2013 Suburbs College/Prep – OPENING ROUND PLAYOFFS: Hoops (July 28)

Updated: August 1, 2013

We are in the thick of the best time of year! Sunday featured some of the most intense and well played Hoops Games the Suburbs College/Prep League has ever seen!

It is time to unveil who you voted on to be elected to the very first Suburbs College/Prep All @AllSportsSeries Team and League MVP!  Congratulations to: Curt Petty, Ethan Schmidt, Jared Weisberg, & Lucas Jacobson of Team Simon (Carriage Hill), Captain Frank Maione 0f Team Maione (Norton’s), and Captain Morris Greco – Team Greco (Crescent Movers).

An even bigger Congrats goes out to the leading Vote getter and MVP — Lucas Jacobson! Well done my friend!  You have the nickname “2013 MVP” for life in the Wrap-Up.

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.  Enough of the precursor lets get to the action and see who earned a spot in the Elite8!

Opening Rounds (Round of 16)

14. Team Sternberg (Camp Ojibwa) v. 15. Team Almeleh (Loree’s Closet) – Team Sternberg wins 92-69

I think it is appropriate to begin this year’s Playoffs Wrap-Up with the team that closed last year’s Playoffs Wrap-Up — the 2012 Defending Champions Team Sternberg feel right at home with the pressure “win or go home” provides during the All Sports Series Playoffs.  Many have likely been sleeping on them prior to the Playoffs as they only came in with the #14 seed.. If their 92 point outburst was any indication, they plan on waking people up.  From the tip Team Sternberg came out firing.. Captain Sam “Coach” Sternberg had 29 points and Jack “down on the block” Carney had 34 to ensure the quest for a Repeat would not end just yet.  As for Team Almeleh they had a great Rookie run in All Sports Series.  Matchups matter a great deal in All Sports Series and sometimes you run into the Defending Champs in arguably their best sport.  I know these guys will be back next Summer (and actually this Fall down in Champaign) and have plenty of success ahead of them.  Team Sternberg’s win advanced them to play #3 Seed Team Valvassori later in the afternoon.

13. Team Gambino (Sushi Kushi Too) v. 16. Team Rijos (Salon ALX) – Team Rijos wins 70-64

In 2012 Team Gambino completed their Rookie Regular Season and wound up with the #13 Seed coming into the Playoffs, needing 2 Hoops wins to get through to the Elite 8 Round.  In 2012 they did just that.  In 2013, they completed the Regular Season as the #13 Seed, however this time around they ran into the upstart Cinderellas #16 Seed Team Rijos.  It was a back and forth affair that saw Team Rijos gather the lead and hold on to it down the stretch.  For those who are unfamiliar with Captain Parker Rijos’ squad — they can ball.  The new HPHS alumni started to gain some steam midway through the season and clearly did enough to get in the Playoffs.  What I think no one knew, besides them, was they are real threat to any team on the Hoops Court.  Randall “remember the name” Pulfer had 22 for these guys and Alec “AG” Greenberg had 19 of his own.  I think Team Gambino leaves All Sports Series a bit surprised (as many are) with their early exit.  Just one guy’s opinion — but I think these guys are talented enough to win All Sports Series down the road.  They’ll need to figure out how to get some more points in the Regular Season but they are a tough out in any sport and I just think they have one magical run in store.  As for Team Rijos their win earned them a date with 2012 Runners-Up Team Maione (Norton’) later in the day!

Opening Rounds (Round of 14)

7. Team Levin (Sarkis Cafe) v. 10. Team Teitelbaum (North Shore Turf Ind.) – Team Teitelbaum wins 56-46

Coming into Sunday I figured this would be one of the closer games of the day.  Team Teitelbaum controlled most of the game however and it seems their late season surge was no fluke.  Team Teitelbaum was led again by Zack “Mr. 42” Hilgendorf who went for 26 points in this one. For Team Levin, you can’t help but wonder what could have been.  They knew they’d be missing one of the best Players in the League Tommy “have fun at Camp Ojibwa!” Sutker but knowing about it did not mean they could truly account for it.  These guys are still one of the youngest groups in the League as they are just entering their Senior Years at HPHS and have impressed during the Regular Season for 2 straight years.  They are going to grow into the Powerhouse of the College/Prep League at one point, hopefully for other teams, it takes them a couple more years… For Team Teitelbaum, it seems as if 10 is a magic number.  Last Season the #10 Seed went all the way to the Championship game and these guys seem to have more than enough talent to get there this Season.  They are in store for a tough game no matter what in the Elite 8 however, as they will play one of the Top 2 Seeds in 16″ Softball — we’ll find out who their opponent is below!

