Tuesday marked the end of another exciting season in the RTE Sports Masters League. Four thrilling playoff games last week left us with just two teams standing: B2F Lions and 9 Round. However, before they could play for the Championship, we first had the All-Star Game, with 12 of the league’s best players.
All-Star Game: Hoopers (Gray) (93) vs. Ballers (Red) (80)
Just like you’d expect from an All-Star Game, pace of play was rapid from the get-go. And with the MVP of the game getting a free season of basketball, every player was giving it their A-game. The Ballers were on fire early, taking a 9-0 run in the first minute of action. However, before things got too out of hand, Jason “Mr. MVP” O’Bryant began to take control of the game, hitting threes and getting layups with athletic finishes at the hole.
Behind O’Bryant, who led the team with 34 points, the Hoopers were able to tighten the game up late in the first half and actually take a 43-42 lead at halftime. In the second half, Chris “Peja” Gonzales hit most of his nine threes, ending with 31 points. Kenneth “Yng Stoudamire” Cowan added 10 points and 10 assists.
The Ballers kept up their offensive pace in the second half, led by Artis Bishop’s 20 points and 9 rebounds. David “Dhow” How scored 17 points, and Nicholas “3ZPLZ” Gibbs had 16 points and four threes made. John “Mr. Fundamental” Lolio came close to a triple-double with 9 points, 9 rebounds, and 8 assists.
Late in the second half, the Hoopers’ offense kept their pace while the Ballers struggled to get stops, giving the Hoopers a 93-80 win. With 34 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and 5 steals, Jason O’Bryant won MVP.
Championship Game: B2F Lions vs. 9 Round
(Spoilers for the Championship Game below the video)
Following the All-Star Game was the Championship between the B2F Lions and 9 Round. Despite several of the players having just played, everyone was more than ready to go. Defenses were tough in the first few minutes, but it was 9 Round who was finally able to get a bit of separation, which became a 17-13 lead after the 1st quarter.
9 Round was able to extend that lead to seven points at halftime, 40-33, as the game opened up. All-Star Game MVP Jason O’Bryant struggled to get his shot going early, but Eddy Barlow more than made up for it, with 19 of his 23 points coming in the first half.
At halftime, B2F captain John Lolio remained calm, saying that if his team stuck to the gameplan and played just as if they were up seven, they would be fine. Those words came true as the B2F Lions had a huge third quarter, outscoring their opponents 18-8 for a 51-48 lead with just 10 minutes to play. The Lions did it with a balanced offense, with no one scoring more than 12 points.
However, similar to their semifinal game against Kryptonite, 9 Round was able to take the lead midway through the 4th and close out strong. O’Bryant started attacking the rim and getting easy baskets, and 9 Round made their free throws down the stretch. David How went 4/4 from the line and ended with 18 points and 12 rebounds. On the other hand, the B2F Lions struggled to take care of the basketball.
By a score of 69-62, 9 Round took the Championship. Congratulations to 9 Round, and thanks to everyone for an amazing season!