the board at the 18 minute mark when Colin Duethorn hit Sam Delisle with a sick feed for an easy 2. This sparked a 13-0 run by Muffin Tops capped by back to back threes from Jeff Ruberti. Ben Malecki started the game hot hitting his first 3 three point attempts. He kept finding himself open beyond the arc as Muffin Tops kept setting great off the ball screens for him. WO Produtions may have fallen further out of it if it wasn’t for the play of Tim O’Keefe Sr. who was perfect from mid range scoring 6 first half points when he kept finding himself open from about 15 feet out. The teams traded mini-runs for a good chunk of the rest of the half before WO Productions closed the half on a 13-5 sparked by the play of Tim O’Keefe off the bench. WO Produtions went into halftime up 31-24 and Tim O’Keefe barked at his team to “Play good ball” in the second half. Things were looking up for WO Productions as not only did they close the half on a 13-5 run and were up going into the half, their PG, Phil Davis showed up at halftime and looked ready to play.
The intensity really picked up in the second half, especially on the Muffin Tops side of the ball. They opened the half on a 10-5 run to close the gap to 36-34 when Colin Duethorn had another beautiful pass to Ben Malecki who proceeded to knock down his 5th three of the night. Timothy O’Keefe Sr found himself open from mid range twice more, knocking down both jumpers to keep Muffin Tops behind. Muffin Tops didn’t grab the lead until Ben Malecki hit another three to put Muffin Tops 44-42. Ben may get all the press for his hot shooting but the Muffin Tops would not have been in this position if it wasn’t for Colin Deuthorn constantly snagging defensive rebounds and aggressively pushing the ball up the floor and finding open men. Kyle Doucette continued to dominate inside, something Muffin Tops had no answer for. But it looked as if they just accepted that they weren’t going to stop Kyle and instead focused on pace and space to gain an edge. With the game tied at 47 Muffin Tops called a timeout, which they probably needed since they were running all over the floor. Coming out of the timeout WO Productions scored the next 3 points, one off of a free throw and a impressive dunk from Kyle Doucette on a fast break. Muffin Tops responded and found themselves up 52-51 when Phil Davis drove in to get a tough basket and put WO Production up 53-52. The following possession Colin Duethorn drove the lane and got fouled. He stepped up and made two clutch free throws to put Muffin Tops up 54-53. WO Productions responded the same way the started the game, with Kyle Doucette grabbing an offensive rebound and putting it back in to give WO Productions a 55-54 lead. The next possession Muffin Tops couldn’t get a clean look at the basket, missing a tough shot. Ryan O’Keefe came away with the ball and was fouled with 7 seconds left. He made both free throws in the 1 and 1 situation. Down 57-54 Muffin Tops needed a three to tie. Ben Malecki raced down court and got off a tough three pointer that came up just short. The ball went out on WO Productions and Muffin Tops had .4 seconds to get a shot off. The inbounds pass was intercepted and WO Productions survived a tough tough game 57-54. Desptie Ben Malecki going 8 for 10 from three and Colin Duethorn doing his best to push the pace and fight Kyle Doucette for rebounds, Muffin Tops came up just short.
This was the closest game we’ve had in the last three weeks as Muffin Tops showed they can run with some of the better teams in the league. But, WO Productions showed they area resilient bunch, getting the W despite missing their best player, Jason O’Keefe. Both teams play ‘Team Swerve” next week in games that they’ll both be heavy favorites.
Team Swerve 36 White Men Can't Jump 61
Team Swerve Lost
Our second game on this Wednesday evening featured a White Men Can’t Jump team trying to get back to .500 and a Team Swerve squad trying to get out of the basement of the league. Team Swerve was short three of their usual players, but brough “three ringers” to fill in. Fortunately for Team Swerve, White Men Can’t Jump was without their sharpshooter Evan Matthews and one of their key rebounders Pat Leonard. Maybe that would be enough for Team Swerve to pull the upset.
The game started as you would imagine a game between two teams near the middle to bottom of the standings, with the tip-off going out of bounds. After some confusion the ball was awarded to White Men Can’t Jump. This must have been the momentum started they needed at White Men Can’t Jump opened the game on a 22-4 run. A couple highlights from this run included Dom Lucero making a very impressive And-1 layup. However he air balled the proceeding free throw. On the next possession Dom threw a pass to an empty corner and watched helplessly as the ball sailed out of bounds. Rob Stack found it easy to penetrate the defense but his teammates were not helping him at, specifically Peter Dolan who twice missed point blank lay ups after impressive passes from Rob. These were just minor hiccups for White Men Can’t Jump who otherwise were in complete control of the game. They must not have felt that way though as they called timeout up 22-4 with 10 minutes left in the first half. Maybe they wanted to stifle any Team Swerve momentum? Team Swerve couldn’t get anything going, so Max Allard attempted to put the team on his back. That plan did not work out as he was hoping as he won’t an unreal 0-11 from three point range in the first half. Despite this Team Swerve continued to fight nad play aggressively. Near the end of the first half Rob Stack took an elbow to the face from Pat Gaffeny of Team Swerve. The next possession Hunter Becker of White Men Can’t Jump drove the lane and received a no-call when it appeared he was hacked by Chad Kelsey. Hunter took offense to the no-call abut Chad responded he was “Just playing good D” and laughed it off. With 4.6 seconds left Team Swerve, who was down almost 20 at that point, called timeout to draw up a play to close the half. The ensuing inbounds pass was almost thrown out of bounds, and Dom Lucero intercepted the save. Fitting end to a first half that saw Team Serve down 32-13 after 22 minutes of basketball.
