7:00: 2. Easy Money 95, 7. The Sizzle 79
The playoff opener was closer than many thought. Easy Money barely had four to begin the game and played most of the first half without a fifth player. The Sizzle played a strong game regardless of circumstance, but Easy Money are who they are and weren’t going to lose this game. Antonio Blackmon scored 22 off the bench for The Sizzle. The team shot just 30 percent (10-for-33) from three.
Player of the Game: Benny Valentine
Surprised, are you? Valentine led the team with 35 points, added 7 rebounds and made all six free throws. Brandon Barkley made all eight of his and the team shot a near perfect 17-of-18 from the charity stripe. Four players had seven or more rebounds, with Barkley, Kevin Emasiani and James Ramsey collecting eight each.
8:00: 3. Contract Killers 84, 6. The Soldiers 76
Everything that could go right for the Contract Killers went right, until it all went wrong. They jumped out 37-9 and led by 26 at the half. Cornelius Metili was dynamite from downtown, hitting all three attempts, but added two point in the second half for the wrong team. Then celebrated. Neil is definitely our JaVale McGee. This hiccup sparked a huge Soldiers run, but in the end they couldn’t cover the ground they gave up. Paul Starr got hot a little too late, ending up with 31 points, making a red hot 9-of-15 three balls.
Player of the Game: Joey Gladney
Gladney was a beast in this one, as he has been for several weeks now. He had 27 points and 18 rebounds (10 defensive, 8 offensive) and surrounded by the incredible shooting Metili, Bill Ioannides (5-of-7) from three and Johntel Franklin (4-of-6), the Killers went up big early and, after nearly epically blowing it, held on to advance.
9:00: 1. Getting Older 131, 8. Bucket Squad 79
The expected dud of the night was just that and Getting Older will play on as Bucket Squad’s season mercifully comes to a close. Deron Posey was great again for the Squad, with 32 points and hit half of his 16 three’s.
Player of the Game: Brian Gahan
Gahan scored 60. Did he? I may have dozed off. Somebody check Kim’s scorebook. Jeremiah Hopkins shot 19 shots, making 13. They were all three pointers. Do the math. 15 rebounds for Bryant Nash, 12 assists for Kenneth Cage and Gahan also had 13 rebounds.
10:00: 5. Tropics 90, 4. Giv3 N’ Go 80
After losing this very match-up a week ago, the Tropics used a well-rounded effort and became the only lower seed to win in round one. Neither team shot particularly well, especially from downtown, but it came down to who made the shots when it counted and that was the Tropics. In the season-ending loss, Giv3 N’ Go got 23 from Prince Benitez on seven made three’s in 13 attempts.
Player of the Game: Brandon Long
Both of the Tropics’ new players, Long and Brett Williams, stepped up big. Williams came off the bench to score 18 while Long was the game-high scorer at 29 points. He made five of six free throws. Adam Miller had 11 points, 14 rebounds and 5 assists.