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Tribe Shocks The CAC With Major Upset Over XJV in East Finals
XJV 55 Tribe 57
The 1998 Vikings. The 2007 Patriots. And now, it's the 2009 Fall XJV roster.
What a heartbreaker for The XJV crew. But still, it took a performance for the ages to beat them and it came from the underrated and big-hearted Tribe team. Scott Nascimento's game winning pull-up jumper from ten feet out with :20 left gave Tribe the winning points in a 57-55 thriller that electrified everyone in the King School on Monday December 14. Still, Tribe led 55-49 with 2:00 only to see XJV tie the game after two clutch free throws from James Kopp and the huge long two from Tom Layman that tied the game with just :35 left (twisted irony here or what? I can't even make that up.) Tribe gave XJV many many opportunities to tie (and to win) this game as missed free throws from SN & JM became an issue. However, two desperate last shots, including a three off transition from Bugbee (with Layman & Kopp both open) hitting an unkind iron with less than :02 to go. Time felt like eternity out there for both teams in this one.
Early on, XJV remembered their slow start last week against Steamboats. They were focused on early as they came out on fire early grabbing a 7-2 lead six and a half minutes into the game. At the start, the XJV took advantage of the slow pace with solid defense. Until, Justin Maldonado hit a crazy fadeaway jumper. Then, Scott nailed a three (which he doesn't have a great percentage). Momentum came right back for Tribe as Justin found Scott on an incredible tricky pass for a lay-up to tie the game at 11-11 with 12:00 left in the first half. Barbuto decided to one-up the tomfoolery with an incredible shake/bake drive to get XJV the lead back. James Kopp brought the scoring hammer on this night. Scott nailed another three to trim the lead, but then super sub Dave Cunha (who played all game with Jimmy DaSilva absent) nails a big three to give Tribe their first lead with 7:00 in the first half.
Scott's deciding to be the man out there even as the youngest pup (just 21) out there as he hits a Shamwow! worthy shot off the drive. Kid's relentless. The Tribe D has stepped up as they take the 20-19 lead off Cunha's 3 into a 28-23 lead at the break. Scott's got 12 and 8 at the break. The shocking stats at the break were XJV's as Ja. Kopp (10), Barbuto (8), and Tommy (5, big three early) were the only ones with any points. Tribe did a good job of getting on the shooters.
XJV showed why they're tough as they made the halftime adjustments. We had an offensive explosion as XJV nabbed 7 points off the break early and suddenly Tribe clung to a 31-30 lead thanks to a Nick Souza three. And then, we had an incredible sequence where Jay Layman finally nails his patented corner three, Scott comes down and banks home an incredible shot on the run, to be followed by another Jay corner three. it was bedlam out there. XJV down 39-37 with 12:00, but playing well. XJV and Tribe kept battling, but Barbuto kept inching XJV to one basket as he kept driving and hitting the shots out there. Tribe somehow did not relinquish the lead until the last minute as they always kept their opponents two points away.
Nascimento did nail two big free throws late to make 51-47. Buto's last drive made it 51-49 with 4:00, but then Justin made an awesome drive. Kid had a monster night as he showcased a penchant for hitting some wild, some lucky, and some clutch shots out there. Tribe had to use their last timeout on a loose ball with 3:00, but it kept the possession arrow in their favor (foreshadowing here). Andrade, the Tribe vet/captain, was a steady hand down the stretch as he called the timeout and then hit two free throws to pad the lead to 55-49 with 2:00. Verge of a major upset here. Still, Tribe shot 7/17 FT from the line as the door stayed open for XJV. Shibley's two free throws made it a four-point game before Kopp and Layman's (the Wes Welker of this contest) plays to tie the game.
What an astounding game. What an incredible crowd. (thanks to ORA, Commitment, Smoked for coming down and watching...we appreciate you guys very much). Tribe pulls off a motherf****** shocker as they roll onto The C League Title Game on 12/21 at King (6:30...come after 6:00 to shoot around). And Tommy Doyle's after the game for everyone's the place to be!!!!
Commentary by Five Hard Fouls...
XJV 52 Steamboats 46
XJV Survive & Advance, Two Away From The Big One
The settings gave us an XJV team that had been blowing teams out, minus a few exceptions, matched against a shorthanded Steamboats team (minus their top two guns Martin and Leng...who were in Vegas.) So they left the car keys with ROY Randall Yee and the supporting cast of the Steamboats in what could have been the biggest blowout since Don Beebe stripped Leon Lett at the goal line for hot dogging it.
Kelvin Wong is no hot-dogger. If I had a most-improved award, it would have gone to this guy. His game has gotten exponentially better this past season. He starts us off with a three and the 'Boats are up early. Shocking from the opener. Something was in the air (like Phil Collins) and Will Yuan (Martin's brother) seized upon the moment. Back-to-back threes later and it's Suddenly Steamboats. 15-4, six minutes in!!! Is Cambridge going to be changed to Upsetopolis? Truly shocking.
XJV called a timeout after that and they regrouped. Hands down, this was their deficit of the season, but they came bouncin' back like Mystikal (before he went to jail for being a douche). Shibley with an absolutely killer drive to the cup. And one, playa. XJV's got this back to three with 10:00 left in the half. James Kopp and Shibley were stoic out there as they both calmly made shots.
