Last week’s match-ups proved that the seeding is in place for a reason. While the middle seeds had competitive games, the #1 and #2 seeds ran over the lower seeds in preparation for the semi-finals. The final four would match fast break versus controlled aggression in both games.
(1) SB Battle 85 – (5) SWAT 51
SB Battle started out of the gate like a horse at the Belmont Stakes looking for the Triple Crown. The running and fast pace was in full effect, and there was little let-up to start this game. SB Battle raced out to 30-11 lead with everyone on the team chipping in. Layup after layup, dunk after dunk led to two quick back-to-back timeouts by SWAT. Demi Harris and Clay Crellin led the aerial acrobatics with alley hoop dunks off the backboard, while Ransford Brempong and Kadeem Willis showed superior athleticism and good fundamental footwork in and around the paint. Gene Wolf and Igor Dutina had 14 of SWAT’s 20 first half points, unfortunately they were down 26 at the half.
The second half was a little better for SWAT, however, it was even better for SB Battle. The show continued on with even more action than in the first half. SB Battle continued to hold SWAT to one shot, and ran on nearly every missed shot, made shot, free throw, and everything in between. SB Battle would go on to win by a big margin. Even in this lopsided match, the crowd still felt like they got their money’s worth.
(2) Stallions 72 - (3) Sofa King Good 63
I wrote in my predictions piece about how intriguing this matchup would be, and it did not disappoint. Both teams are speedy and have Metro League playoff experience, but the height difference was a glaring factor in this one. Stallions came in with three players 6’5” and above. Not only that, but the speed factor at that height seemed even more daunting for SKG.
The fast pace of this game that I had anticipated was more measured. Almost calculating in the way both teams usually attacked. The Stallions were a little off to start the game going against the famous “Palmer Zone”. It was very effective in slowing the Stallions tempo down, while it let them run out to probe for easy scores. The Stallions transition defence was working for the most part. The scrappy SKG team probed and found scoring opportunities when they could. While the Stallions continued to find their footing on offence, they were able to take advantage of their height advantage for offensive rebounds. At the end of the half, the Stallions were able to take a 3-point lead to take back control of the game.
The second half started where the first left off. The game began to get a little “chippy” near the end of the first half, and it continued into the second. Yet it was more hustle plays that led to the rough play. Both teams were on their games in the second half which led to some exciting play. The Stallions began to take control of the game midway though the half, with a few of their patented runs. Jit Lochan and Elliot Mason used their height, skill, shooting, and hustle to gain a huge advantage on the “hustle board”. As champions do, SKG would not let go of the game, and battled even harder. The only problem was they couldn’t make a shot. With every miss, the Stallions would capitalize with a jumper, layup, or free throws. In the end, the Stallions would win by 11 and advance to the championship final to meet the #1 seed SB Battle for a third time this season.
The Metro League Fall season championship game takes place at the Richmond Oval next Monday, January 18 with tip-off slated for 8pm.