Got the whole town on lockdowwwwwwwwn- it’s a wild Friday here in Boston, and last night’s championship games were pretty nuts as well. The OFF Tibbs franchise was looking to repeat as B1 champions, of course in their way were the aptly named Rookies of the Year.
The thing that stood out in the early going, aside from one of the refs warning OT for gaping stares after close foul calls, was how open the driving lanes were. People were closing out a little too hard and both teams got the step for some easy buckets. Then the threes started to pour in. Horath found the range from deep, and then George came right back with a triple for OT. When Hohrath nailed another one off a hustle-rebound by Woishnis, Corbett hit one on the other end to keep it a one-possession game.
Nothing really separated these teams until Terry came off the bench and created an immediate mismatch at the three spot. Now, aside from the fact that their name is a sleight to El Presidente, OT playing Terry like 6 minutes a game when they feel like exploiting the opposition in the post really pisses off the Tibbs. Because Henderson did work, scored 5 straight, and tied the game up at 31 going into halftime, but that was pretty much all he did.
In the second half OT came right out with a 3 from Khalid to break the deadlock, and on the next possession, Ricky Philatre got caught watching after his man- Corbett- missed a three, got the board and kicked it out to Polansky for another 3. Then Corbett started to do work in the post, OT tightened up on D, and pulled away with a 12-3 run.
They led by 11 before ROYs fought back, mostly due thanks to the wily play of Ryo Gokita, who stopped the bleeding with a deep three that was pure net. Then off a couple stops, Gokita found his boy Mazzeo in transition for not one, but two huge triples that closed the gap further, before draining a Steph-back three (like Curry) to make it 49-47.
Off Tibbs still had the lead, but they could sense it slipping away. With five minutes left to play and the game tied at 51, their offense sputtered, while ROYs continued to sink two more threes on the other end.
Before Tibbets could get too excited, Polansky coaxed in a three, and OT stole the ensuing inbounds pass. Lew went in for two, and all of sudden it was 57-56. Mazzeo hit some clutch free throws to give ROYs a little cushion, and when OT went for two again Philatre emphatically denied that bid. They continued to pressure the ball and ROYs did not exactly ice it at the line, so when Lew hit a big three off the extra pass from George to tie it at 61 it looked like OT stole the momentum and would win it in OT.
How-eva, Corbett lost track of time and score, and fouled Hohrath with about 15 seconds left to play. In a few seconds the OT bench went from doing this:
To something like this:
For what it’s worth, I made the exact same mistake after making a tying bucket in the B2 South finals, once your in foul mode it’s just a natural reaction. Hohrath only hit one of the FTs, so the door was open, but Finnegan’s double-clutch 3pt attempt got wedged in the rim, and the possession arrow went to ROYs. With 2 seconds left, Hohrath could intentionally miss the second FT and there was nothing OT could do with it.
ROYs came out of nowhere to win the B1 ‘ship, and OT was left shaking their heads. At least they avoided the mandatory promotion to A League, but it’s a tough loss.