One of the premiere big men in the 35-year history of the Tucson Basketball League, Zach Jones led his Blue Coconuts team to a tight 66-59 win over The Heat. Jones poured in 30 points and added 10 rebounds. Magic Galindo had 19 points for The Heat.
With so many new teams, it's difficult, if not impossible, to see to it that every match-up will be competitive. This past week, more than 70 percent of the games were quite competitive, but six games were blowouts. Now that we've seen all of the new teams (and the new lineups for some of the returning teams), we should be able to cut down on the blowouts. Last season (Fall 2022), we had days where more than half of the day's games had final margins of three points or less. That's ridiculously hard to do, but we should be able to tighten up the scores as we go along.
Speaking of going along, we have had a challenging start to the new season, the challenge being finding enough court hours to get in as many games as possible. During the Summer and Fall, we pretty much have the run of the facility on Sundays. There is no club volleyball and only the occasional outside event (i.e. youth tournament). The problem is that the bulk of the club volleyball "season" corresponds with the Winter League season of the TBL, which is generally the most popular because it's in the middle of the college and NBA seasons. Twice in the past two weeks, we have had court/hours that we had been counting on taken away at the last minute due to other obligations for the venue. The head guy, the other Tom, is a good guy and he has a tough job. We're working on getting the most possible court/hours for the League. It is of paramount importance that we provide an enjoyable experience to all of our members.
In other games:
--Fleet 59, Slime Time 51 - David "Guero" Paredes poured in 21 points and dished out several assists to lead Fleet to victory. Alex Lemar had 23 points and Khalid Whitaker had a double-double (10 and 11) for Slime Time.
--Rainbow Drillers 45, Dream Team 42 - The Drillers got 20 points and 10 rebounds from Mitch Banks in a game that went right down to the wire.
--Balls 56, Dawgs 50 - Balls, who have a team name that will never appear on this page, held a slim three-point lead at the half and hung on for the win. I would have urged them to adopt a different team name, but they had already bought the new jerseys, so what are you gonna' do? Sometimes men will be boys.
--Basketball Junkies 65, Mustangs #1 54 - We have two teams from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. There's Mustangs#1 and...I can't remember the other one. Anyway, we threw Mustangs #1 in the deep end, pitting them against last season's top division champions. The Junkies jumped out to a 23-7 lead and it looked like the rout was on. Instead, the Mustangs rallied and made it a one-point game at the half. The Junkies rode the boards in the second half and pulled away for the win. Oh yeah, the other team is Mustangs #2.
--Toon Squad 75, Fade Em Up 73 - We started the day off with a rousing, back-and-forth contest. Fade Em Up held a slim two-point lead at the half behind the scoring and rebounding of Daniel Fajardo (28 and 9). Damu Musgrove, last season's top scorer in the league, had 33 to lift Toon Squad to the win.
After giving that impassioned talk about how we want to get in as many games as possible, I feel compelled to mention that we play a shortened schedule on Super Bowl Sunday. We generally start our last game at 2:00 so people can get home (or go wherever) to watch the game. Some teams really want to play on that day, perchance to eat more wings later. Others would rather take the entire day off...perchance to eat more wings later. If you have a preference, please let me know.