In spite of Barbuto getting a few baskets for XJV, Steamboats managed to keep scoring. The ROY, Randall Yee, was superb late in the half. More importantly, the Steamboats defense was outstanding as they took XJV out of their element (the hedging press for points off steals). Yee ended up with eight points at the break, while XJV had six points in the half's last ten minutes. A killer three from Randall right at the end of the half gave XJV a 30-20 lead at the midpoint. What games were Martin and Leng playing on the Vegas strip? (I'm a blackjack guy myself.) Because someone would have made a lot of money on the heavy underdog here.
Still, XJV doesn't go away. They could have panicked and they just kept coming. Consistency was rewarded as they stepped up their defensive effort in the second half. Slower pace to kick the half, but XJV trimmed the Steamboats lead to 33-29. James Kopp was an absolute beast in this game. He was making all the shots on top of a stellar all-around performance by crashing the glass and getting to the line. Steamboats ping-pong it with Kelvin's amazing up and under move and Randall's two jumpers. 37-31 lead with 10:00. It was do-or-die time for XJV as momentum was a pretty girl about to be taken home by the Steamboats (The Dragon would have hit a moonsault here.)
Like Ric Flair, XJV goes the distance and takes the shots. They may get hit around like a classic heel and they may never hit the top-rope splash, but they rise to the occasion after being punished. John Kopp nails a huge three. Bugbee gets to the line and hits a freebie, giving XJV their first lead at 38-37 with 7:15 to go. WOOOO! Chop to the chest. Randall then decides to nail a three. Oh wow, it's the Steamboats hanging on to the narrow lead with 5:00 left. 41-40 lead for Steamboats. This is awesome.
The next minutes only saw a few baskets as the defense tightened it up. It's tied up at 44-44 with 2:00 and undoubtedly, the play of the game, happened when Randall came crashing into Bugbee, who takes the charge!!! Bugbee showing the heads-up and then nailing both FTs. Randall and Bugbee nastily collided and Randall was shaken up (came out for about a 1:00-plus), which was key. XJV by two, but then David Tang comes down and gets a sweet lay-up off to tie it at 46-46 with 1:30 left. XJV brings it down and Jay-Lay gets fouled, unintentionally. He had a rough game for his standards, but he nails both. XJV up 48-46 with 1:00. While, Steamboats had two chances to tie it up (Kelvin's three looked good when down four, especially with Yee on the bench...off by a hair), it just wasn't enough. XJV finished the game strongly, making all the pressure free throws.
What an effort for the Steamboats. Short-handed in a game where they were the heavy underdog, they played with nothing to lose and it showed. A fantastic effort that should be praised. And XJV was awesome too...they showed they have the heart of a champion as they overcame adversity. James Kopp was the best player on the floor as he played fantastically. Shibley and Barbuto were both very good, but Bugbee was the hero of the day with his charge and clutch free throws. If XJV does win it all, they'll look back at this game as the one where their character got revealed. Awesome game. Congrats to both teams. This was CAC basketball at its finest!!!
Grand Nationals 45 Tribe 60
Tribe Takes Care of Business Ending Cinderella's Run
If Gaga can sing about writing a bad romance, then I'm going to talk about writing overused cliches. But, if the glove doesn't fit, you must acquit. (Oh, Johnnie...that haiku made you millions. Who doesn't love a haiku?) In terms of metaphors, I'm talking about the Grand Nationals playing the 'Cinderella role' to a tee as they upset ORA last week in a game that will be in CAC lore for awhile. Still, there's a Tribe team (still very good, but not as powerful as past editions) that needs to get the 'monkey' off their back. Something gave and it wasn't kind for one team...
But that wasn't until the second half. First half was very tight as the Grand Nationals hung around using the skills of Derek Skilletski (12 first-half points, sweet 10-foot jumper) to stay with the younger legs of Tribe. Tribe looked great early, coasting to 18-5 lead, on the strength of Justin 'Thunder' Maldonado. This guy's really come along as a scorer and he can lock it up on defense. He is a proponent of the E.N.D. and two steals for breakaways helped his cause. Skilletski started making shots and then Dave Hartjes canned a big shot to make this a 22-20 game with 4:00 left in the first half. Tribe led 28-24 at the break. Nascimento only with seven, but he was lookin' to dish in this one. Still, slower pace definitely favors the Nationals.
Still, this was a generation thing (and I ain't talkin' Star Trek) and vintage youth prevailed. The energy of Maldonado (he's the team MVP) and Nascimento (when dialed in) are contagious. Andrade's not at full health with the ankle injury (hey Al Michaels...you're assclown for saying 'he's out with an ankle.' We know people have two ankles, Sherlock Holmes. Does an extra word kill you, you assclown?). When things go down, people find a way to turn it up. That's what Nick Souza and Jimmy DaSilva did. The role players for Tribe have been solid all year (this is my favorite Tribe squad...the knuckleheads are gone and they play the right way) and they showed why they're a winning team. Souza was stroking the open three from good roundball movement. DaSilva uncorks a three that puts this one on ice to give his team a 49-35 lead. Nascimento was fantastic tonight. Not his vintage 20-14 game, but he was a beast on the boards and he was diming it like crazy. Second half was freight-trainish for Tribe as they rolled the Nats.
Great run for the Grand Nats. Serious props for them for doing all of us a huge favor and coming over to the C East this past season. They were gracious in all of their games (some weren't pretty) and they were a pleasure to cover. FHF is a big Hart Foundation fan, hopefully Dynamite Kid and his crew return for a spring affair. Tribe took care of business in this one. First time in awhile, they played well for a whole game in spite of a close first half. If this team shows up against XJV, they do have a chance to walk out as East champions. We shall see what happens in a probable Game of The Year on Monday night at King...
|Standings C 5v5 East Fall 2009 Thru Week 13|
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