2013 Chicago Men’s – OPENING ROUND PLAYOFFS: Hoops (Aug. 5)

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Updated: August 8, 2013

WOW.  Monday Night was something else.  Before we dive into that.. Here is a LINK to an extended Video Highlights full of Playoff moments.  Also, it’s time to unveil who you unveil who you voted on for the very first Chicago Men’s All @AllSportsSeries Team and League MVP!  Congratulations to: MVP  Ross Feldgreber**, Alex Dobkin & Matt Toth – Team Riskin (Jam ‘n Honey), Danny Goldin – Team Hadelman (Carriage Hill Kennels), Alex Rubin – Team Radist (Greater Than) & Eytan Azaria – Team Hakimian (Crescent Movers)

This is how this week’s Wrap-Up will work.. We’re going to go game by game in chronological order from the Opening Round Hoops Games through the Elite 8.  Okay enough of the open, let’s get to see who made the Final 4!

Opening Round Hoops (13 Teams Remain)

4. Team Horwitz (SLA Insurance) v. 13. Team Apuli (Factor75.com) – Team Horwitz wins 65-45

These two teams have known each other a loooooong time — and the initial rivalry stemmed from before All Sports Series was created.  However, this has now become the arena for these two squads to duke it out.  For the second time this Season Team Horwitz got the better end of this heated matchup and earned a spot in the Elite 8 because of it.  Team Horwitz was powered by the Captain also known as the Wizard — Jon Horwitz who had 23 and Jeff “bruno” Nault who put in 17 of his own.  For Team Apuli, they add another Playoff berth to their resume — which is no joke considering the deep field in 2013. I also want to mention Will “been front and center on allsportsseries.com for some time” Matthews who led the way for these guys with 21 on the night.  While they could not make the leap from their 2012 Final4 run there is plenty to build on for 2014.  Captain Justin “double duty” Apuli always has his guys ready to go and with a few more breaks (or a different schedule even) they could have had a higher seed and really made a run at the Crown this year.  That’s just the way it goes.  For Team Horwitz they await the winner of the #5 Team Hadelman v. #12 Team Glass game.

7. Team Kornblatt (Camp Ojibwa) v. 10. Team Merar (Sandusky Cabinets) – Team Merar wins 47-40

Really thought this year was different.  That this year they had elevated themselves and Hoops would not be the reason their season would end for the 4th consecutive year.  Sometimes you just need to come out with it and say it — I was wrong.  Team Kornblatt came into the Opening Round Hoops game with as much momentum as they have ever had in their 4 year existence.  They were riding high.  They had a comeback W in Softball against the Defending Champs.  They placed in the volleyball tourney. They even won a Hoops game.  This year was supposed to be different.. Well Team Merar had different plans.  In a rematch from the 2011 Elite 8 — Team Merar once again knocked Team Kornblatt out of the Playoffs.  This was a different Team Merar than we have seen in years past as they have been maligned with injuries and time conflicts all season long.  A team that for years had been at or near the top of the mountain — the 2011 Champions — but this year they just squeaked into the Playoffs.  However for that one hour on the court you never would have known what team came in with momentum and what team did not.  Team Kornblatt couldn’t buy a bucket.  They tried and that didn’t even work.  Danny “Thunder” Roseth led the way for the Mercars with 17 points.  For Team Kornblatt, Phil “beast” Weisberg had 12 in limited action.  Team Merar would go on to face #2 Team Maione later in the evening.  Team Kornblatt went home and got back on the drawing board.  Final thought on Team Kornblatt — the craziest part of their Playoff Ls the past few years is they have all the pieces anyone would need to win the whole thing.  For whatever reason in the 1st ten minutes of these Playoff Hoops games it’s as if they freeze and before they can shake out of it — it’s too late.   They are going to win one of these years — not a Playoff game — the whole thing… I just hope I am invited to the Celebration.

8. Team Riskin (Jam ‘n Honey) v. 9. Team Radist (Greater Than) – Team Radist wins 66-59

As was touched on last week — these two teams played in a true “slugfest” on the Hoops court just a few weeks ago.  And when the ball tipped it was as if we just continued right where we left off.  These teams made each other earn every single bucket.  When it was all said and done Team Radist closed out Team Riskin in a tight game for the 2nd time in about 3 weeks.  Team Radist got an incredible effort from Alex “If you don’t know about him, now you know” Rubin who went for 28 in this game (stay tuned for more).   An impending date with the #1 Seed Team Bulwa immediately following their first game was the prize awarded to Team Radist.  Scroll down to see if they had anything left in the tank ( Spoiler Alert: they did..).  For Team Riskin, they were a team that was at the top all season long.  They wound up a bit lower in the Standings than they had been all year and because of that faced a tougher Opening Round opponent.  This team will be back and they are another that with just a few bounces can really do damage come August in the Chicago Men’s League.  I know they will be back and they will once again be heard from come Playoff time in 2014.

