We had a full slate of games this past Sunday, with an even split between the Russell Westbrook Division and the Kristaps Porzingis Division. The first three games were well in hand, but we had an interesting one to close out the night.
We started in the Kristaps Porzingis Division with a matchup between Smash Bros. and Progressive. Smash Bros. lived up to their name and made their presence known from the opening tip-off. Their physical play led them to +10 on the boards as a team over Progressive. They dominated with defense that recorded a whopping 15 steals. They took a commanding 10-point lead into the half and really pulled away in the second half, finishing with a 68-38 victory. Smash Bros. was led by Socrate Exama, who posted a double-double with 25 points and 10 rebounds. He also added 3 steals to his statline.
Game two saw perennial contenders The Wolfpack take on the free-agent team Mad Hatters. The Wolfpack jumped on their opponent early and led with a swarming defense. They didn’t allow a single point until about the middle of the first half. Mad Hatters simply had no answers, and trailed 33-10 at the half. Mad Hatters did turn it around a bit in the second and actually won the half. However, this was not nearly enough to overcome the dominance of The Wolfpack in the first. The Wolfpack cruised their way to a 51-30 victory. They were led by Martin Gumowski and Josh Heyer. Gumowski recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. He would tack on 2 assists, 3 steals, and a block. Heyer also filled the stat sheet. He finished the night with a team-high 13 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and a block.
Then came the Russell Westbrook divisional matchups. Anytime Bail Bonds Ballers faced off with newcomers Plan B. It was a slow and ugly start for both teams, but both picked it up, especially in the second half. ABB Ballers were the first to click and broke out to a 25-13 lead after one. The second half was much closer and Plan B showed that they absolutely can compete. The story of this one was missed opportunities. The two teams finished with 34 rebounds each and ABB Ballers recorded only 1 more steal than their opponent. The most telling stat line was the 15-8 assist totals in favor of ABB Ballers. This showed their upper hand in sharing the ball and converting on those assists. Plan B struggled to finish at the rim throughout the night, or else this one would have been much closer than the 54-36 final. ABB Ballers was led by Tariq Evans, who dropped a game-high 17 points in addition to his 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, and 1 block.
To close out the night, we had a thriller between Goodfellas and Thundercats. Goodfellas dug themselves into an early hole, but would close out the first half in a big way. They turned a 10 point deficit into a 29-26 lead at the break. Both teams buckled down on the defensive end in the second half. Goodfellas tried to pull away several times but Thundercats consistently clawed their way back to within striking distance. However, Goodfellas would close out the game strong to take a 50-42 victory. What made this win so impressive? They only had 4 players the entire game. That’s right. Goodfellas was able to overcome an early deficit and seal the win all while playing a man down, 4-on-5. Keep in mind, that also means no subs, while their opponent was able to work in two. Goodfellas turned an unfortunate start to the season into quite the impressive one. They were led by Tymel Jackson and his game-highs of 23 points and 12 rebounds (teammate Corey Edwards and Thomas Betros of Thundercats had 12 rebounds as well). He played at both ends of the court, also adding 1 assist, 2 steals, and 2 big blocks to his totals.
It was a successful opening weekend of the season with some great games and performances. Some of our newer teams got their feet wet and were able to get a feel at what lies ahead. On the other hand, some of our teams that annually finish toward the top of the league showed why they do. With plenty of time for teams to grow and adjust, we look forward to many more of these matchups in the weeks to come!
Tag(s): Home Winter League Russell Westbrook Division Kristaps Porzingis Division Chubb Thundercats Smash Bros. Mad Hatters New Mutants Ball Don't Lie EZ Plan B The Wolfpack Goodfellas Anytime Bail Bonds Ballers Progressive Probably Hungover Alligators Charliewang Express