Top seeds UPB and The U.H. survive close calls to advance to the semis, while the Flint Tropics roll a Hawkins-less Reloaded team, leaving fans asking: where’s Carlos?
Buffalo, NY- Round 1 of the Kronies Jamfest 5 playoffs were full of drama and intrigue. The first game of the day featured the Billies and Points In A Hurry. Points In A Hurry, led by captain Steve Allen, kept it close in the first half, but in the second half the Billies took control of the game with a number stops at the defensive end that led to quick buckets in transition. Mark Ward led all scorers with 22 points to lead the Billies into the semis with a 75-62 point victory.
The second game of the day pitted two of the West’s most prolific scorers as Nick Pfohman and the Flint Tropics took on Carlos Hawkins and Reloaded. Except there was just one problem: Hawkins was mysteriously absent. Without Hawkins, Reloaded was unable to generate much offense as Seth Donalis (12 points) was the only player on the squad to reach double digits in scoring. Everyone on the Flint Tropics chipped in to pull out the win in this one. Nick Pfohman led all scorers with 18 points, Matt Sommer kicked in another 15 points, and Andy Pfohman did the dirty work inside, collecting a number of rebounds as the Flint Tropics cruised to a 62-39 victory.
Next up was the highly anticipated match-up between Concrete and Swagged Out. Concrete continued to look strong with a roster that has perhaps the most depth in the whole division. Matt Ratajczak stole the spotlight in this one scoring a game high 22 points to pull out the 67-60 win to secure a match-up against the Billies in the semis.
The 5pm game featured the two teams that have captured the Kronies Jamfest title for the past three seasons as R.I.P. Ent looked to take back the title from Court Justice. Court Justice was not leaving anything to chance in this game, jumping out to a 40-22 point lead by halftime. AJ Rutledge (22 points), Perry Davis (16 points) and Moe Bailey (19 points) led Court Justice to the 80-64 point win, while putting Court Justice in pole position for a repeat after a shaky regular season.
The 6pm slot was a tale of two halves as the Spartans overcame a 10 point halftime deficit to beat Norfolk N’ Chance 67-60. Norfolk N’ Chance entered the second half with a 32-22 point lead, but things quickly fell apart as Danny Glover (15 points) knocked down back-to-back three’s to start the half, swinging momentum to the Spartans who wrapped up the win with a balanced attack to earn themselves a date with the Sponge Bob Square Pants in the semis.
The final two games of Round 1 were #1 v. #8 seed match-ups, but as long time fans of Kronies Jamfest will attest, this is not your ordinary #1 v. #8 match-up as the VeryAggressiveGuys destroyed top seeded The U.H. in the last game of the regular season to advance to the playoffs, while the eighth seeded Hoosiers boast a former KJ scoring champion and two-time All-Star in Marc Antecki.
In The U.H./VeryAggressiveGuys matchup, the V.A.G. seemed poised to repeat their winning performance of Week 9 as they quickly jumped out to a 13 point lead midway through the first half behind a masterful performance by Mike Bartoszek who picked the perfect time to heat up, but The U.H. whittled down the lead to one by halftime. After missing the first half, defensive spark-plug Jake Walkow made an emotional entry into the game and quickly established his presence with an and one play and a three pointer to complement a couple defensive stops. But The U.H. had come too far and been through too much to let this game slip away. They continued to pound the ball down low into the hands of big man Andrew Alfieri (25 points) who had 16 second half points and led The U.H. to a 61-59 win. The loss put an end to an emotional, roller coaster season for the V.A.G. and erases any hope for a three-peat.
In the final game of the night UPB faced Marc Antecki and the Hoosiers. The Hoosiers were without All-Star Dave Hall for this one, as he had reportedly had a falling out with Hoosiers management and declined to finish the rest of the season. With his absence UPB was expecting a cakewalk but got caught off guard as Marc Antecki poured it all out on the court with an inspiring 34 point performance. But as in the prior game, there would be no historic upset as UPB fought back and took control of the game behind the youthful duo of Colton Holzwarth (13 points) and Adam Weir who scored a team high 21 points as UPB narrowly squeezed past the Hoosiers 74-71.