The First Annual Vancouver Metro League All-Star Game
The first annual Vancouver Metro All-Star event started with a 3-point competition. 16 participants arrived with hopes of taking away the winner take-all prize. 9 of those 16 players were current Metro League participants, not including the director of the league Doug Plumb. The first round would see two head-to-head 30 second shootouts to make it to the final four. Even with the tie-breakers decided, the final four had its own shootout between Bret Macdonald and Vito Chan of Metro Men (both tying with 11 made 3s in the first round). Macdonald would beat out Chan, but failed to make it to the final round. JJ Bath of Sofa King Good started the first round with 10, but only managed just 6 makes in the semis. In the finals, it would be Gene Wolf of SWAT versus an unaffiliated participant by the name of Jose Colorado. Wolf is a long time local legend, who has made a big-time comeback to prominence despite two old knees that have more age on them than Donald Trump’s hairstyle. Wolf hit 12 3-pointers in both the first round and final four, setting the early pace for the competition. Colorado came in as an unknown, but played for Quest College and is the newest member of the ABA Vancouver Balloholics basketball team. Colorado would top Wolf’s effort with 13 and 15 made 3s in the first round and final four, respectively.
The finals would be a nail biter to the end, as both players missed shots at the first part of the round, but both turned it on late. At the buzzer, the score was 13-12 for the winner Jose Colorado. An impressive feat, as Colorado won this competition in loafers, while wearing street clothes!
With that excitement out-of-the-way, it was now time for the main event to begin. The captains for the All-Star game would be Roger Sheung for the Black Team, and Joey Haywood for the White Team. Being one of the longest, if not the longest tenured Vancouver Metro player, Roger was granted the first pick.
After the teams were selected, the fans and spectators took a look at the lineups, and determined that the Black team would dominate the White team. The size across the board seemed to be obvious and overwhelming, and at the start of the game it looked like they were right. The Black team started out hot, jumping out to a quick 10-0 lead. Akeem Pierre helped the Black team off to the fast start with his energy and constant aggressiveness. Jit Locham joined Akeem in pushing the lead out for the Black Team. The White team couldn’t seem to buy a bucket. Uncharacteristic turnovers and missed shots had the White team reeling for most of the half. Slowly, the White team would force the action and get back in the game from the free throw line. This may have looked like watching “paint dry” to most of the spectators, but to me it was a genius move. It slowed the Black team’s transition game down, and had the White team putting up points at the same time. Before the Black team knew it, their lead had vanquished and the game was tied at 30 by halftime.
With the competitive fires stoked late in the first half, both teams came out swinging. Enter Wolf and Haywood. While Wolf was effective in spots in the first half, the second half would see him and Haywood take over the game. Wolf was hot from 3-point territory, knocking down the money balls, including a sideways twisting three with a defender draped all over him. Haywood would push the pace and knocked down a few wide open 3-pointers to push the lead out to 11 points past the midway point of the second half. The Black team would push back with a team effort to close the lead back to four, but in came Roopi Singh Clair. Roopi struggled with his leg conditioning, but would find a groove, and looked like Roopi of old. He would score 12 out of the next 14 points for Team White. Just when you thought the game was over, the Black team would make a late game push to cut the White teams lead down to 10, Kevin Rasmussen, Chan, and Locham would close the lead to two with 1.3 seconds left in the game. Haywood was narrowly caught for a foul to stop the clock, in hopes of a miss and a chance to tie or win the game on the next possession. Haywood knocked down two clutch free throws, which sealed the game for the White team, taking it 82-78.
Haywood went home with a fresh new pair of Nike kicks after being awarded the MVP, pouring in 34 points in the win.