“You can’t always be the strongest or most talented or most gifted person in the room, but you can be the most competitive.” – Pat Summitt
The first ever Healthy Buffalo Women’s Basketball League has officially entered post season territory. After eight weeks of regular season action we will now move to the elimination phase of play. It seems cruel that in the midst of the holiday season, one by one, the teams will fall, dreams shattered, and the door closed on their dreams of hoisting the giant 36″ Healthy Buffalo championship trophy at half court. Yet for one team, they will have the chance to do what thousands of local athletes can only dream of: taking top honors in Buffalo’s premier athletic organization, something they can hold onto forever. With this being the first season of play, it’s like the opportunity to win the first Super Bowl or first World Series.
In Week 1, it was all about the NDN Gunners. They came out on fire and really set the tone for the league. Yet by Week 3, TBD joined the show and raised the bar even higher. Healthy Buffalo and the Shining Force were definitely the most improved teams over the course of the season with Shining Force picking up a big victory over the NDN Gunners and Healthy Buffalo locking up the number two seed as their team had a couple months to gel. The Toon Squad failed to notch a win in their inaugural season, but showed a lot of heart out on the court and definitely have some of the pieces in place. Melanie Fisher has impressed league analysts with her hustle and defensive play, while Brianna Trapper has taken a real leadership role on the team and had a solid all round season.
Round 1 kicks off tomorrow night as the Geriatric Lady Bears take on the NDN Guners. The Geriatric Lady Bears will need a huge game out of Ona Halladay if they have a chance for the upset. Another wild card for the Lady Bears is Sara Guppenberger. She has been on fire the last few weeks and if she gets hot and Halladay has a good game the Lady Bears will have a chance to pull off the upset.
Perhaps the most interesting matchup of the night will be Shining Force vs. The Lemon Drops. It looked like the Shining Force was on the cusp of making a great run by mid-season when suddenly Harper Bishop faded out. If Bishop shows up and has a big game the Shining Force can compete with anyone. For the Lemon Drops it all starts with Melissa Pawlowski. If Pawlowski can run the court and open things open and find Ashley Kimble and Jaymie McCarley for some easy buckets inside the Lemon Drops will likely pull this one out.
The final game of night will pit a red hot Healthy Buffalo team against the 0-7 Toon Squad. Could the Toon Squad shock the league and lock up their first win in the post season against Healthy Buffalo? It’s hard to figure out a scenario where that happens, but if their shooters get hot and they can lock down Healthy Buffalo on the defensive end anything is possible. Aaliyah Dunbar has been excellent for Healthy Buffalo. If she shows up tomorrow it could be a long night for the Toon Squad.
TBD took the top seed for the playoffs and earned the first round bye.
What initially looked like Harper Bishop’s for the taking, then received a serious challenge from Ona Halladay, ended up going to Marybeth Nugent who snuck in from behind to take top honors in the scoring chase. She will take home a custom made Healthy Buffalo shooter shirt for her accomplishment.
Round 1 (12/10):
7:35 pm: (3) NDN Gunners vs. (6) Geriatric Lady Bears
8:40 pm: (4) The Lemon Drops vs. (5) Shining Force
9:45 pm: (2) Healthy Buffalo vs. (7) Toon Squad
BYE: (1) TBD
7:30 pm: (2) Healthy Buffalo v. (3) NDN Gunners
8:30 pm: (1) TBD v. (4) The Lemon Drops
Finals (To Be Determined):