3rd Place Game
YM – Tony Lau 26, Paul Um 17, Jack Ho 15
The Party – Chris Loreth 25, Chris McAlpine 17, Will Johnson 11
After the disappointment of losing in the semifinals each of these teams were competitive enough to field their teams, and battle it out for the 3rd place spot. YM wasn’t able to match the YM of past playoffs vs Ball So Hard, and fell late in the 2nd half of that game. The Party was given a rude halt to their championship run by the Stallions, who would run away with that game by almost 40. The Party has had a “Magical” season, as predicted by their captain Ryan Shams before the season started!
These two teams brought two different philosophies to this matchup, and both of them made for a potentially good game. The Party is a prodding, and almost methodical in their approach to each game. Mostly a 4 man outside the key, one man inside, The Party runs selectively but usually grinds out the half-court game with Chris “Z-Bo” Loreth patrolling the middle. YM has been notorious for their fast pace, full court press style in years past. The fast pace is still there, but not so much the full court press. YM does a good job on making offenses use the full shot clock, as they fly around the court looking for steal/turnover opportunities.
The intensity was high to start this game, but the action was in abundance! YM got a strong dose of Chris McAlpine and big Chris “Z-Bo” Loreth! With Chris launching from three and attacking the seams, coupled with the rebounding and constant inside attack by “Z-Bo”, The Party had YM on their heels early. The YM attack is a full team attack. Even with some key players not at the game, every player on YM was a problem for The Party! Jack Ho and Torey helped facilitate the offense by running off of rebounds and turnovers. Tony and Paul would put extreme pressure on The Party’s defense, and was able to take a small three possession lead at the half.
The 2nd half was more of a grind than the first half. Both teams did a good job of taking advantage of openings in the defense. However, YM would start to put big pressure on The Party’s defense with their fast break points, and surprising attack on the boards. Chris Loreth had 19 rebounds to lead both teams in the game, but the shorter YM team had 4 players with 6 rebounds or more! Those extra opportunities helped them wear down The Party at the end, and YM would go on to take the 3rd place spot in this season’s Metro league consolation game.
Stallions – Prince Carino 25, Jit Lohcham and Brodie Greig 14 each, Mark Halfnights 11
BSH – Brandon Hoyem 19, Adi Baybay and Gene Wolff 17 each, Alan Hogan 13
Where do I start??? It is always great to have former league champions face off in not just this league, but any league! Ball So Hard’s championship run last season resembled the 2011 Dallas Mavericks! Focused, locked in, and any other adjective you want to throw in to describe that run. This year’s run was a little different, in that BSH was not sneaking up on anyone this season. Ball So Hard went through this season with a number of impressive wins, and was gave The Stallions one of their most competitive games of the year back in week 4!
The Stallions are legendary in this league without a shadow of a doubt! Always with the target on their backs, they revel in the fact that they are the hunted. In the 14+ seasons I have been involved with Vancouver Metro league at the Oval, and at Vancouver College, The Stallions were more confident now than in nearly every other season they have played in this league! A little older, muscles a little tighter, bones more sore than last season and the season before. With that said, under the return and guidance of Chris Cayford, the “Mamba Mentality” has returned full time! With an especially inspired sense of purpose this season, the Stallions team was among the best the league has ever had!
The first half would seem as if there was a little “Too Much” confidence. As the game started, Ball So Hard’s energy level was off the charts. Usually in a heavyweight title fight in Boxing or MMA, there is a feeling out period. Gauging the range of your opponent, seeing what you can and can do, and how you want to attack your opponent. This usually described The Stallions to a “T”, but something different was developing in the first half. The start of the game had an even start to it with Jitt Lohcham hitting on a quick post up for the Stallions, to a knockdown three pointer from BSH’s top free agent pick up Gene Wolff. Brodie Greig and Prince Carano joined Jitt in the scoring early on, but the “Energizer Bunny” for BSH was Alan “Spiderman” Hogan! Alan has been a standout for BSH all season on both ends of the floor. Bringing excitement on the floor with his play, and “witty” banter! He also showed a talent for being semi “ambidextrous”, as he would shoot jumpers and free throws with both his left and right hands! Observers would question if he was a lefty or a righty, while his opponents were baffled about it whenever they matched up. Alan would be a factor on both ends of the floor from the 17 foot jumpers made, to being a one man disruptive force on the defensive end. Alan would help facilitate a 12-2 run to give BSH a surprising 12 point lead midway through the game! A very peculiar thing happened early on in this game as Brody Greig would miss EVERYTHING on a free throw attempt! Dogged by their biggest defict of the season, The Stallions would pick up the pace in a big way! Brodie and Prince started flying up the court like it was the “Greyhound Races”! They would run head first into the “On Fire” Ball So Hard juggernauts! Between Adi’s scoring, Alan’s defensive onslaught, and Gene Wolff’s control of the offense, Ball So Hard had “upset” in their eyes. BSH would push the lead out to 15 points with 8:15 left in the half! The Stallions decided to put in the subs in Dustin and Luis Ayala, and the tides turned! The defense turned up for the Stallions on that substitution and the lead began to gradually shrink for BSH!
On a Stallions turn over, the sideline was greeted by a familiar face. That face looked down at his brand new Kobe low cut “Ivory White” kicks, and stated “Its go time”! That face and those shoes belong to Roger Sheung! Roger went on to score 9 of The Stallions next 11 points to close the half! The Stallions went from down 15 to up 3 at the end of the half!
It looked like The Stallions had taken the reigns on the game, and this may have been the start of the patented “Stallions” run that puts the game out of reach. BSH’s Brandon Hoyem would not go down without a fight. Lost in the shuffle of fancy dribbles/passes and three point shots, Brandon was on the grind in the paint as he usually is. Brandon would utilize not only his fast break scoring aptitude, but he would utilize his rarely used post up game to score 6 of the next 9 points for BSH. The runs would shift back and forth like a game of table tennis! The Stallions Mark Halfnights would put on a mini run along with teammate Prince, who knocked down a 3 pointer to push the lead out to 6. BSH would begin to unravel with unforced and forced turnovers that led to opportunities for the Stallions. On a scramble play, the ball ended up in Darryl’s hands and he would bury a big three for the Stallions. Even with the Alan’s 6th block of the game, and ensuing 3 pointer made by Gene Wolff, The Stallions run continued! The Stallions runs were not as long and as sustained as they had been throughout the season, and that is a credit to the wherewithal of the BSH club! The grind between the two teams continued deep into the 2nd half, with the Stallions holding no larger than a 5 point lead up to the 8 minute mark. Then….IT HAPPENED! “Fatigue makes cowards out of us all” is a quote that was told to me by a coach of mine years ago, and I understood what that quote meant and what it felt like when I was in the presence of it! The Stallions consistent pressure on offense, caused a big break down in the BSH defense. So much so, after a quick 9-0 run and timeout by BSH, out that timeout the Stallions would go on another 11-2 run forcing BSH to call their last timeout with just under 5 minutes left in the game!
Down 18, The Stallions would march to the free throw line for the rest of the game, off of the fastbreak fouls picked up on BSH trying to get back in transition. Jitt and Gene would get into a shouting match, and would be tossed out of the game! The Stallions would go on a figurative “Point Shaving” campaign, as they would go to the free throw line and miss 6 out of 14 free throws! Roger and Brody would knock down 4 free throws in a row that would seal the victory for the Stallions! This marks the Stallions 5th title in Vancouver Metro, and far out paces anyone else close to them! Congratulations!
Game note: Brody Greig would receive MVP of the championship game with 14 points, 11 rebounds, 9 assists, and 3 steals.