Going into the second half there was really one question on everyone’s mind. Would Max Allard make a three pointer? It’s a rare feat to go 0-11 in the half, so I had to ask him if he was going to make one, he said “I’m going to keep shooting until one goes down, I might get two!” While we waited to see if he indeed would get one to go down, White Men Can’t Jump continued to build on their lead. However, as to be expected in a blowout, there was some pretty sloppy play to start the second half, causing Rob Stack to shout out, “Let’s man up, it’s been a little crazy”. They did man up, Charlie Lynch and Peter Dolan dominated the boards (12 and 14 rebounds, respectively), Dom Lucero has 4 blocks on the night, and Rob Stack pretty much got wherever he wanted to on the floor (21 points). With the game pretty much out of reach, we were squarely on Max Allard watch. Max decided to wear a headband in the second half. Was that going to be the key to his three point shooting? With 7:10 left on the clock we got our answer as Max lined one up from downtown….BANG! My man was now 1-12 on the night. I was thinking to myself “good for him. I wonder if he’ll get two?” Well, with 4:45 on the clock we got our second answer…BANG! TWO IN A ROW! Despite being on the wrong end of a pretty convincing loss Team Swerve were in good spirits and seemed pretty satisfied with just getting out with a couple buddies and… BANG! MAX HIT ANOTHER ONE! THREE IN A ROW! It must have been the head band. Max had worked his way up to a respectable 3-14 from three before appropriately bricking two more to close out the game, finishing 3-16 from three on the night. White Men Can’t Jump got the “W” 61-36, but I think Team Swerve may have had more fun. So who’s the real winner?
White Men Can't Jump
Llamas 59 Patrick Chewing 47
Our final game of the night was the 4-1 Llamas against the 3-2 Patrick Chewing. Llamas were coming off their bye week and Patrick Chewing was coming off of a pretty convincing win the prior week. So, no real pessimism on either side, as it’s a pretty even matchup on paper.
Patrick Chewing struck first as Greg Harrison pushed the opening tip directly to Ned Daniel for an easy bucket. This sparked the frenetic pace that the first ten minutes of the game were defined by. Each team pushed the pace of the game, played tough man to man defense and got up quick shots. Max Tejada of Patrick Chewing played particularly tough defense getting three early steals that led to breakaways for Patrick Chewing, who have three big men that can run the floor, Greg, Ned and Jacob Held. It was clearly going to be an intense game and the players knew each possession would be important. Which is probably why when AJ Gotthelf was called for a questionable travel he shouted back to the ref “what a f*cking joke”. That earned him a quick technical foul. Llamas capitalized on the free throws but couldn’t take advantage of the possession. The technical did more to light a fire under Patrick Chewing as they went on a quick 6-0 run, led by Jake Northrop to close the gap to 17-16. Those would be the last points that Patrick Chewing would score as Llamas showed why they’re the top team in the league, closing the half on a 13-0 run with most of that work being done by Alex Pratt from the outside and Jeff Bielefeld on the inside. Both teams were in the bonus before the half ended which would be a sign of things to come.
Up 30-16 going into the second half, Llamas had to know that the game was going to be closer than the first half score would indicate. AJ Gotthelf made sure that was the case as he went on a 5-0 run by himself to start the half to get the score down to 30-21. However, Alex Pratt hit 2 threes to shut down that burst and bring the lead up to 36-21 Llamas. For the next couple minutes the strategy for Llamas was simple, let’s allow our big man Jeff Bielefeld to go to work on the inside. Work that man did, finishing with 10 points and 7 rebounds on the night. Patrick Chewing couldn’t find a way to close the gap. Every time it seemed like they were about to make a run, AJ Pratt would hit a shot and if he wasn’t someone else was, like Alex Larosa who took a steal coast to coast with 7 minutes left to give Llamas a 49-39 lead. The intensity of the first half had clearly carried over as both teams were in 1 and 1 situation with 5 minutes left in the game. AJ Gotthelf, normally one of the leagues better shooters was clearly struggling as not only was he missing his threes but he was 1-4 at the free throw line. Despite that, shooters are going to shoot and AJ hit a three with 2:30 minutes left to close the gap to 52-45. That was as close as Patrick Chewing would get as Llamas closed the game on a 7-2, mostly behind the free throw shooting of Alex Pratt (24 points). Despite Jeff Bielefeld fouling out with 90 seconds left and Llamas going 10-20 from the free throw line, they managed to hold off a tough Patrick Chewing team and improve to 5-1 with a 59-47 victory.
(Special tip for Patrick Chewing, try to not have two guys wearing jersey #4)