We pick things up in the fourth quarter of the PR Pride-Hoop Street game since that’s as soon as I could arrive given the unannounced subway service changes. Thanks again, MTA!
Hoop Street vs. Puerto Rican Pride
Bobbito’s back on the beach today, and his PR Pride team are up 64-61, evidently from beating up on their opponents inside and limiting their transition opportunities. After a pair of free throws stretch their lead to five, PRP really begin to assert themselves offensively, knocking down back-to-back triples around a Hoop Street layup to make it a 72-65 game.
Hoop Street soon manage to settle themselves, however, making a series of defensive stops that allow them to claw it back to three with seven minutes to go in the contest. Storrier continues his good work in the paint with an offensive board and tough layup, but PR Pride find the extra gear in the following minutes, breaking loose for a pair of easy layups that give them a little breathing room at this late stage.
Hoop Street shoot themselves in the foot when they concede an and-one and a pull-up jumper in the space of a minute that give PR Pride a ten-point lead at 84-74. While they catch a second wind late for a double-clutch layup and a put-back dunk in the final minute, it’s a case of too little, too late, and they go home 84-78 losers.
GNC All-Stars vs. Team Certified
It’s a slow start to Saturday’s Game Two, with the two teams combining for six turnovers and as many misses in the opening minutes, the score staying at 0-0 until the 8:29 mark, when GNC find the bucket on a slick drive-and-dish play. Certified answer right back with an alley-oop, but the sloppy play continues, with the tenth turnover of the game coming at the 7:48 mark. The score stands at 6-5 three minutes later, although the play picks up at this point, with both sides making mini-runs that see the lead change hands four times before the first-quarter break, at which point GNC hold a 19-14 lead.
GNC keep up the pressure in the second quarter, with slasher Doomsday penetrating Certified’s perimeter defence four times for three layups and a dime that stretch their lead to 27-20. J-Rich of Team Certified responds with buckets of his own, finding the net on consecutive jumpers and a fastbreak layup that bring them within a point. They concede two easy baskets just before the half, however, and the buzzer sounds with Certified down 35-30.
The third quarter is much more of a back-and-forth affair than the game of runs it has been previously, and even Team Certified’s full-court press is unable to create any space between them and their opponents. Doomsday’s continued attacks on the goal are equalled by Certified’s sharp shooting at the other end, and the outcome is a game tied at 41 with five minutes left in the half. From now until the break, however, everything goes against Certified as they find themselves unable to contain GNC’s big men in the paint. Mr. Jenkins takes the game outside with a triple just before the buzzer, and his team end the third up 55-46.
GNC stick with the plan to start the fourth, working the ball into the key for layups and short hooks that keep them in control even as Certified make their way to the line for a quartet of free throws that draw them within striking distance with nine minutes and change left in the game. They revert to full-court pressure again, knuckling down on defence and converting GNC’s turnovers into easy layups that give them their first lead in a while at 67-66. Certified’s Rob Hines ensures that they stay ahead with a handful of a boards and a crucial bucket that makes it 76-71 with ninety seconds left, at which time his team begins to kill the clock. The usual intentional foulfest ensues, but little change is made to the outcome, Certified holding on for an 86-78 victory.