SKG – Will Chiang 23, Kevin Rasmussen 17, JJ Bath 14
Flight – Trey Slawter 31, RJ Base 15, #23 13
The old saying “Throw the records out the window when these two teams meet”, totally applied in this situation! Flight coming off a tough loss last week, looked to bounce back with a victory against one of the toughest teams to play in Vancouver Metro! Sofa King Good comes into this matchup riding a win streak after their first week lost to former Metro League Champs The Stallions. Still undersized, they would miss their newest acquisition in Max Neumann who has proven to be a good interior defensive player.
Flight scoring has been “lacking” this season as oppose to the championship run they had 3 or 4 seasons ago. They have always been tough on defense, but they would need every point they could in this matchup. SFG is notorious for blazing up the scoreboard….on any team! This had the potential for being a blowout game, but never judge a scoresheet or matchup by its cover!
The battle began as it would be throughout the game, as a massive tough of war! Flight went into a 2-3 zone at times, not to be confused with the World Famous “Palmer Zone”! Yet it was effective in slowing down the scoring of SKG…somewhat. Both teams play in a frenzy as if they were in a wind tunnel full of money! The effort from both teams was admirable, but RJ Base would have won the award for “Best Hustler” in this game! If he wasn’t launching threes or driving hard to the basket, he was diving on the floor for each loose ball! It was contagious as his team would follow suit in the hustle category. SKG’s Defensive Ace JJ Bath was a blur on the court, and with the help of Will Chiang, they were getting their hands on everything they could! The action was non-stop, so much so, I didn’t realize that it was a close 3 point game at the half!
The exciting “stalemate” would continue in the 2nd half, but Flight would begin to take advantage of this pace. Tremaine Slawter was all over the place in the 2nd half for Flight! Inside and out, Trey’s lights out shooting and attacking of the paint, gave Flight an 11 point lead midway through the 2nd half! SKG would look like an episode of the “Three Stooges” at times in this game. Turnovers, unforced errors, missed assignments, you name it SKG did it! The “Basketball Gods” were out in full force, and they were trying to bury SKG in this game! Fatigue broke out late in this game, and it would come down to “Who wanted it more”! Alex Koong was relatively “Ice Cold” for most of the game, and it made a big difference in the grand scheme of things for SKG! RJ Base continued to sacrifice his body late in the 2nd half, and with less than a minute left in the game, it looked like Flight was going to pull off the upset. Inexplicably, Flight would begin to fold like a “cheap suit”! Missed layups were bad enough for both teams down the stretch, but Flight would commit some of the worst end of the game turnovers in Metro League history. SKG slapped on a rare Full Court press late In the 2nd half, and was able to help force an almost record number of turnovers on Flight. “Mad Man” Eddie Fan, Kevin Rasmussen, and Will Chiang recklessly attack the Flight defense for layups, and would be able to draw fouls that would eventually lead to free throws. Alex, a reliable shooter in every way, stepped to the line and missed a crucial free throw to help bring Flight closer to a victory. In one of the most bizarre sequence, Flight through the ball away three consecutive times! 2 of the first 3 turnovers led to points for SKG, but still trailed by 3 points with less than 15 seconds left in the game. JJ Bath would race up the court, and found Alex. Alex would draw a double team, after he hit a big open three moments ago. Alex swung the ball to a wide open JJ “No Knees” Bath for a game tying three point attempt! JJ had shot the ball terribly for most of the game, but this shot was all net, all butter, and every other “all” adjective you can think of! OVERTIME!
In overtime, Flight started fast but when RJ Base went down with cramping and a knee injury, it spelled curtains for Flight. SKG would devour Flight’s defense bite by bite on their way to a hard fought victory, and potential game of the week candidate.
YM – Dru Creightney 26, Jack Ho 22, Glen Shung 11
Agaveros – Ayhab Farhal 11, Oscar Salvador 9
Agaveros came into the league strong and formidable. This season has not panned out for them, due to injuries and chemistry issues. Having these problems coming into a game vs the former Metro League champs in YM, was the absolute wrong time in evaluating how you get out of your rut.
Last week Dru Creightney ran into the buzzsaw we around here call “The Stallions”, where he had a respectable 16 points. This week would see a slightly improved Dru. I always remind Dru that the record for three pointers made in a game was 11 by Prince Carino. Why? The main reason is that it seems to energize him, especially when he starts slow. As the pot began to simmer for Dru, his teammate Jack Ho took charge of the game. Jack’s dribbling talents would be on display, as he would do his best “Kyrie Irving” impersonation low handling the ball in and out of thick traffic.
The Agaveros were much like their last few games; totally out of rhythm! The combination of the fast paced YM defense, and just plain not having any momentum would have them down early. Dru Creightney would find his shooting stroke, and knock down 8 three pointers! Only 3 off tying the record, Dru would be joined closely by his teammate Jack who hit on 6 three pointers.
The game was never close, and Agaveros would have their biggest loss of the season……to date.
