Jersey City – This match-up between Wolfpack and Scrappy SZN was their second meeting of the season. How did the first one end? Double overtime. We knew we were in for a thriller in round two, and the two teams did not disappoint. The game started off on an intense level, highly competitive with both teams playing great defense. Wolfpack led by as many as 6 points in the first half and held the lead for awhile until Scrappy SZN broke loose for an 11-0 run, taking their first lead since 2-0 in the opening minute. Aside from that, the first half was a low-scoring affair and lacked offensive excitement. Scrappy SZN had some communication issues on offense, which opened the door for Wolfpack to regain the lead in the last 2 minutes of the half. Wolfpack took advantage and held a 22-19 lead at the break, with scores from 6 of their 9 players. Antonio Burnett headed Scrappy SZN with 8 points while Tait Pirkle led the way for Wolfpack with 6 points.
The second half was much more exciting for a playoff game. Wolfpack had a few bad defensive plays in a row, allowing Scrappy SZN to score an easy 6 points as part of a 14-2 run. Scrappy SZN took their largest lead of the game by 9 points and held that lead for most of the half. Wolfpack tried to climb their way back into the game and would come to within 4 points. Scrappy SZN’s defense made every shot from Wolfpack difficult. Wolfpack finally clawed their way all the way back and the game was tied with 3 minutes to go. They missed 3 free throws in a row, but somehow managed a 3-point lead with only 1-minute remaining. Scrappy SZN, having no choice but to foul, sent Wolfpack to the line where they would miss another 2 free throws. This threw out a lifeline for Scrappy SZN and Antonio Burnett, who is proven to be clutch late in games, made a tough layup between 3 defenders to tie the game with 21 seconds left. As a team, Wolfpack missed 7 crucial free throws down the stretch along with an ill-advised 3-point attempt and turnover. It was a tough end of regulation for Wolfpack and Scrappy SZN took them to overtime tied at 45.
Wolfpack was on empty as they tried to regroup while Scrappy SZN soared in overtime. The 3 seed would put up 11 points in the period and stole the game by a score of 56-51, punching their ticket to the championship game. Wolfpack’s Anthony Lawrence finished the game with 10 points and 2 rebounds. David Wiggins also added 10 points along with his 5 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 1 steal. Teammate Tait Pirkle posted 13 points, 8 rebounds, and 1 steal. Scrappy SZN’s Antonio Burnett finished with 16 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists to complement Vic Rosario’s game-high double-double of 18 points and 14 rebounds.
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