The playoffs got underway in the Friday night Recreational League last week, where we saw the quarterfinals and one of the semifinal matchups, which was probably the RTE Sports Game of the Year so far. I’ll be breaking down all three of the games in this article, but first, here was the bracket going into the night.
#3 Toss It Up (69) vs. #6 Pump & Run (48)
In the first quarterfinal of the night, the 4-3 Toss It Up took on a 2-5 Pump & Run. Pump & Run was able to hang with the favorites early on, with Vince hitting a deep three and Cody using his deceptive speed to get to the basket for an easy layup. It was an 8-6 lead midway through the first quarter for Pump & Run, but then Toss It Up’s major run started.
Pump & Run simply went cold from the field while Toss It Up kept getting second-chance opportunities and converting. What was just a 14-10 lead after the first quarter ballooned to 38-15 by halftime, leaving little hope of a Pump & Run comeback.
Ken from Toss It Up led all scorers with 21 points and 8 rebounds, while “Milkman” Marcus overcame a slow start to end up with 20 and 11. For Pump & Run, Brett had 13 points and a game-high 16 rebounds. Interestingly, Brett went just 2-11 on two-pointers, but a perfect 3-3 from three. Cody, Greg, and Amari each had eight points.
A strong fourth quarter from Pump & Run saw them trim the deficit by 10 points, but by that point, it was already far too late. Toss It Up took this game easily, 69-48.
#4 Task Force Jammers (50) vs. #5 B2F Lions (63)
Next up, the Task Force Jammers took on the B2F Lions for a spot in the quarterfinals, and a match against the undefeated #1 seed Heatwave. This game was back-and-forth during the first quarter, but a strong run early in the second quarter gave Task Force a 12-point lead, prompting a B2F timeout.
However, once they calmed down and talked things over, it appeared that B2F had cracked the Task Force code. B2F cut the lead down to five by halftime and used an 18-5 third quarter to take an eight-point lead to the fourth quarter. Once again, rebounding was a major factor. The B2F Lions outrebounded Task Force 36-21 en route to a 63-50 victory.
Damien “Blue Chip” Harris did it all for B2F, finishing with 15 points, 16 rebounds, and 5 assists. Anthony Branch had 22 points and shot 9-11 from the free-throw line. On Task Force’s side, Kevin Phillips had more than half the team’s points, with 26, but couldn’t will the team to a victory.
#2 3’s Company (65) vs. #3 Toss It Up (62) (2OT!)
Playing for a spot in the Championship, 3’s Company and Toss It Up played a game to remember. Things got off to a bit of a slow start, with a 12-11 Toss It Up lead at the end of the first quarter, but bot the pace and intensity picked up as the game went on.
3’s Company was led by two big double-double performances from Deshaun Lowery (20 points, 11 rebounds), and Rocko Hadnot (16 points, 13 rebounds). Along with four threes from Reggie Sampson, 3’s Company led by eight entering the fourth.
However, the comeback was on, and with just seconds remaining, Toss It Up had the ball, down just three points. Reggie got the steal for 3’s Company, then took a half-court shot, thinking the final buzzer would sound. Instead, he had misjudged the time, allowing the Milkman to grab the rebound, and chuck up a three-quarters court shot as the buzzer sounded.
Amazingly, the shot went in, sending the game to overtime! 55-55! Overtime was chaotic, as both teams made big shots but traded mistakes, from turnovers to missed free throws. A buzzer-beating layup sent the game to double overtime, where 3’s Company was able to prevail 65-62. Words don’t really do it justice, but 3’s Company advanced to the Championship.
Coming Up (Friday, July 13)
5:30 pm- Semifinal 2 (Heatwave vs. B2F Lions)
7:30 pm- CHAMPIONSHIP (3’s Company vs. Winner of 5:30 Game)