Wednesday , Jul , 19 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

EBC Day Seventeen: Black Wall Street vs. Hot 97

If there’s anything that suggests how difficult it must be to play in near-triple-figure temperatures, it’s that the water and Gatorade supplies for this evening’s games are brought to the benches in a shopping cart. Even my half-block walk from the subway station is enough to have me sweating like a pig in a sauna, and the climb up the bleachers nearly does for me. Granted, these men are athletes, but unless they’ve been running wind sprints in the oven, they’re not going to be prepared for the conditions in the park tonight.
Still, the game goes on despite the risk of heatstroke to both ballers and sportswriters alike, and the players do surprisingly well under the circumstances. It’s the usual suspects that get it going early, with Junie “GE” Sanders opening Black Wall Street’s scoring account with a big-man board and layup, and Hot 97’s Toby (known in here as “Kunta Kinte”) responding with a pair of contested step-back jumpers.

EBC Day Seventeen: Black Wall Street vs. Hot 97As has become customary for them, defending champs BWS start off slowly, even falling behind momentarily following a couple of Toby free throws seven minutes in. They quickly correct the deficit, though, punishing Hot 97 in the post with four straight buckets that give them a 19-10 lead mere minutes after they had trailed.

Another shift in momentum takes place shortly thereafter as “Kenya” begins to assert himself inside, with a triple from teammate Kyle bringing Hot 97 within three at 27-24. “Crabby” puts an end to their run before they can snatch the game back, however, going on a personal eight-point tear before drawing a double-team and dishing off to “JJ” for a 44-32 lead at the half.

A make from long distance by Crabby briefly after the break stretches the BWS advantage out to fifteen, who respond to a six-point run by Hot 97 with one of their own to make it 57-42 with thirteen minutes remaining. More rugged play inside by the Wall Street big men pushes the score into blow-out territory with eight minutes remaining, and from there on out it’s game of lazy shooting and clock-killing.

A late burst by Hot 97 which includes a spectacular reverse alley-oop dunk by Toby makes the final result a little more respectable, although it still stands 83-63 in Black Wall Street’s favour when the game is called with nearly a minute left on the clock.