EBC Day Seventeen: Pearl Harbor vs. Ms. Jones’ X-Men
Neither team has trouble finding the hoop at the start of this one, with Pearl Harbor’s “The Franchise” putting points on the board with as much ease as anyone, abusing his defender on the block for two layups and a trip to the stripe that keep his team in the game despite the X-Men’s strong offensive play. When Ms. Jones lose their touch midway through the first half, Franchise and Corey “The Pre-Graduate” Fisher seize the opportunity to pull ahead, combining for three points and three assists as part of a run that leaves Pearl Harbor ahead 18-10.
“The Maniac” keeps the engine ticking over with his energetic play following an early timeout, hustling his way to a handful of boards and steals that make up for Pearl Harbor’s current shooting woes. There’s only so much he can do on his own, though, and the X-Men go on a 14-2 run to which their opponents respond too late to take back the lead. Following two brief game delays due to eggs being thrown onto the court from the roof of the Polo Grounds, the teams trade quick baskets right before the halftime buzzer that result in a 35-35 scoreline.
A light shower during the break refreshes both sides, and the second half sees an all-round improvement in the mid- and long-range shooting. “High Five” of Pearl Harbor helps his team briefly pull ahead by four, but the squads are just too evenly matched for it to grow into a significant lead, and by the fourteen-minute mark things are all tied up.
The heat takes over again, however, and for the next eight minutes the park is witness to the slowest hoops of the season. Coupled with the muggy weather and the fact that the sound system has been packed away, I find myself briefly nodding off during a timeout at the five-minute mark. Fortunately, legendary coach Mousey wakes me before I can miss anything, jokingly asking if I’m finding the game boring.
Thankfully, the game’s final minutes give me reason to stay awake, with Ms. Jones scoring three uncontested buckets to build a five-point lead with less than a hundred ticks remaining. Teenage phenomenon Corey Fisher cuts it to three with a nifty fake and turnaround jumper with one minute on the clock, and when the X-Men come up fruitless on their next two attempts, it looks as if Pearl Harbor are in with a shot at forcing overtime.
Their hope is lessened, however, when they throw the ball into the stands on their next possession, although they quickly atone for the error by stealing the ensuing inbounds pass and drawing a quick foul. When Pete ices both charity shots and the X-Men brick the front end of a one-and-one, the stage is set for them to complete the comeback. Unfortunately, their final shot – a triple with four seconds to go – draws nothing but air, much to the displeasure of the fans. A hit and a miss from the stripe after a fast foul give Ms. Jones their final point of the game, making the end result 69-67 in their favour.
– CYE in NYC