Game 10: If you can’t beat ’em…

Crossover Basketball League (SE2)
Game 10, Sat. 05.11.16
SUTD sports complex

EntourageBBall Inc vs Average Joes: 85-69


What was supposed to be a celebration of persistency, team spirit and success, devolved into an emotionally loaded win, rife with ill intent and an unfathomable attack by Average Joe’s main scorer.

The premise
Coming off an undermanned but safe ninth straight win against team Blitzwolves, the EntourageBBall players showed up with a strong 10-man squad to face Average Joes for the tenth and final regular season game of Crossover League.
A month earlier, the Joes had proven themselves to be an aggressive opponent, keeping the score close until the fourth quarter. Some words were exchanged but the match progressed smoothly, ending with E.B.I’s 7th win.

The game begins
Racing off to a 10 -point lead early in the 1st quarter, EntourageBBall players looked sharp and ready to bring home the win. A tackle of a breakaway layup-attempting Evan by a Joe’s player was immediately assessed an unsportsmanlike foul: referees seemed ready for anything.

Whistle-happy times
By the second quarter, the Joes had all but erased E.B.I.’s early lead, mostly due to multiple questionable calls by the refs, rookies as it later turned out, had the momentum on their side. Match statistics only help illustrate this as the men in green attempted ten freethrows, compared to 34(!) by their opponents. This in a game where both teams aggresively attacked the paint.

He lost his damn mind
With the chippy play increasing and EntourageBBall players losing focus oncourt, appeals to the refs were rising fast, the Joe’s guard and leading scorer, Kian Hao, took a break in play to walk up behind newest E.B.I-guard, Jerel, who was standing at the center circle, and throw an elbow to the back of his unsuspecting victim’s head. The blow was hard enough to knock Jerel to the ground.

This shocking, cowardly sneak attack on a teammate proceeded to, excuse my french here, make the entire EntourageBBall bench lose.their.shit!
It took both referees, League organiser Shek Wong and Entourage Coach JJ (plus a few other players) to keep matters from totally getting out of hand.
The perpetrator was assessed a disqualifying foul after a lengthy break in play and deliberations between the overwhelmed referees and the table officials.

Long distance domination
With tempers flaring, the game resumed, the first half ending with E.B.I. holding a narrow lead.
That didn’t last long as the second half showcased some fantastic shooting by basically all E.B.I. players. Jerel (24 points, season high) did most of the damage, shooting 6-for-10 from the three-point line, while veterans Dave (12 pts, 2-2 from distance) and Evan (11 pts, 2-3) were equally devastating to the compact Zone defense the Joe’s played for 40 minutes.

Result and repercussions
With the result clear by the fourth quarter, some Joe’s players resorted to dirty play, in multiple cases even blatantly trying to injure EntourageBBall players mid-play. The disqualified player arrogantly strutted around, at one point standing behind the officials’ table and chatting with them mid-game, a clear violation of FIBA rules that E.B.I team manager, Dave, immediately took offense at, resulting in another exchange between both teams.

The dirty and dangerous play by their opponents notwithstanding, Entourage Basketball Inc accomplished their mission that day: an undefeated regular season. With the 10 – 0 record, the 2016 team follow in the footsteps of the Fall 2012 edition: that team finished 14 – 0 in the Jammers weekend league.

True to form, Crossover League management followed up on the incident, suspending the attacker for two games effective immediately. A partial quote of the statement sent to all team managers reads as follows:
“Here at Crossover, we strongly condemn any fighting. We do not condone actions with clear intentions to harm or injure other players. We really hope to build up a league where everyone can enjoy competitive, clean basketball.
We have decided to suspend Kian Hao of Average Joes for 2 games due to his ejection and actions.”

And on that note: bring on the playoffs.

Next game – Playoff quarterfinals
Entourage Basketball Inc vs Back to School

Saturday, November 19, 2 pm
SUTD Sports Complex