Cyclones Ride Second Half 19-0 Run Into the Finals

December 12th, 2022

Midway through the second half of their The Fighter Division semifinal game, the Bench Bros were cruising, up 44-33, having led the entire game. Then, the Tucson Cyclones went absolutely nuts. Over the next six minutes, the Cyclones scored 19 straight points, turning an 11-point deficit into an eight-point lead. Everybody was hitting and the Bench Bros had a couple shots that had fallen in the first half just roll off the rim. It was crazy. Then, to their credit, the Bench Bros regrouped and put ion a run of their own. They clawed back to within one point, but that's where things ended, 65-64.

In another game that I reffed, I witnessed a phenomenon that is one of the most-frustrating things on all of basketball. In a Field of Dreams Division matchup, Sleeper Squad ran out to a nearly 20-point lead over Skoden in the first half. Skoden hung in and cut the margin down to single digits by halftime and got off to a good start in the second half. Pretty soon, it was a two-point game. But then I counted eight different times that Skoden had the ball and were trailing by one or two points, with the opportunity to tie the game or take the lead and they never did. Skoden would cut it to two, miss a lay-up and then give up a three. They would fall behind by eight, cut it to one and then miss a three. Over and over and over. We've all been in that situation where you expend all of your energy catching up and then just can't get over the hump. Sleeper Squad finally pulled away one last time and won, 70-60.

The Chariots of Fire Division is one of the most competitive in the entire League. Yesterday's two semifinal games were both classics. In the early game, Tucson Tigers got some unexpected three-pointers from Erv Felder to squeeze past Average Joes, 64-60. Then Da Wolves punched their ticket to the Finals with a nail-biting 56-55 win over Looney Goons. That is going to be a wild championship game.

In past seasons, an interesting trend has appeared. Often, the semifinal games are more competitive and exciting than the Finals. Obviously, it remains to be seen if that will be the case this season, but we did have some great semifinal matchups. Among them:

--After missing out last season, perennial powerhouse The Hawgs made it back to the Finals with a 70-67 win over Elite. Donte Williams led all scorers but then he had to go home and watch his beloved Miami Dolphins lose to the Chargers on Sunday Night Football.

--In two outstanding late games, Los Chivos outlasted Heat Check, 74-71, and The Suns beat Mad Middle-Aged Men, 63-58. In a bit of a surprise, AVM Bordertown Ballers (who come up from Nogales every week) got by Radcats, 55-43. The Radcats were unable to duplicate their torrid three-point shooting from the first round.

We will have all of the Division Championship games on Sunday. Then, we'll take Christmas and New Year's off and start the Winter 2023 season on January 8th. I'm pretty sure that I have a complete list of the new teams for next season, but if you don't hear from me in the next 10 days or so, please contact me. Thanks. Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah, Everybody. Or, if you're so disposed, Happy Kwanzaa or Festivus.