EBC Day Thirteen: Team Certified vs. Black Wall Street
As a rule of thumb, the number of television cameras in the park usually correlates to the quality of the games. The fact that BET, MTV and MSG (in addition to the regulars) have all shown up with crews means that we should expect some quality hoops this evening.
Though the increased media presence is likely due to the D Block-Terror Squad nightcap, Tuesday’s Game One hardly looks to be a snoozer, with Black Wall Street showing why they’re the reigning champs with slick passing that pays off with four free throws and a transition dunk by “Sticks” in the opening two minutes. Team Certified stay in touch, however, with solid defence that keeps the points down, the score standing at only 9-7 at the thirteen-minute mark.
Black Wall Street’s “Crabby” takes control of the contest at this point, hitting two charity shots and a twisting layup around a technical free throw that help his team establish a seven-point lead midway through the half. Flashy swingman “Lights Out” soon has Certified back in the game, though, holding down the offence with strong drives to the bucket while teammate Marvin controls the defensive paint. Backup guard Lee comes alive with his squad trailing two, swishing one three and banking another on consecutive plays to give Certified their first lead of the evening. BWS are unable to reclaim the game from them before the break, and they go into the half trailing 32-27.
A slight altercation between Lights Out and “Speedy” Williams seems to fire up Team Certified more than their opponents, and they put together a string of defensive stops to build a 46-38 lead with a shade under nine minutes to go. Although everything seems to be going in their favour, an untimely technical foul by Marvin causes a shift in momentum which leads to a 14-6 Black Wall Street run, capped by a triple by Speedy that makes it a two-point game at 52-50.
Another long-range Speedy jumper and a fastbreak dunk by Rob give BWS their first lead in over fifteen minutes, and although Certified briefly snatch it back with more hard work and hustle, Crabby quickly ties things up with a pair of free throws with twenty-nine seconds on the clock. A miss from the charity stripe by Certified’s Eric sets the stage for the game’s deciding play, a BWS drive-and-dish that finds Speedy all alone on the right wing for a trifecta that puts his team up two with six seconds to go in the game. Certified’s final attempt – a running forty-footer by Lee – looks to have a chance of dropping, but ultimately bricks off the side of the rim to allow Black Wall Street to remain undefeated since they first played at Rucker Park.