Crossover Basketball League (SE3)
@ SUTD sports complex
Entourage Basketball Inc. vs Red Leon: 71 – 30
An eight-man E.B.I. Weekend-team, missing two of their top-3 scorers, had every reason to be apprehensive going into the first round of the Crossover League (SE3) playoffs. Then they scored 12 straight points to start the game while holding their opponents scoreless.
It’s the playoffs, first round: quarterfinals.
Your league-leading rebounder and second best scorer is unavailable.
The slashing, scoring, bruiser of a Point Guard is abroad.
Even the third highest point-getter on the team cannot make the game: what to do?
In the case of Entourage Basketball Inc’s weekend squad: prove without a shadow of a doubt that your teamwork can withstand nearly any oncourt challenge.
Red Leon had made a habit of keeping the previous two encounters close: in the first half. The height, experience and tactics of E.B.I. were then sufficient to pull away and win the regular season games in the last two quarters.
An undersized, undermanned team was in danger of being drawn into a dragging slog of a game, a situation where foul-trouble and mismatches could be deciding factors.
Going with a starting backcourt of Chi and Jerel and an unusual frontcourt of Ronnie and Javier with Alex manning the middle, the men-in-green got off to a blistering start, scoring in transition and dominating the boards.
An early missed open layup by Alex sent player-coach Dave into a rage, the topic of missed layups had been broached during warmup, which seemed to jolt the versatile forward into action: Alex was a force to be reckoned with from then on and led the team in points.
The strong halfcourt defense stifled any easy scoring opportunities for Red Leon, normally a jump-shooting, run ‘n gun team. E.B.I’s rebounding and alert help defense limited any offense the japanese squad tried to muster. Even as the second unit took the court, there was no change in game flow for the defending champions.
Playing out of position, Dave, Mike and Terence seamlessly inserted themselves into the match.
Mike especially had a fine quarterfinal showing. Known for his hustle and slashing finishes in transition, he showcased a polished low-post game, scoring over, around and on multiple defenders,
With a 42-15 halftime lead, the champs focused on improving execution in the second half, with mixed results. Team defense, something that had been in focus the last few practice sessions, remained effective but the offense was slightly disjointed, turnovers in the 2nd half increased.
The victory puts Entourage Basketball Inc in the Crossover League playoffs final-four, where a matchup against team Lights Out awaits this weekend.
Both regular season games (EntourageBBall wins) were close in the first half, Lights Out has a strong group of young guards and some size to counter E.B.I’s strengths.
A practice session already behind them, the defending champs are eager to continue their march towards a possible second consecutive League Finals and what seems to be an inevitable showdown against last season’s finalists: Yong Seng.
Next: Playoff Semifinals @ SUTD
E.B.I. vs Lights Out, Saturday May 20th, 1.30 pm