As I have mentioned before, people occasionally ask me why, after more than a quarter-century of running the Tucson Basketball League (and making no money on it), I continue to do so. Well, the answer to that question, in large part, can be found on days like this past Sunday. It was an incredible day in the gym with multiple buzzer-beaters and a couple pivotal four-point plays.
The day started off with a tough match-up between perennial playoff powerhouses Sunshine Boys and Sour Patch Kids. Sunshine jumped out to an early lead, but the Kids took a four-point lead at halftime thanks to four three-pointers by Ashraf Alfatesh. The game remained tight until Kyle Evans hit an off-balance three and was fouled. That gave the Sour Patch Kids a lead they would not relinquish en route to a 69-57 win.
Hickory got 33 points from Guillermo Bay in a 65-44 win over Frosty Hesson. Tune Squad got a great start to the season with a 42-30 win over Technicians. Heroes used a late surge to squeeze past Hawgs, 69-64. Donte Williams had 34 points in the loss.
Showtime edged More Jumpers, 61-60 on a last-second tip-in by Jason Spector. Flying Squirrels got a combined 35 points from Tod Smith and Gabe Secrest in a 55-40 win over Deadly Venoms. The Dawgs put up a magnificent fight against Hey Arnold!, but fell just short, 58-56. Arnold was led by...Arnold (Enos), who had 16 points on a dizzying assortment of threes and twisting drives to the hoop.
Icy Hots held off FndF in a low-scoring affair, 40-35. In one of the highlight games of the night (and perhaps the season), Scrap Attack stunned Outlawz with a last-second three-and-one by Meelow Martinez. Then, Illuminati and Benchwarmers went right down to the buzzer, with Illuminati pulling out a nail-biting 66-65 win.
In the last game of the night, last season's top scorer, L.J. Turner, picked up where he left off, pouring in 37 points, including six threes. However, the Nogales-based Trees held the lead throughout the game. The Trees had a 12-point lead at halftime, but We Dem Boyz chipped away and finally tied the scored with two minutes left in the game. Dem Boys surged to a five-point lead with 30 seconds left before Trees battled back. A conventional three-point play cut the lead to two. A late steal then gave the Trees the ball at halfcourt with two seconds left. They inbounded the ball to Armando Cardenas, who took one dribble and fired a 26-footer that swished through at the buzzer for a 63-62 win.
Not every day can have that many close games, no matter how well I schedule, but , Man, that was fun. Believe it or not (please believe it). I still have two new teams to watch before I make the schedule for the entire season. I have to see the teams play before I know which division to place them in. (In the past, I've taken a team's word for it as to their competitive ability and the results have often been disastrous.) After I see these last two teams play, I'll make the schedule. Also, the stats will appear after most of the teams have played at least two games.
My stat guru (and daughter), Darlene, will be in Detroit this weekend in the USA Volleyball National Championships. She's the setter and her outside hitter is Susan Koch, wife of Illuminati's Randy Koch. They won a national title a few years back and hope to win a second this coming weekend.