6. Team Hakimian (Crescent Movers) v. 11. Team Cohen (Dr. Jacob D.D.S.) – Team Hakimian wins 58-39

I want to point something out to everyone that may only be obvious to myself and Team Cohen.. They have TERRIBLE luck when it comes to Playoff match-ups.  I mean the worst.  No matter what seed they grab in the Regular Season they just can’t seem to catch a break.   All that was waiting for them in the Opening Round on Monday Night were the Defending Champs aka the Dynasty aka Team Hakimian.  Benny “the jet” Lalez had 15 points to help get the Defending Champs back to the Elite 8.  This would be the first game for many of Team Hakimian’s players in what turned into a marathon.  While, I’m not going to take up too much time about the Co-Ed League here — I just have to say these guys played 3 Hoops games and a Volleyball match on Monday Night.  It’s simply incredible they were even able to walk out of the building.  Captain Joe’s boys want to be the first Team to Repeat in All Sports Series history.  Their next road block came later in the night in the form of #3 Seed Team Watts.   For @TeamCohen2 and Captain Andy who led his squad in scoring on Monday Night — they leave 2013 without what they came for — the Championship.  These guys have solid, solid squads year after year and as many of you now know — matchups are everything.   I’ve mentioned this before (actually when talking about Team Hakimian) — there is an element to luck that comes with every Playoff run.  Maybe it’s a shot that rims in or out, or possibly a ground ball that just squeaks through the in-field — but whatever it is — you need some luck to win All Sports Series.  This is why I think no one has repeated.  The law of averages says you won’t get lucky that second season in a row.  Well, I think with all the bad luck Team Cohen has had over the past 3 season, they are due for some good luck in 2014.  All they will need is just a bit of it to hold the Crown.

5. Team Hadelman (Carriage Hill Kennels) v. 12. Team Glass (Michael’s Event Catering) – Team Hadelman wins 76-43

Well Team Hadelman looked good in their first All Sports Series Playoff game.  No shock there.  They have really looked good (more than good) all season long.  If not for a couple minutes in flag football and being in a hard volleyball group for the tourney they would have likely been a top 3 (if not #1) seed and wouldn’t even been playing in the Opening Round.  But they did and they advanced so no harm done.  Alex Filin”itinthehoop” (work in progress) had 13 and Sean “@swallball” Wallis had 11 of his own.  They moved on to play Team Horwitz in the nightcap later on Monday.   For Team Glass, this is not where they pictured their Season ending back in June.  These guys have been in the thick of things for 3 years now and they are always a team to be heard from come Playoff time.  They wound up a bit more shorthanded than they would have liked late in the Season and it finally caught up with them.  The Chicago Men’s League has turned into the deepest League around and every win in the regular season matters so you don’t have to play Teams like Team Hadelman in the Opening Round.  The Dynamic Due of Sam Harris and Yoni Serfaty had 11 points each but it just wasn’t enough for Captain Adam Glass’ squad.  Final note on Team Glass,  I think they are one more serious athlete away from being considered dominant in this League once again.  There is a kid who used to come down from Milwaukee for Monday Nights — maybe the Summer of 2014 will mean the #theReturn for him.

Elite 8 Hoops

2. Team Maione (Sunset Foods) v. 10. Team Merar (Sandusky Cabinets) – Team Maione wins 81-53

This game was the story of 2 very different halves.  In the first half Team Merar fresh off their win over Team Kornblatt just minutes early kept the game tight with the #2 Seed Team Maione.  In fact it was just a 2 point game at half.  Then Team Maione decided to showcase why they are one of if not the best Hoops Squad in All Sports Series.. They turned a 2 point lead into a 20+ point lead in roughly 8 minutes (remember its running clock as well).  The 2011 Champs – Team Merar had a great run this Season..  In fact, some thought they wouldn’t be able to make the Playoffs and then once they did qualify some were unsure if they could even play do to the team being so banged up.. Well they still managed to get a Playoff victory making that 3 straight Seasons with one of those.. That is something not many teams can say they have done in All Sports Series. Danny “Thunder” Roseth again led the way with 18 and this time Todd”y” Herst had 15 too.  For Team Maione Chris “copy/paste” Wroblewski led in scoring with 15 and they are onto their first Chicago Men’s League Final4.. However this is a position many of the squad has been in before.   Remember, Captain Anthony “twan” Maione captained the 2011 Suburbs College/Prep Championship Team and many of the other team members were either on that team or a team that was a perennial favorite in that League.  The Maione group is a star-studded squad that Vegas would set out as Favorites for any sport in most weeks… Except I’m not sure about who would be the favorite in their Final4 matchup.. Scroll down to the #3 Team Watts v. #6 Team Hakimian section to find out who it would be.

