Friday , Jul , 14 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

EBC Day Fifteen: Crusaders vs. H3

The opening minutes see A-Butta steal the show with his usual array of crossovers, head-fakes and circus layups, but H3’s apparent inability to play defence allow Crusaders to tie it up at 9-9 with a pair of free throws. Back-to-back pull-up jumpers by The Pharmacist briefly give them the lead, but the ease with which H3 get to the basket in halfcourt sets means that their slow-down tactics allow them to stay a couple of points ahead for the next few minutes.

The emergence of “J-High” and “Antifreeze” looks as if it’ll signal the moment at which H3 grab the game for themselves, but it merely negates the multiple misses by their teammates. Crusaders regain their composure following a timeout with ninety seconds left in the half, taking two trips to the charity stripe around a fastbreak layup to once again go up, although H3 quickly respond with a board and putback that gives them a 24-23 lead at the half.

EBC Day Fifteen: Crusaders vs. H3

A-Butta and Antifreeze again take centre stage at the start of the second, but, as before, Crusaders capitalise on H3’s porous defence to sneak back into the game with a string of uncontested mid-range jumpers. H3 find themselves in even hotter water when “PlayStation” comes alive, dancing into the paint time and time again for a series of teardrops and dimes that level the playing field at 40-40 midway through the period.
H3 give up more long bombs in the final five minutes, but manage to keep their heads above water with old-fashioned hard work, swingman “Africa” setting the tone with his relentless hustle on the glass. With twenty-one ticks remaining, A-Butta puts his team in the driving seat by icing two from the stripe to make it 53-52, while Crusaders clank a pair when put in the same position mere seconds later. 
A-Butta makes his way to the line for the second time in thirty seconds on the following play, hitting two more to give his team a three-point lead going into a timeout. Still in a position to send the game into overtime, Crusaders crumble under the pressure of the situation, turning the ball over with fifteen seconds to go and allowing Africa to break loose and catch a monster reverse alley-oop. 

When Crusaders throw the ensuing inbounds pass away, H3 put the game beyond doubt with a breakaway bucket that gives them a 57-52 advantage.  A meaningless reverse layup in the final second by Crusaders gives us a final score of 59-54, H3 barely escaping what would have been an embarrassing loss.