The schedule for Sunday is up. If your team is not listed, that means you will start on May 20th. (No games next week due to Mother's Day.) Thanks.
About midway through the first half of the A League championship game last Sunday, superstar Donte Williams looked up at the scoreboard and, noting a 28-20 Hawgs lead, muttered to himself, "Not enough. Not enough." He certainly had that right because by halftime, the Hawgs' opponent, Deadly Venoms, had taken a four-point lead. They were just getting started. The Venoms opened the second half with a barrage of threes from L.J. Turner and the four-point lead ballooned to 15.
Over the past 20-plus seasons dating back to around 2010, The One-Eyed Hawgs (as they are officially known) have won most, but certainly not all, of the top-league championships. There have been notable exceptions. Fleet, with Sam Okougbo and Jeff Clark, have won a few times. Jon Brogan put together a team that won a couple titles. One of our favorites was The Blazers, a team with several Islamic players. It so happened that the championship game fell during Ramadan, when followers cannot eat or drink anything (including water) between sun-up and sundown. The game was scheduled for 7:00 p.m., but we put it off until after the sun went down. The players guzzled some Gatorade and ate some granola bars and then went out and won the championship. It was cool.
This time, the Hawgs were in deep trouble. The Venoms were playing with their best player, Sama Taku, who was in Europe, trying out for a pro team. But they were more than holding their own and looked to be on their way to their first A-League title ever. But then The Hawgs mounted a comeback. Fred Sims and Jon Brogan (now on The Hawgs) bombed away from outside. Marcus Campbell rode the boards and Donte did Donte. They stormed back, tied the game with three minutes to go and then won going away, 90-81. It's semi-legendary.
In other games:
Sunshine Boys 71, The Regulators 50 - The Regulators got off to a strong start and held an eight-point lead midway through the first half. But then the Sunshine Boys--led by Anthony Fullylove, Joe Hamilton, and Ben Yates--took control of the boards and started running. Pat Phanthavong had several breakaway lay-ups as The Boys cruised to victory.
Hickory 53, Frosty Hesson 43 - Lonnie Lee and Will Lewis got Frosty Hesson off to a good start, but Hickory, led by David Chan, pulled even by halftime and then pulled away in the second half. Congratulations to Hickory's Bob Krygier, who won this season's free-throw crown. Krygier went the entire season without missing a free throw.
Gotem 71, The Show 53 - The Show got off to a good start behind the ball-handling of Mike Gallegos and the inside play of Myles Nicholson. But Gotem, led by the rebounding of Zeke Odina and the long-range shooting of Marcos Lopez, grabbed the lead and pulled away.
Game Time 53, DTC 43 - This was a tight battle throughout, with Zach Clark and Kyle Love grabbing big rebounds down the stretch to seal the win. Jeremiah Dibble, who got married the night before the game, hit a big three late in the game. We checked and yes, taking your bride of 24 hours to an adult-league game (even one for the championship) is grounds for annulment in several states.
Icy Hots 55, Folks Wanna Pop Off 45 - Sherard Robbins did his usual yeoman's duty on the boards and in the lane for Folks, but Icy Hots got clutch shooting from Mark Meredith and Danny Hunnicutt to grab the win.
Franchise 54, Flashback 46 - This game was for the second-level title and expectations were high. Flashback had beaten powerful Blue Coconuts to reach the finals. But they had no answer for Dominic Banks, who sliced and diced his way to the hoop pretty much whenever he felt like it. Jibran Toledo hit several big shots in the second half for the winners.
Hey Arnold! 70, Lights Out 66 - The last game of the day might well have been the best. Hey Arnold! played the entire game with the quintet of Drew Harris, Kenny Whetten, Johnny Morillo, Arnold Enos, and Jeff Juan, employing the trademark Native style of run and gun basketball. Lights Out stayed with them, step for step, and the game was tight throughout. Daryl Ball used his ridiculous jumping ability to block several Arnold! shots while Oscar Medina grabbed multiple rebounds in traffic. Harris and Enos each hit big threes in the final minutes to secure the win.
We are starting the Summer 2018 season this Sunday (schedule to be posted today). Please note that next Sunday, May 13th is Mother's Day and we NEVER play on Mother's Day. Those teams that don't play this week will start the season on May 20th. Thanks.