In an absolutely spectacular semifinal game, with the winner heading fror a championship match-up with the powerhouse Hawgs squad, Deadly Venoms outlasted STH to win, 77-75, in overtime. What started off as a mano-a-mano battle between Sama Taku of the Venoms and Mark Simmons of STH soon became so much more. The Venom attack soon expanded to include the outside shooting of Andres Ferreiro and the inside work of L.J. Turner. Meanwhile, STH added the three-point shooting of Jimmy Dominguez and the stellar all-around play of Saul Mancinas.
The Venoms held a 38-34 lead at the half and expanded the lead to double digits early in the second half, but STH refused to fold. With less than a minute left in the game, the Venoms held a four-point lead. Mancinas hit a ridiculous twisting, fall-away three-pointer from the deep corner to cut the lead to one. After Taku hit two clutch free throws, Simmons hit a long three just before the buzzer to send the game into overtime. Both teams held the lead in the overtime. With the Venoms up two and the clock winding down, Simmons took an extra-long three that was right on line but hit the front rim and bounced away as time expired. The Venoms will take on The Hawgs, who pounded Cool Arrows in the other semi.
In other games:
Franchise 95, Wet Bandits 91 - This was another crazy-good game. The Bandits were playing without the league's leading three-point shooter, Bruno Lopez, who was at Disneyland (lame). At the same time, Franchise was without one of its stars, Christian Hernandez. Neither team seemed to be hurting all that much. Both teams had plenty of firepower (and a bare minimum of defense). We have a tradition of not keeping stats during the playoffs; things are frantic enough. The only downside of that is that when there is some kind of wild performance during the playoffs, we have to estimate what went on. Let's just say that, by best estimates, the Wet Bandits hit AT LEAST 20 three-pointers and Dominic Banks scored somewhere in the range of 45 points for Franchise. The Bandits led for 35 minutes and 40 seconds of the 36-minute game and, for quite a while, they led by double digits. Every time Franchise made a run, either Johnny Rivera or Cristian Anaya would hit a three to keep the Bandits on top. Banks finally converted a conventional three-point play to give Franchise a two-point lead. He then made a steal to seal the deal.
Hickory 38, Barrio Benchmen 30 - The Benchmen put up a valiant fight, trailing by onl one at the half and briefly taking the lead in the second half. Matt Haverty and Matthew Luck played really well for the Benchmen, but it was eventually the overall game by Hickory's David Chan that determined the outcome. They will face Frosty Hesson, who held off HMB, in the finals.
Icy Hots 61, BOS 57 (OT) - Yet another game that required extra time to determine a winner. Both teams shot lights out from long range, but it was at the free-throw line that Icy Hots finally put the game away.
Hey Arnold! 62, Just a Game 59 (OT) - Are you noticing a trend here? Close games abounded. Arnold Enos and Drew Harris hit big shots in the extra period to held hold off Just a Game.
Also: Lights Out 65, The Process 42; Folks Wanna' Pop Off 62, Ninety-Six 57; The Regulators 47, The Good Fight 42; Game Time 68, Nike 57; Sunshine Boys 56, Zona 39; Gotem 76, Black Mambas 43; Flashback 70, Blue Coconuts 46; DTC 64, More Jumpers 53; The Show 51, Elite 45
The championship games will be held this Sunday. The next season will begin May 6th. Please let us know (by email) whether you have a new team that would like to join the league. Thanks.