1. Team Bulwa (Bull & Bear) v. 9. Team Radist (Greater Than) – Team Radist wins 72-67

You can’t help but wonder “what if” Gus Johnson was available in Lincoln Park on Mondays during the Summer… His head might have popped off during this one..  Ok enough about Gus..  All Sports Series is all about matchups.  Its been said countless times. Every year a Cinderella takes form in one shape or another — I would like to welcome the 2013 Chicago Men’s Cinderella to the dance — Team Radist.  No one saw this coming.  I don’t know if Team Radist could honestly say they thought they’d win not one but two Hoops games on Monday Night let alone knock off #1 Seed Team Bulwa in the process.  Team Radist seemingly benefited from playing just before this game, as they came out firing.  What I should say is Alex “Remember the Name by Fort Minor” Rubin came out firing.  He was simply awesome.  The guy went for over 40 for the second time this season to propel his team into the Final4, including a no-big-deal Rise’nFire from just inside half-court which touched nothing but nylon. If you had any doubt — The @DrinkGT Greater Than Performance of the Week goes to Team Greater Than’s own Alex Rubin.  For Team Bulwa this one will sting.. Likely for some time.. Efforts of 20+ Points by Adam “Air” Bernkopf and David “Coops” Spreckman were just not enough on this night. They were the Runners-Up in 2012 and really could could have taken that Crown last year.  This one will sting for a different reason as their season was so suddenly taken from them. They will rebound.  They will rebuild. Captain Zach “GM” Bulwa has his mainstays and that core was good enough to make the Championship game last year and grab the #1 Seed this Summer — so they have little to improve on.  If anything they just need to work on consistency and make sure their team is firing on all cylinders come August, 2014.

4. Team Horwitz (SLA Insurance) v. 5. Team Hadelman (Carriage Hill Kennels) – Team Hadelman wins 76-43

The ride for Team Horwitz would end in their 2nd Hoops game of the evening on Monday Night.  Team Hadelman advanced convincingly into the Final4.  As Rookie Squads go — this is as impressive a run as we have seen in the Chicago Men’s League.   They will face the Cinderellas Team Radist in Flag Football next Monday Night as our first matchup is officially set.  Team Hadelman looked focused during the course of the entire night.  They have one goal in mind and its to take the Crown.  Certain teams let who they play and what they are playing dictate pace, tempo and attitude.. So far, for what I have seen.. Team Hadelman doesn’t care.  They are simply “OnToTheNextOne.”  Alex Filin”itinthehoop” (sound better the second time?) had 21 to lead his team in scoring.  I will point out that Team Hadelman did lose their Flag Football game early on in the Season and Team Radist did pick up a W in their game… Again Crazier things have happened..  For Team Horwitz, I think very few people considered them contenders for the Playoffs — let alone being the #4 Seed and advancing to the Elite 8.  I think they should be extremely proud of their Run in 2013.. They certainly have a ton to build off of for next Summer and I anticipate they will do just that.

3. Team Watts (Giordano’s Pizza) v. 6. Team Hakimian (Crescent Movers) – Team Hakimian wins 76-68

When the Bracket was set, I’d be lying to say I wasn’t looking forward to this potential Elite 8 Hoops matchup more so than any other possible game on Monday Night.  When Team Hakimian (I’m adding the Marathon Men to your running list of titles) defeated Team Cohen earlier in the night they set the stage for what was going to be an epic Elite 8 battle between two of All Sports Series storied franchises and two of the best Hoops Teams in the League.  In between taking on Team Cohen and Team Watts, all Team Hakimian had to do was go and win a co-ed Volleyball and Hoops game by the way — which they did.  Back to this game right here — Team Hakimian came out en fuego.  They were launching 3s from every angle and it was as if the they were shooting into a pond.  They literally could not miss.  Before Team Watts could blink they were looking at 20 point defecit.  They tried to claw their way back and they really did — making the last 10 minutes of the game interesting — but it was just too far a hole to climb out of.. I couldn’t believe that Team Hakimian could even walk let alone put on the shooting display they did in the first half — Heart of a Champion.   Benny “the jet” Lalez had 28 to lead all scorers and Big Ben Lazarov had 17 as well for the Defending Champs.  For Team Watts, they once again have their season end in disappointment.  It was on the very same court in the very same round a year ago they suffered a heart breaker.. This is for sure — we can get you off that court for next year, that is a promise.   There’s not much I can say that I haven’t already said about Captain Jake Watts’ crew.  They had 3 guys go for 20+ in this one — Eric Izzo, Matt Sharp and Bobby Dobry — this roster is loaded.  I’ve said countless times they have enough to win the whole thing and I stand by that.  They will win an All Sports Series Championship one day.  I’d bet anything on it. It just won’t be in 2013…  Team Hakimian moves on in their quest for a Repeat (and side storyline — they could win both Chicago Leagues this Summer as they are in the Chicago Co-Ed League as well)..  Up next is #2 Team Maione in Flag Football.  I literally cannot wait for that. Cannot Wait.

That is all for the Wrap-Up this week. I want to thank all of you who had their season end on Monday for participating this Summer (and for reading).  I hope you enjoy the rest of your Summer and I look forward to seeing all of you again in 2014.

– Holden