If this weekend was a candy, it'd be a 'Sour Patch Kid.' Bitter and sweet.
Bitter because the 2022 BBAL regular season has come to an end; sweet because the playoffs are right around the corner. (The cherry on top is the special visit we got from Lancaster Newspapers finest, John Walk. You can read his feature here.)
For the final week, the first two games weren't the best two games (in their own ways) we have seen thus far this season, but luckily the final two produced some entertaining and competitive basketball on the Sport Court to cap off the year.
The Woodpeckers finished on top of the league after holding off a second half comeback from the Gremlins. The Bullies dropped their fourth straight after losing a close one to the Titans. The Lanc Show breezed past the 8 Balls with only five bodies on the court. Finally, the Dragons sneaked past the Tropics in a down-to-the-wire matchup.
Game One: Titans 64, Bullies 59
This game did not start off well at all. The game was tied up at ten around the mid-way point of the first half, and the Bullies were shooting 18% at that point. Luckily, the shots began to fall and the Titans held a 32-30 lead going into the half.
The Titans jumped out of the second half gate red hot and held a double digit lead with just ten minutes left to go. Then Jah Greaves for the Bullies went on a tear and bullied their way back in. Gavin Sullivan caught the hint, made plays on both sides of the court, and brought this game within two with :55 seconds left.
However, the Titans switched modes, locked up the Bullies, and made their final second free throws that secured them the win.
Johnny Besecker had a stellar performance of 24 points, seven boards, five assists, and he shot 40% from three point land. Joe Chupick chipped in 16 points and seven rebounds. As a team, the Titans shot 33% from the field, 28% from beyond the arc, and 80% from the charity stripe.
Jah Greaves led the Bullies with 27 points, eleven boards, four assists, and shot 46% from the field. In his debut, Mo contributed 15 points, four steals, and two blocks. Gavin Sullivan dropped 13 points with two blocks, but he turned the ball over five times and shot 24% from the field (25% from three). Without Greaves, the Bullies shot 26% from the field.
Player of the Game: Johnny Besecker (24 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 38% from field, 40% from three)
Game Two: Lanc Show 75, 8 Balls 54
Straight up, this was a beat down.
The Lanc Show started out hot and scored seven unanswered points. After the 8 Balls settled in, they tied this game up and entered halftime down by only five. Unfortunately for them, the Lanc Show happened.
The boys is gold jumped out to a 20-9 run to start the second half. Ross Conway tried his luck with the three ball, but the Lanc Show never took their foot off the pedal as the purple boys by twenty one.
It was an all around team effort for Lanc Show. Saimir led them in scoring with 23 and shot lights out from the field with 62%, and an impressive 3-5 from downtown. Grant Conway added 18 to the mix while shooting 7-for-14 on the night. Scott Slade put up 16 with eight boards, two blocks, and a steal. Connor Engle had 12. As a team, the Lanc Show shot 52% from the field and 57% from three.
R. Conway led the 8 Balls with 27 points, seven boards, three steals, a block, but a surprising 3-for-14 from beyond the arc. Calan Titus helped with 16 points, seven boards, six assists, and two steals. Respectfully, no one else is worthy on the 8 Balls for me to talk about, so we will move on.
Player of the Game: Scott Slade (16 points, 8 boards, 2 blocks, 1 steal, 58% from the field, 50% from three)
Game Three: Dragons 60, Tropics 54
This game started and ended as a heavy weight boxing fight. Both teams kept throwing punches, hitting them, but just wouldn't back down. However, the Dragons would eventually take care of the Crespo-less Tropics in the end.
Denzel Kabasele led the Dragons with 22 and showed up on the defensive side with two steals and a block. Dwayne Caine added 17 and shot 7-for-13 on the Sport Court. Kevin Roldan chipped in 13 with two blocks.
The Tropics had four players in double digits. Austin Groft led with 15, nine rebounds, and an assist. Justin Baker put up 12 points and a steal. Brad Atkinson was quiet with an eleven point performance. He also shot 28% from the field, 11% from three, and strangely only had one assist. Jaxon Weyforth also had eleven.
Player of the Game: Denzel Kabasele (22 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block, 53% from the field)
Game Four: Woodpeckers 69, Gremlins 61
The Gremlins jumped out to a 7-2 run to start. Eventually, the 'Peckers pecked their way back in and into a four point lead after the first horn.
The Woodpeckers kept it up in the second half and eventually got themselves a comfortable double digit lead. Makai Ortiz-Gray had something to say about that as he cut the lead to just five in the final minutes of play. (Also, Eli played spectacular and that dunk was the best play all season. Just wow.) However, the 'Peckers were too much for Ortiz-Gray and company as they escaped the week with a win.
The Woodpeckers were led by Devin Atkinson who dropped 18 points to go with 16 rebounds, and eight assists. Jack Engle was close behind with 16 points with four assists and two steals. Tray Wells and Nevin Roman each put up 14.
Ortiz-Gray led all scorers with 26 points. Eli Basenga helped out with 20 of his own and shot an impressive 54% from the Sport Court, and 57% from beyond the arc. The Gremlins, without those two players, contributed 13 points and a collective 25% from the field.
Player of the Game: Devin Atkinson (18 points, 16 rebounds, 8 assists, 50% from the field, 33% from three)
#5 Lanc Show
#7 8 Balls