The Party – Chris “Zebo” Loreth 26, Niko Mottus 15
Sonic Boom – Gabe Gibbs 22, Davor Islc 18, Max Barkeley 13,
ZEBO IS BACK!!!!
Ryan Shams is the longest active member of The Party (formerly The Lemon Party) told me for several seasons that the Party was going to evolve. Through the last 4-5 seasons, we have witnessed the evolution of the Party as they close in on consistently making the playoffs. One of the biggest acquisitions was the pick up of Chris “ZEBO” Loreth! Chris established himself as one of the most formidable big men in the league, and puts constant pressure on the opposing defenses. With Chris inside, Ryan is able to knock down more wide open 3 pointers. The Party has been leading up to this point in the season, as they look to not only make the playoffs but make a splash in them too! Sonic Boom finally loaded up their team with ball players, and looked to be able to outlast other teams down the stretch of games with that added depth. This game would see them only have 6 out 15 players in this game, and it would be a detriment to them In this game.
The first half was a feeling out session, with both teams methodically testing each others weaknesses. The matchup of Chris Loreth vs Gabe Gibbs was not the full contact matchup It could have been, due to the cross matching and helpside defense that both players played in this game. Halftime would come quick, with both teams tied at 31.
The second half would favor The Party to start, with some leaks being exploited in the Sonic Boom defense. Just past the mid-way point of the 2nd half, Sonic Boom would continue to attack inside with Gabe Gibbs and Davor Isic. Max Barkeley would continue to attack the Party’s defense, and would help turn the tide near the end of the game. Sonic Boom would hold a 5 point lead late in the half, but was called for an offensive foul that would give The Party much needed momentum. In what was the last play of the game, The Party had a chance to tie the game with a three pointer. The first attempt was a back rimmed shot that caromed over a sea of hands. Chris would get control of the long rebound, take one dribble past the three point line, and launch a rainbow three…..That hit all net! OVERTIME!!!
In the 2nd OT game of the night, The Party would take advantage of some missed opportunities by Sonic Boom, and go on to win one of the best games of the season! The legend of “ZEBO”…..continues!
Stallions – Jit Locham 17, Mark Halfnights 14, Prince Carino 11
Ball So Hard – Gene Wolff and Alan Hogan 11 each, Eric Kung 10
This game was marked on the calendar from day one! I don’t know if this was an accident or done on purpose, but both teams have eyed this game from the start. Ball So Hard finally broke through to win their first Vancouver Metro League title last season, and has looked good despite having a few key players missing this season. The Stallions are notorious for seeking out “Past Champions”, and going “Ham” on them.
The players were all in place and ready for action! The game was not the scoring explosion I expected, but it was definitely a track meet! Both teams took turns attacking each other, and despite the missed shots and opportunities, it was definitely a Chess Match! There were a few matchups that were even, and almost stalemates throughout the game. Adi Baybay vs Darryl Lardizabal was a low key, but intriguing matchup. Darryl is the designated defender for the Stallions when it comes to quick guards, and Adi was one of the quickest in the league. They raced up and down the court like it was “The Flash vs “The Anti-Flash” (DC COMICS reference), both on each other’s hip the entire game. Adi was held off of the three point sheet, while Darryl was able to knock down a few from the outside. Devon Carney vs Roger Sheung was another great matchup. Two Dynamic guards who love to slash, and shoot pull up jumpers. Devon would edge Roger in scoring, while Roger edged Devon in assists. They both were a wash in the rebounding category. The front court of Jit Locham and Mark Halfnights vs Brandon Hoyem and Alan Hogan was an entertaining watch for sure! While the Stallions frontline would have the scoring advantage 31-13, but BSH’s frontline would edge them in rebounds with the block shot edge going back to the Stallions (Jit Locham 4 – Alan Hogan 2). Each block Alan Hogan had….you heard about it.
Even in a tight game, the edge favored The Stallions with their rebounding, and experience in close games. The Stallions would go on to win, but BSH held them to their lowest scoring total this season.
Talisman – Brian Tang 27, Sylvester Appiah 14, Dejan Stanic 9
TTP – Matthew Jackie 13, Jeff Chan 14, Dan Maczko and Matthew Anza 12 each
The battle of Youth vs Youth was on display in this game. TTP is much improved this season, and you can see that in their on court performance and presence. Talisman has shown that they have dynamic scorers on their team, and are not a “One Trick Pony”.
The Matthews (Anza and Jackie) along with Dan Maczko and Jeff “Turncoat” Chan would lead the charge against Taliman combining for 50 of TTP’s 60 points. They did a good job of hitting open shots to keep the paint open for the occasional layup opportunity. Talisman would have too many weapons for TTP led by Brian Tang’s game high 27. The slashing and quickness of Sylvester Appiah and Dejan Stanic, kept TTP off balanced for most of the game.
TTP would lose a tight one here, but they are still in good shape to make the playoffs.