As I Saw It…
By Zach Congelliere, CBE staff writer
Recap of the Inaugural KC Downtown Men’s League (Summer 2008)
It started with six and ended with one… victorious team. Six teams competed in the Inaugural CBE Downtown Basketball League over the course of eight weeks. The participating teams included: H&R Block, Helix, KC Star, Lockton Companies, Lucky Strike Lanes and the CBE.
The season began on June 3 with all six teams eagerly awaiting tip-off. The whistle blew and we were off. With some breathing a little bit harder than others and calling time outs to take a break, others were hardly breaking a sweat and knocking down three-point shots like they were going out of style. The season was underway and inevitably three teams got their first win under their belt.
After week three, the CBE was in first place with a 3-0 record just ahead of a three-way tie for second place between H&R Block, KC Star and Lockton all sharing a 2-1 record. Two weeks later the regular season came to an end with the CBE’s unbeaten record remaining unblemished and a lock for first place, followed by KC Star in second place. Both teams earned a bye going into the playoffs.
The atmosphere was electric on the first night of playoffs as the teams walked down Tip-Off Tunnel and onto Center Court at The College Basketball Experience. It was playoff time and the energy was palpable. The first game of the playoffs saw Helix come away with a big upset as they earned their first win of the season against H&R Block. What a perfect time for their first win. After Helix walked off the court with a win and newfound confidence, Lockton ran away in the second half with a victory against Lucky Strike Lanes, thus ending Lucky Strike’s bid for a championship.
The first of two semi-final matchups saw the CBE coming off a bye and ready to do battle with Helix. In a closely contested game from start to finish, the CBE came away with a 66-60 win and advanced to the championship game. The second semi-final game was a matchup between a well rested KC Star team coming off the bye and Lockton. In yet another hard fought matchup of the night, Lockton, the lower seed of the two teams, earned a 5 point victory and a spot in the championship game. It’s the playoffs and these close games are indicative of highly competitive basketball and shows the team’s passion to earn the right to call themselves champions of the Inaugural CBE Downtown Basketball League.
July 17 arrives and it is Championship Night at The CBE. Lockton versus the undefeated CBE – the outcome seems inevitable, or was it? With both teams arriving early to warm up, it was clear that these two teams were focused and had their mind set on one thing – walking away with the coveted “Silver Cup” trophy awarded to the winning team. Lockton and the CBE both brought fans to enhance the atmosphere of the game. It was clear that Lockton had the louder cheering section. After opening up the game on a 6-0 run, Lockton took command of the first half and established a double-digit lead. The CBE, after making a couple substitutions, closed the gap and ended the half down by 4. As the final half of basketball began, the CBE capitalized on their momentum and tied the game and eventually took their first lead. With three minutes to go, after trading baskets back-and-forth, the two teams were clearly not giving up any easy baskets. Entering the final minute of the game Lockton had a one point lead and the ball. After missing their shot, the CBE took the ball down the court needing a basket, but missed and were forced to foul to stop the clock. There was 4.5 seconds on the clock with Lockton going to the charity stripe shooting a one-and-one. They hit their first shot. Lockton is up by two, 49-47. The second shot clanks against the back of the rim. The CBE rebound the ball quickly pushing the ball up the court and take a running jumper just inside of the 3-point line. It hits the backboard and misses. Lockton comes away with a Championship victory, in what turned out to be the closest contested game of the entire season. What a great finish to the Championship game and the inaugural season at The College Basketball Experience.
Congratulations go out to all the teams who participated. It was a fantastic first season and one can only hope the following season will meet the highly competitive standards that these initial six teams set. The bar has been raised and Lockton is now poised to defend their title. Don’t be left out, “Get off the bench and get in the game.”
For more information about CBE men’s leagues, please contact Reggie Hines, CBE Manager of Basketball Operations at (816) 949-7514 or Reggie@theCBE.net.
CBE Downtown Basketball League Home page
2008 League Teams & Players