As Winter comes to a close, and for some reason it’s getting colder, the Winter season of Ultimate Hoops Basketball in Plano is winding down. Last Thursday the playoffs got going. 

Getting Older received a bye after finishing the regular season a perfect 8-0 and the Bucket Squad did not qualify with an opposite record of 0-8. Let’s jump into what round one offered. 

2. Poetry in Motion (7-2) vs. 8. The Direwolves (2-7) 
Well, this one went about as expected. With all due respect to The Direwolves, this was not a winnable game for two main reasons. Talent and Poetry in Motion on top of having a lot of it, has had a great season with one of the newer groups of players forming an up and coming Ultimate Hoops Plano threat. 

With 60 and 62 points in each half, PiM ran away with this one early and never looked back. Bobby Driver had a game-high 34 points on an incredible 16-21 shooting. Martin Salinas also had 30+ points, pouring in 32 of his own. Three other players scored in double figures as the team shot 60% in route to victory. 

Matthew Minich had 31 for The Direwolves. 
Final: Poetry in Motion 122, The Direwolves 88

3. Splash Brothers (7-2) vs. 9. Young Gunners (1-8) 
The Splash Brothers had a great season. 7-2 is nothing to throw shade on, but the thing that the media worries about with this team is team chemistry. Do they have it? Absolutely, but we’ve seen the glue come undone too many times before. Thursday night however, they were on their game. 

A 1-8 record doesn’t respect the talent the Young Gunners have. But they are still 1-8 and need to find a way to start winning games eventually. Could it be in grand playoff fashion? 

The biggest difference with the Splash Brothers, at least in my opinion, is the development of Antonio Moseley into one of the league’s elite scorers and the addition of point guard BJ Jones. Both have elevated a talented group into a threatful team. 

All five Young Gunners starters scored double figures in defeat, led by “Wild Bill” Ioannides who had 20. 
Final: Splash Brothers 93, Young Gunners 79

5. Tropics (5-4) vs. 6. Basketball 101 (4-5) 
This game had a lot of intrigue. Seeing each other as recently as last week (where the Tropics won 93-72) this immediate rematch took place with stakes almost as high as the seeding stakes from the week prior. Now it was win or go home. 

Jimmie Jones is kind of ridiculous. 27 and 13, ho hum, for the former Plano West Wolf and Houston Cougar star. But the real story of the game was a throwback performance from Chris Moore. 

Moore was absolutely amazing and I’m pretty sure he didn’t miss a shot in the second half. He put up 31 points on 13-20 shooting and 5-10 from the three point line. Speaking of… 

This game was competitive until Moore took over midway through the second half but there was another big factor. Basketball 101 shot a miserable 4-25 from downtown, including just 1-7 from the sharpshooting Mike Malat look-a-like Prince Benitez. 
Final: Tropics 89, Basketball 101 66

4. The Soldiers (6-3) vs. 7. Torch (4-5) 
The game of the night right here. The defending champion Soldiers had a rocky season following their long awaited Championship win in the Fall. Their opponent, the Torch, didn’t have the season they intended either. Both teams are far better than the records they put together, and this game showed that they are both capable of making serious playoff noise. Of course only one could advance. 

The game was tied at 60 when that buzzer sounded, so Overtime was needed to determine a winner in a heavyweight bout. 

The talented 1-2 punch from the Torch, Kreston Martin and Brandon Barkley, combined for 51 points. That’s 74 percent of the team’s scoring! Safe to say a third option would be welcome. 

Even though scoring only came from two sources, the Torch always play great defense and The Soldiers had trouble getting into any rhythm until some clutch shots in OT were all they needed to prevail. 
Ike Akotaobi had 19 and Paul Starr 18 as The Soldiers own 1-2 punch came up big when it counted most and the defending champions will play on. 
Final: The Soldiers 70, Torch 69

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