Buffalo, NY- After almost three months of play, the hopes and dreams of the 16 playoff bound teams came down to one game, two twenty minute halves of basketball that would determine the fate of the approximately 140 remaining ball players in the Champions League. In the first game of the afternoon two-time champion R.I.P. Ent faced Kevin Kirby and MVP Network Consulting. R.I.P. Ent came loaded and ready to roll, putting together their entire roster for perhaps the first time all season. For the first time in franchise history R.I.P. finally has the frontcourt to match their sharp-shooting and slashing guards. Big man Joe Cassel set the tone with a nasty two-handed dunk, while Mitch Reese kept the peddle to the medal scoring a team high 15 points in a balanced attack. Ron Malicki scored a game high 24 points for MVP to cap off an excellent season, but one that ended sooner than he had envisioned as R.I.P. brought home the win to advance to the semis.
In game two Sponge Bob Square Pants faced off against Slaughterhouse. Slaughterhouse drew a tough match-up against Spongebob as Jon Burgio made his return to the team after a troubling regular season with injuries. They kept it close in the first half, but in the second half Sponge Bob pulled away behind the sharp shooting of Kenny Campbell and the inside presence of Jon Burgio (27 points) to pull off the 66-47 point victory.
In the 4pm game Court Justice played Travis Craig and Ball Never lies. As in the prior game, Ball Never Lies kept it close in the first half before Court Justice blew open the score in the second half in the 78-58 win. Moe Bailey led all scorers with 26 points as he remains hungry to bring home his second Champions League title. Ball Never Lies captain Andrew Alfieri was already strategizing off-season moves for their return in season seven.
The 5pm was a nail-biter between We All We Got took on Norfolk N’ Chance. Norfolk N’ Chance was without BSWA legend Dean Antalik, who missed what was perhaps his first ever post season game for personal reasons. The Norfolk N’ Chance offense was definitely off a key without Antalik running the point, as We All We Got jumped out to a 38-21 lead by halftime. In the second half Jon Plail (15 points) and Bryan Dorothy (10 points) led a ferocious comeback to in the closing minutes but they couldn’t close out the game. We All We Got will advance to play Court Justice in the semis next week.
In the first game of Western Conference play Concrete played the Fastbreakers in a rematch of their week nine game. Al Ahmed (23 points) and Mike Bennett (26 points) led the attack for Concrete as they look to get back to the finals in consecutive seasons. The Billies also stayed sharp in a big win over White Men Can’t Jump. Mark Ward continued his excellent play leading all scorers with 26 points in the win.
In the 8pm game a Brian Walter-less Healthy Buffalo squad played Lenny Frears and Pimpin’ Aint Easy. Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy came out confident and looking ahead to the semis, but Healthy Buffalo just woldn’t quite. Mike Capuana scored a season high 15 points to carry Healthy Buffalo into the semis where they will play Billies, who suffered their only regular season loss against Healthy Buffalo.
In the final game of the night the Buffalo Braves played Prestige Worldwide. The Braves jumped out to a quick lead and looked to close this one up early, but Prestige Worldwide staged a big second half comeback to come within six points before Galem Stone (20 points) and company finally finished them of 58-51.
Playoff action resumes Saturday afternoon at 1pm.