Semifinal Action For The Ages!

December 11th, 2019

Having been at this for coming up on a third-of-a-century (!), I (Tom) and Rob (who's been at it for a fifth-of-a-century) have noticed some fascinating trends when it comes to the Tucson Basketball League. One of the more-interesting ones involves playoff basketball. For a variety of reasons, the first-round games are sometimes disappointing. There are some blowouts and, over the years, we've even had a few forfeits in first-round games. The championship games are dramatic, seeing as how the winners get cool T-shirts and all, but they're not always athletically and aesthetically artistic. Some turn out to be just grind-it-out affairs. However, for some reason, the semifinals are killer! We once had a semifinal game in which a team was down by one and they got off a soft floater shot right before the buzzer. The ball bounced around the rim softly and then came to rest on the heel of the rim as the horn sounded. Is that a sucko way to lose or what?!

We had 12 games the other day and came away with scores of 61-60, 62-61, 66-63, 56-52, and 60-58. Just absolutely spectacular action all day long. Among the highlights:

Scrap Attack 61, STH 60 - This game went down to the very last second. It was a game for the ages Veterans Mark Fresby of STH and Sean Roebuck of Scrap Attack traded big baskets down the stretch. Johnny Williams put Scrap ahead by one with a jumper in the lane. Saul Mancinas responded with a putback for STH. With the clock winding down, Roebuck hit a jumper from the elbow. STH hurried the ball downcourt but couldn't get a shot off before the buzzer. On December 22nd, Scrap Attack will face the winner of this week's semifinal game between Zona and Flashback.

Hey Arnold! 60, Geeks 58 (OT) - Behind the inside play of Norman Wolfchief (coolest name ever!) and Jeff Juan and the outside shooting of David Cordova and Arnold Enos, Hey Arnold! jumped out quickly and held a double-digit lead at halftime. But the Geeks came storming back on the ball-handling of Steve Solis and strong inside play from Cornell Littleton and Ramal Hairston. There was even this crazy moment when Marcos Lopez, who was sick as a dog with the flu, came off the bench and hit a long three the first time he touched the ball. The Geeks stormed back and took a six-point lead with under two minutes to play. They were then undone by shaky free-throw shooting. Arnold! chipped away at the lead before finally tying it up on a Wolfchief jumper in the land with two seconds to go. Arnold! scored first in the overtime and held on for the two-point win. They will play Lost Treasures, also on the 22nd.

The Show 62, Black Mambas 61 - It will take a while for the Black Mambas to get over this one. After trailing by one at the half, the mambas exploded out to a double-digit lead in the second half. They still led by eight with under two minutes to go before The Show stormed back to win by one in regulation. Because of scheduling limitations that always pop up at the venue this time of year, this was actually a first-round game. The Show will face Goober Gang in a semifinal tilt this Sunday, with the winner taking on Kareem Abdul JaBallers on the 22nd.

Fleet 60, Blue Coconuts 58 - Yet another game that went right down to the wire. Zach Jones led the Coconuts with solid inside play, while Jeff Clark and Sam Okougbo were raining threes for Fleet. After a putback by Mike Kidd gave Fleet a six-point lead with a minute left, they hung on for dear life and got the two-point win. 


As mentioned, this time of year is tricky at the venue. There's club volleyball going on and this Sunday they have one of those abominable youth tournaments. The venue was closed for a couple days around Thanksgiving, then last week, it closed early so that the staff could hold a holiday gathering. This week, we can't start until the evening because of the aforementioned youth tournament. So, our playoffs have been strung out over a period of weeks and we're still not done. This week, we have a couple championship games and some semis that couldn't be played last week because we couldn't have night games (plus the aforementioned Goober Gang-The Show contest). The Native guys who make up Hey Arnold! have some cultural thing this weekend and would have had to forfeit their championship game, so we moved that game to the 22nd.

And then there's this: Right after his Squad team beat LJ and Them in the A League semifinals, Josh Kollasch (a recent Player of the Week) came up to me with a sheepish grin on his face and asked if Squad's championship game with The Hawgs could be put off a week (to the 22nd). I said that I would consider it if he had a good excuse. He said that he was flying to Dallas to watch the Cowboys play. Now, since I think that the Cowboys suck the crud from between the toes of diseased yaks, I said no. He asked who my NFL team was. I said that, as an Arizonan, I root for the Cardinals, but since I was born and raised in L.A., I've also been a lifelong Rams fan, even when they moved to St. Louis. Suddenly, Josh remembered that the real reason that he was flying to Dallas was to watch the Rams kick the crap out of the Cowboys. Petition granted. Besides, I figured that The Hawgs, who won their semifinal matchup with New DM Team by 40, would appreciate a championship game against a Squad with a full roster.

Therefore, the games on the 22nd will include:

DadBods vs. Winner of Hickory/Bullets

The Ruffles vs. Winner of Pass The Ball to Chris/Just a Game

Kareem Abdul JaBallers vs. Winner of Goober Gang/The Show

Fleet - Talkin' 'Bout Practice

Hey Arnold! - Lost Treasures

Scrap Attack vs. Winner of Zona/Flashback

Hawgs vs. Squad

Thank you for another great season. If you're interested in joining the Tucson Basketball League, we're starting our Winter 2020 season on January 5th. Please contact me on the website.