I've said before that the best adult-recreation league game is the one-point victory at the buzzer in overtime. Sunday started off in exactly that manner. The Tucson Honey Badgers jumped out to an early lead on Hickory and expanded it to 10 points late in the first half. It was a 12-point margin midway through the second half before Hickory started chipping away. Hickory finally tied the game at 45 on a nifty inside move by Bob Krieger. But then the Badgers scored six straight to go up 51-45. Hickory battled back to tie it again and the game went into overtime. The Badgers scratched out a two-point lead with 10 second left in the OT. Matt Swinford brought the ball up the court, gave it up, went into the corner and got it back with three seconds to go. He juked one defender, found an open spot and let fly a three-point attempt. Shooting at a very steep angle, the ball somehow kissed off the backboard and swished through as the buzzer sounded. It was the only time the entire day that Hickory held a lead.
In other games:
--Ninja Turtles 48, Ben Simmons' Jumper 47 - The Ninja Turtles made their debut in the Tucson Basketball League a successful one. They jumped out to a 27-19 lead at the half and then held on for the one-point win. Gabriel Cruz led the Turtles with 21 points.
--Dawgs 73, The Regulators 68 - This was one of the best games of the day. The Regulators held a 44-33 lead at the half behind the inside scoring of Joey Barraza. The Dawgs chipped away at the lead and finally tied the game at 66 with a minute to go, Some clutch free-throw shooting by Deonte Chistoman put the game away for The Dawgs.
--Scrap Attack 90, Jetpacks 71 - Scrap Attack held a slim 42-40 lead at the half but then opened things up in the second half. Ray Burtle had a monster game for Jetpacks, pouring in 41 points on eight three-pointers.
--No E-Z Buckets 66, MHP 58 - No E-Z Buckets (who used to be Bad Dream Team) trailed by one at the half, but came on strong in the second half for the win. Bo Reilly had a double-double for the winners, scoring 29 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
--Tucson Tigers 70, Lost Treasures 68 - Neither team had more than a six-point lead at any time in the game. The Treasures led 34-33 at the half and had a shot at the buzzer that would have sent the game into overtime. Ervin Felder had a double-double (23 and 10) for the winners.
--Smokin' 3s 59, Ball Boys 41 - What a turnaround! The Ball Boys led 28 -18 at the half and expanded their lead to 14 early in the second half. Then Smokin' 3s went on a 17-0 run to take the lead and then had a 12-0 run to put the game out of reach. Anthony Vogt had 20 points to lead Smokin'.
A quick note: We've had a couple games that got a little chippy. Rob and I can't ref every game, so there's a slight lack of uniformity to the officiating. You are not here to get a week's worth of frustration out of your system in one hour. You're here to play ball. Please know that I will kick a player out of a game and/or a team out of the league at the slightest hint of nonsense. You want to be a badass outside the context of real basketball, go play at the park. In 33 years, I have only kicked out four players and I've never kicked out a team, but don't think I won't. One time, we had a team with a couple players who were complaining about every call, telling me that the league sucked, and just basically whining. I pulled out some money equal to the entry fee, handed it to them and told them to take their sorry (backsides) on down the road. I told them that they could have their money back, but no one on the team would ever play in the league again. Their teammates told them to shut up, apologized for their outbursts and then ended up kicking them off the team. It worked out okay. You have to know that I will not jeopardize the vast number of teams who show up to play some ball just to coddle some knuckleheads. For the two or three of you (out of hundreds) who fit in that category, consider yourself warned.