What a day! Twelve championship games, three overtimes, two others decided by two points, three others decided by three points. Even with one semi-blowout, the average margin of victory for all 12 games was only seven points.
--The 1924s 45, YSL 38 - With under four minute to go, YSL held an eight-point lead. Then the roof caved in. The 1924s scored the final 15 points of the game for a spirited come-from-behind win in The Hustler Division.
--Blue Coconuts 52, i National Championship Drive 46 - Behind the strong inside play of Zach Jones, the Coconuts built a double-digit lead in the first half and still led by nine at halftime. Adam Gonzales heated up from outside and 1 National stormed back to tie the game late. Paul Choi hit a three from the wing to put the Coconuts up late and they held on to win The Fighter Division title.
--The Regulators 65, Wolves 62 - This was a wild back-and-forth game for the Field of Dreams Division championship. The Wolves led by one at the half and there were 13 lead changes in the second half.
--SGO Crusaders 37, Hickory 29 - One of the day's bigger upsets saw SGO jump out to a 24-8 halftime lead and then hold off a late Hickory charge. Longtime league stalwart Bob Krieger said that it might well have been his Hickory team's worst shooting game EVER! SGO wins the Ford v. Ferrari Division title.
--Basketball Junkies 71, The Vets 59 - The Junkies jumped out to a quick lead and led, 32-24 at the half. Behind some good outside shooting and control of the boards, they built a 20-point lead before The Vets made a late run. They win the Breaking Away Division title.
--Redmen 62, Early Birds 59 - Behind the outside shooting of the apparently ageless Roland Ramon, the Redmen won a close one for The Champ Division crown.
--Washed 71, Bench Bros 69 - Oh, the humanity! The Bench Bros held a slim two point lead at the half and the game seesawed throughout the second half and then into overtime. It was the classic battle between young guys (Bench Bros) and...more-experienced guys (Washed). Washed squeezed out a two-point lead with seconds remaining. Bench Bros inbounded the ball, took a three and drained it, but it was clearly released after the buzzer and Washed got the Jerry McGuire Division championship.
--Heat Check 62, That One Team 58 - An incredibly hectic game closed out the day's championships. The two teams battled back and forth all night, with neither team taking more than a six-point lead at any time. With less than three minutes to go, That One Team grabbed a five-point lead after a driving layup by Ashraf Alfatesh, but Heat Check quickly tied it. Fred Cox hit a big three for That One, but Khalid Whitaker answered with a three for Heat Check. After Heat grabbed a two-point lead, That One Team had a furious sequence when they took several shots, grabbed several offensive rebounds, but eventually came away empty. Two free throws sealed the Moneyball Division championship for Heat Check.
--Relentless 62, So Rez 36 - The only non-close game of the day saw Relentless jump out to a 32-11 halftime lead and cruise to the Raging Bull Division title.
--Fleet 69, Team Lace-Up 64 - There's some gray in their beards, but golf on their fingers as the veteran squad of Fleet overcame a nine-point halftime deficit and pulled out a five-point win for the Million Dollar Baby Division championship.
--Dawgs 42, The Expendables 40 - Pretty much the story of the day. Tied at halftime, an eventual two-point win. Whoever schedules these things must be a GENIUS!! The Dawgs grab The Blind Side Division title.
--Splash Pad 57, Average Joes 53 - Okay, stay with me. Sometimes running a league requires tough decisions. Rob, a successful businessman in real life, is great at making decisions. I...am Tom. After the first round of the playoffs, I made the decision to move Splash Pad from the Breaking Away Division into the Chariots of Fire Division. I felt that there was a team in the latter Division that needed to be moved to the former. It's something we do from time to time. Plus, the difference between teams in those two Divisions is miniscule (as witnessed by Splash Pad's single-digit win over The Suns in the semis and the four-point win in the finals). However, when I made the switch Splash Pad Captain Dylan Johnson cried foul, which, if you ask him, is something he has never committed in an actual game. I struck a deal with him that if his team won the Chariots of Fire Division championship, which they ultimately did, I would match them against the Breaking Away Division champs (Basketball Junkies) in their first of the Fall 2022 season. They will meet September 11th.
The next season (Fall 2022) begins this coming Sunday, September 4th. All of the teams that played in yesterday's championship games will begin play on September 11th. The regular season will run straight through (no Mother's Day or Easter or anything else to take off), with play ending on November 20th. We will then take the Sunday after Thanksgiving off. Years of experience have taught me that too many people are either traveling or hosting family from out of town. It's just Forfeit City. The playoffs will be held December 4, 11, and 18.