Tuesday , Jul , 11 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

EBC Day Twelve: Crusaders vs. J Records

The big story behind the scenes before Monday’s nightcap is the appearance of AND1 ballers Alimoe and The Pharmacist, both of whom look set to suit up for the game. While the latter starts on the bench, both are in uniform come the tip and, as is customary, the cell phones come out and the gaps in the stands are quickly filled.

Although Alimoe fails to make a good first impression when he turns the ball over on an awkward crossover move, J Records have no trouble finding the bucket, starting the contest with three layups and a put-back the give them an early lead. Alimoe’s first contributions of the evening – a twenty-foot pull-up and an assist – help them build on that, and they soon hit the twenty-point mark while Crusaders have only twelve in the box.

The man known as “PlayStation” helps recover the game, however, recording a steal that turns into an easy basket before finding an open teammate for a triple that makes it a three-point game. The next few minutes see the lead change hands on virtually every basket, with Crusaders matching J Records’ inside points with mid-range jumpers. Though the score is tied at 29 at the half, The Pharmacist puts his team ahead on highlights with a minute to go, crossing his defender back, forth and back again before throwing the ball between his legs and recovering it to draw a foul.

EBC Day Twelve: Crusaders vs. J Records

The early part of the second half is a similar story, as Crusaders jump out to a 40-34 lead with some more hot shooting before J Records’ “The Total Package” brings it back to 44-43 with his strong interior play. J Records up the tempo halfway through the period, breaking away for a pair of dunks that give them a 52-48 lead.
Alimoe makes use of his veteran smarts at this point to draw cheap fouls that send him to the line on consecutive plays, where he hits three free throws to make it a one-point game again. While The Pharmacist again seizes the limelight with a ridiculous head-fake and teardrop that has the crowd in fits, Alimoe continues to control the game, contributing an old-fashioned three-point play and a pair of free throws that counter the transition buckets that are keeping Crusaders alive.

It is luck, though, that ultimately decides this contest, with a few unfortunate bounces for Crusaders putting them down 66-61 after having held a 60-58 lead only two minutes previously. Although a late three gives them hope of making a comeback, Alimoe again steps up, calmly hitting a pair of free throws with a couple of seconds left that make the final score 68-64 in favour of J Records.