Division 1 Championship Finals Monday - July 6, 2015
#1 System 8 Athletics 119 Vs. KINGS 109
The #1 and #2 seed met up in the finals just like the pre-playoff seeding predicted, but came in the form of two different paths. Kings started the season uneven in their lineup, and took a hand full of games to find their stride.
Jermaine “J Fresh” Foster was lost for the season right before the playoffs, and a few of his guards were absent due to travel. The Kings had plenty in reserve with former National Team standouts Ransford Brempong and Nic Cochran, along with “hired guns” like Nick Toews, Dru Creightney, and Mitt Visser!
System 8 has been a juggernaut the entire season, even after a tight game in week one vs the New Power Generation! Since then, System 8 has motored through the Division 1 competition.Sometimes by experience, as they edged out Team SWAT late in the 2nd half, or by their “M.O.”…good old fashion fast break running!One of the fittest teams in the entire league, System 8 Athletics has a good mix of young and old players to support their high energy attack!
To start this game, Kings looked like the younger team! Ransford and Igor Dutina attacked System 8 Athletics early and often, and helped the Kings get off to a 16-6 start. The early difference in the game was the activity of Ransford inside and Igor’s long lost defensive technique and effort! Igor had a nice block shot after a crafty inbound pass, and it looked like defense would be the name of the game.
As soon as that thought crossed my mind, System 8 Athletics went on a 12-2 run to force the Kings to call a timeout! Out of the timeout, Kings went to their big lineup to some success. Kings were able to put System 8 in foul trouble and get into the penalty with 10 minutes left in the first half! Mitt Visser was a “Whirling Dervish” for Kings as he weaved in and out of traffic and into a bucket plus the foul! This would keep the lead at 2 points until Pat Simon knocked down a three from the corner! With that momentum, System 8 would go on another 14-5 run to push the score to 42-44 with 6:30 left in the half! Mitt Visser continued to go to work dropping Pat Simon on a crossover dribble, and then dropping Clay Crellin on an in and out dribble move ending in a layup plus the foul!
System 8 was all over the place on offense and defense. Just when the Kings would make a run, System 8 would answer back with a run of their own. System 8, from down 16-6, went on a 46-24 turnaround to claim a 16 point lead! Dru C would hit a “frog leg” stand still three pointer from the right side, followed by a three by Nick Toews, and Igor! Ransford capped the 11-3 run with an “eyebrow fake” move, leading to a left and tip in. Glenn Gravengard would race to a late layup after a big block by Jermain Haley! System 8 would take a 62-50 halftime lead, and it looked like there were more fireworks.
The second half started out like the first, with Kings going on a 5-2 run with Ransford steping out to hit a three, followed by a nice up and under move! Clay would bait a Kings player into fouling him behind the three point line! After hitting all three free throws, Herman would take the baseline and lay in a tough bucket to cut the lead to 7 with 18:36 left in the game.
The game began to get even more physical as the half went on! Both teams played every possession like it was their last! So much, the fouls started to pile up and most against System 8! Even in foul trouble System 8 took off on yet another double digit run! Thanks in part to the Clay Crellin show, System 8 raced off to an 18 point lead! Clay’s acrobatic twisting layup plus the foul made it 89-71 with just under 14 minutes left in the game! Both teams traded blow for blow! Jermain hit a transition pullup three for System 8, only to be followed by a pull up three by Nick Toews for Kings!
The Kings started to make a run with Ransford’s layup and foul to cut the lead to 12, and most importantly System 8 had no less than FOUR PLAYERS WITH 4 FOULS With 9:45 left in the game! This was huge, because they only had a 2 substitution bench! Over the next three minutes, Kings chipped away at the System 8 lead with Ransford’s three attempt hitting the back rim and falling in! Down 6 inside of 7 minutes left in the game, Clay would thrust System 8 on yet another double digit run!
While the Kings defense was very good, Clay maneuvered in and out of their defense like a trained fighter pilot! Going on a 16-3 run to put the game out of reach. The game was so physical that both teams had to play 4 on 4 the last minute of the game!
Clay Crellin grabbed the championship game MVP, leading System 8 Athletics to their first title and undefeated season in Vancouver Metro!
Congratulations to System 8 Athletics on the Division 1 Championship.