2011 MEN'S PRO LEAGUE RECAP: QUARTERFINALS
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2011 Men's Pro League RECAP: QUARTERFINALS
High intensity basketball was on display last night and it all started with the 4 seed Da Squad beating the 5 seed Dem Boyz. From the beginning it looked like Dem Boyz had the upper hand with balanced scoring in the first half and Stu Wright controlling the boards. There was some great trash talk between Derek Billups and Pooh Oliver throughout the battle. Pooh won the battle with 15 points to Billup’s 7, but Derek won the war as his teammates picked him up for the win. Dem Boyz just couldn’t get a steady scoring effort going. Mike Hutch would have been a big help to the team. Da Squad had some “in house” issues with arguments throughout the game on the bench. They somehow pushed those aside and went on a run in the 2nd half behind Monty Taylor and Stephen Green. Taylor didn’t make a bucket in the 1st half but went on a one man run scoring 14 points in the 2nd frame. Green controlled the low post with 17 points in the game including a huge three. Jeff Graves was a major contributor with 20 as the size of Da Squad was the difference in the game. They move on to face the #1 seed Bro Kings next Monday.
The second quarterfinal was a shocker as the 3 seed Gym Rats dominated the defending champs, 6 seed Team Elite, 85-63. Every phase of the game was won by the Rats. The Fleming brothers went off all night. Scott dropped 5 threes on his way to 25 points and brother Chad had 24. In previous recaps I have explained the importance of Hunter Henry to the team and he proved my point last night. He had 18 points in the first half on the way to 22 for the game. More importantly his long arms altered numerous shots, tipped loose balls to his teammates and himself, and grabbed numerous offensive and defensive rebounds. Martel Mahon led the way for Team Elite with 14 points, but at the end of the day, Team Elite was out hustled, out shot, out rebounded, and out defended by the Gym Rats. Walter Bethea could not get a rhythm going at all and I feel it was his lack of playing time during the regular season and not getting the required chemistry with his teammates. He called the playoffs a “Drive for Five,” now we’ll call it a Dream Deferred. Another astounding note on this game is the Gym Rats only had 5 players and the fifth, team leader Ben Stutler, had a back injury. The Rats outlasted 7 Team Elite players with great passing and everyone on the team moved well without the ball on cuts. It was a Princeton style offence on the floor with all the back door cutting going on. The Gym Rats will face #2 seed Team Jay next Monday.
Semi-Final 1 - #1 Seed Bro Kings vs. #4 Seed Da Squad 7:00pm Monday August 29th
The Bro Kings blew out Da Squad in their regular season battle, but some things might be different this time around. Da Squad was without Stephen Green at the time. When you team him up with Jeff Graves that is the largest front line in the league by far. At the same time Steven Vinson scored 20 points against Da Squad, but we have not seen him for a few weeks due to an injury. The Bro Kings have had a 2 week layoff, so you might see some rust. The backcourt advantage clearly goes to the Bro Kings with the speed of Ronnie Tyson and the shooting of Corey Schulte, but the front court is a little more even. The Bro Kings can flat out run the floor at every position and they will need to get their fast break going if they want to beat Da Squad. The twin tower combo of Green and Graves will hold their own on the defensive end if they have the stamina to keep up. This will a great battle.
Semi-Final 2 - #2 Seed Team Jay vs. #3 Seed Gym Rats 8:30pm Monday August 29th
I have never seen a more bizarre ending to a game when these two teams met last time. The Gym Rats had a huge 2nd half lead against a short- handed Team Jay. They gave it all back and then took the lead back with 10 seconds to go behind 3 straight threes from James Lake. VI inexplicably fouled Brandon Burgette with 4 seconds and he drained 3 free throws to ice the game. Everyone was in shock. Things have changed since. Team Jay continues to turn their roster over with new players. The only person I know that will show up is John Hawkins who dazzled everyone with a 57 point performance including a record tying 13 threes last week. He plays tenacious defense and loves to run the fast break. The Gym Rats have found their groove running up 4 straight victories behind team play on both ends of the floor. They only had one guard in last night’s victory. If they can get James Lake back for Monday’s matchup, they will be a force to be reckoned with. Every Gym Rat player can shoot the ball from the outside and that leaves the lane wide open for driving. They are a defensive nightmare. I have to give the edge to the Gym Rats because you just don’t know who will show up for Team Jay.
Leading Scorer and MVP Race
It looks like the battle for leading scorer will come down to 2 teammates (Brandon Burgette and John Hawkins). The scoring leader is your total amount of points throughout the regular season plus your best single playoff performance. The winner will receive $100 cash.
MVP is wide open right now. To win you have to show your abilities to play on both ends of the floor and be consistent in the regular season and playoffs. The MVP will receive $150 cash.
If you would like to purchase professional footage of the playoffs (all games) contact Reggie. I believe the price will be $25.
See you for the Semifinals this Monday!
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