The Besecker Basketball American League kicked off the first week of games for the 2023 season and the competition has never been better. With an expansion this past offseason, the BBAL welcomed two new teams, a multitude of new players, and a whole new level of skill.
The Huskies, Gremlins, Lanc Show, Tropics, and Woodpeckers all collected wins in the first slate of games. However, the biggest story of the weekend was the self-implosion of the Bullies. With all that being said, let's take a closer look at each game.
(Fair warning, I was doing play-by-play on the stream for all five games, so bare with me as far as game details go.)
Game One: Huskies - 71, Cherrypickers - 70
In the first game of the BBAL season, the two new teams duked it out for the first time of the Sport Court.
The Cherrypickers jumped out to an early lead and controlled it throughout the first half. However, an early injury in the second half from star player, Devonne Pinkard, allowed the Huskies to cut their deficit. However, it was a controversial call in the overtime period that sent Eli Washington to the line. After sinking a pair of free throws, the Huskies walked away with their first win as a franchise.
The Huskies had three scorers reach double figures with Tim Edwards leading the way with 29 points, seven rebounds, and four steals. Eli Washington dropped 18 to go along with four assists and a block. Jordan Tyson finished things off with 10 points, but was a menace of defense with four steals and two blocks.
The Cherrpickers offense came mostly from Pinkard after a 23 point performance. However, after going down with a foot injury, Curtis Cannon picked up the pace as he finished with 16 and six rebounds. KJ Brownlee also reached double figures with 15 points to go along with a block. The fourth double digit scorer for the 'Pickers was John John Gilispi who dropped a near double-double with 14 points and nine rebounds.
-The Achillies' heel for the Cherrypickers was the turnovers. As a team, they gave the ball over 19 (!) times. Granted, it's the first game, but definitely something KJ Myers and his squad will look to improve on.
-Tim Edwards, Eli Washington, and Jordan Tyson may be the sneakiest trio in the league. Justin Baker built himself quite the squad.
-Huskies will play Lanc Show at 5 p.m.
-Cherrypickers will play Dragons at 6 p.m.
Game Two: Gremlins - 68, 8Balls - 62
With 2022 MVP, Ross Conway, sitting on the bench healing up from a foot injury, the Gremlins collected their first franchise win in the BBAL. (Tony Cruz has to be hyped.)
This game was back and forth, but to be honest, without Conway, the 8Balls just couldn't find someone to replace his offensive production. Whereas, on the other side of the court, the trio of Ajani, Andrew Makrides, and Makai Ortiz-Gray just tore apart the 8Balls defense.
Ajani led the Gremlins in their first with with 24 points, seven rebounds, two steals, and an astounding fashion statement with the backwards jersey. Makrides took advantage of the lack of size of the court with 20 points, seven boards, and four blocks. Ortiz-Gray had a bit of a quiet game, all things considered, with just 17 points.
A remarkable 10 players scored for the 8Balls, but only two reached double figures. Newcomer Danny Bomberger dropped 19 points and collected the only block for the 8Balls. Ricky finished with 14 points.
-Gremlins got their first win, and rightfully so. This team finally got help for Ortiz-Gray with a great point guard in Ajani and a remarkable big in Makrides. However, I'm still not convinced that this team is legit.
-The time table for Conway's return worries me, but once he is fully recovered, he has a great supporting cast with Bomberger, Ricky, and of course, Calan.
-Think it's interesting that 12 (maybe more?) players played for the 8Balls. I don't know if that's a good strategy going forward, but goes to show how different this year is compared to others.
-Gremlins will play Bullies at 8 p.m.
-8Balls will play Titans at 4 p.m.
Game Three: Lanc Show - 63, Bullies - 52
In a game in which most people thought the Bullies were to win it with ease, it was the Lanc Show who pulled out with an underdog win.
The game was close until the second half. Almost out of nowhere, Kurt Goldbach stormed off the bench, screamed at Liam, retired on the livestream, and continued to speak about his displeasures with the Bullies' franchise in the stands all the while his game between the Lanc Show was still going on.
As captain Liam Besecker was trying to weather the storm, the Lanc Show continued to ball and cruised to their first win of the season. Despite the loud mouth of Goldbach, the silent killer play of Jack Engle continued as he finished with 18 points, four boards, and an impressive 7-for-15 from the field. Jaxon and Dashaun also reached double figures with 17 and 10, respectively.
Eric Goldbach and Reese each dropped 14 for the Bullies with Hoodie Qel chipping in 11.
-I mean... do I really have to say what my first takeaway is? We all know what this was about. I just hope both the Bullies and Kurt find their happiness by Week Two.
-It's weird to see Jack Engle in a Lanc Show jersey, but he seems to be happy playing alongside Connor Engle.
-I'm still optimistic about this Bullies team. Hoodie Qel is a hooper and I like the addition of Reese and Chupick. As long as Eric can keep his fists away from walls, this team can be scary.
-Lanc Show will play Huskies at 5 p.m.
-Bullies will play Gremlins at 8 p.m.
Game Four: Tropics - 82, Titans - 73
In a battle of the T's, it was the Tropics who took the cake over the Titans. Tropics jumped out to a big lead to start off the game, but the Titans battled back to make it close at the half.
Although the Titans tried to keep it close, it just seemed that the Tropics controlled both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. No matter the answer, the Tropics had the response, so it's no wonder that they came out with a dub and were the highest scoring team of the weekend.
Tyler Crespo dropped a week high 31 points on a highly efficient 12-for-19 from the field. Adam dropped a double double with 21 points and 14 boards. Captain Brad Atkinson finished off the job with a near triple double with 10 points, nine rebounds, and six assists.
For the Titans, Johnny Besecker dropped a double double with 25 points and 10 rebounds. Ant and Footman helped out with 23 and 18 points, respectively.
-It baffles me that Johnny dropped 25. I swear when I was calling this game, Johnny had like 8 points. He shot 5-for-14 from three, which seems bad, but it's still 36-percent. Just wild to me.
-Tropics will play Woodpeckers at 7 p.m.
-Titans will play 8Balls at 4 p.m.
Game Five: Woodpecker - 71, Dragons - 52
I mean... the 'Peckers are pecking. The defending champs won this one with ease. So much so that I believe there were 3-4 dunks this game, which is like more than we've seen in a single season at the BBAL. I would say more about this, but it would just be mean things about the Dragons, so I'll hold my tongue.
Elijah and Nevin Roman both dropped 20 with Elijah adding 13 rebounds and Roman knocking down three tre balls. Devin Atkinson tacked on 19 points with eight boards, a steal, and a block.
Despite puking on the sidelines (again), Kevin Roldan led the Dragons with 17 points and three steals. Denzel Kabasele also reached double figures with 14.
-Woodpeckers somehow got better. Their new bigman Elijah is my favorite to win MVP solely because he can dunk the ball with ease. Him and Trey Wells are going to be a nightmare for oppenents this season.
-Denzel told me he hurt his wrist before the game started and said he wouldn't shoot much. He either lied to me or wanted to fake out the media because he shot the ball 15 times, a team high.
-Alex Cruz, although happy with the Dragons, got dunked on.
-Woodpeckers will play Tropics at 7 p.m.
-Dragons will play Cherrypickers at 6 p.m.