3. Team Valvassori (Once Upon a Bagel) v. 14. Team Sternberg (Camp Ojibwa) – Team Sternberg wins 75-46

Let me start out by saying this — only 1 Team can become Champions each Summer.  That leaves 19 Teams thinking “how did that just happen?” as they leave from their final moments of the Season. Since only 1 Team can win, you have to try and find little things to hang your hat on to build toward next Summer.  Team Valvassori is a prime example of this.  They had a tremendous regular season.  Week after week after week they defeated their competition and looked good doing it.  They certainly benefited early in the Season by sneaking up on a few teams but they dealt with expectations in the back end of the Regular Season to truly earn that #3 Seed.  Unfortunately for them their ride will end at the hands of Captain Sam “dream crushers” Sternberg and crew who make it 6 straight Playoff victories dating back to All Sports Series.  That is an all-time record.  Did Team Sternberg have everyone fooled?  Certainly the Regular Season could not match the intensity of last year’s Playoff run, so maybe at the risk of over simplifying, they found themselves bored in the months of June and early July?  Whatever the case — Team Sternberg has gone through not one but two more Teams and into their second consecutive Elite 8.   Captain Sam and Jack “attacks the floor” Carney both really fell off in this second game by scoring a meager 24 and 30 respectively (down by about 5 points in Game 1 of the day).  We will find out who these guys take on soon enough — it will be the winner of the highly anticipated 6. Team Lev v. 11. Team Abramson game.

4. Team Maione (Norton’s) v. 16. Team Rijos (Salon ALX) – Team Rijos wins 59-57 in 5OTs

This is what All Sports Series is all about.  Anything truly can happen.  Team Maione got out to an early lead and it seemed as if the expectation would become reality.. Just to provide context — Team Maione went to the Championship Game last Season.  They were one of the favorites this Summer to avenge that Championship loss and take the crown.  Team Rijos on the other hand did just enough to squeak into the Playoffs and had already played a knock down drag out Hoops contest just an hour before with 2012 Elite8 participant Team Gambino.  So again, Team Maione got the early lead, but Team Rijos hit enough 3balls to keep it close.  As the closing minutes grew nearer it seemed as if Team Rijos’ Season was going to come to an end… Only no one told them that.  With a few minutes left in the game they Team Rijos got within 6 then 4, and eventually they tied the game at 55!  The final seconds of Regulation were spent by Team Maione holding for one shot, only to turn it over.  I’m going to gloss over the next 6 minutes of what seemed like complete agony.  The first and second over time sessions passed with 0 points scored.  Both 2-minute sessions were home to wasted opportunities by both Teams.  No one could expect anything else as you could literally cut the tension with a knife in the gym.  The third and fourth overtimes came and went with both teams now tied at 57.  After the first 4 OT periods it went into Sudden Death.  (Editor’s Note: For those wondering how such a thing could happen… the over time periods are basically played like Sudden Death because each team just holds for one shot anyways)..  Team Rijos got control of the ball after the tip and Randall “I TOLD YOU TO REMEMBER THE NAME!!!” Pulfer decided he had waited long enough for someone else to make a play.. Randall launched a 3 from the top of the key over the outstretched arms of a Team Maione defender… THE SHOT took what seemed like minutes to finally come back down toward the rim and then SPLASH!  With that one jumper Randall “Mr. Big Shot” Pulfer sent his Cinderella Squad on to the Elite 8 and Team Maione home for what will be an agonizing winter.  On Sunday Morning just before the Opening Round Games — the @AllSportsSeries Twitter Account (give us a follow!) Tweeted, “8 Suburbs College/Prep Teams’ Journeys will end today. In 4 Hours it begins. The #Playoffs where Reputations are both born & laid to pasture”  — Well Mr. Big Shot  just earned his reputation with a 3ball that will certainly be remembered for years to come. He also earns the @DrinkGT Greater Than Moment of the Week!  For Team Maione — they will be back and I think this Loss will actually fuel them to to an even brighter All Sports Series future. Last Season they shocked the world round after round.. Soon enough, they will take what is theirs’ — an All Sports Series crown.

Top2 Game — Team Simon (Carriage Hill Kennels) v. Team Greco (Crescent Movers) – Team Simon wins 77-48

For those unfamiliar with how the Top2 game works — the winner of the Game gets to select which side of the Bracket they would like to continue on and the loser of the Game goes to top of the other side of the Bracket.  That is a HUGE deal when considering how important match-ups are.  This was a much anticipated rematch from Week 5 Hoops and once again Team Simon took the W.  I think last week’s Wrap-Up sufficiently summarized just how great both of these Teams have played all season long.  There were not 2 more deserving teams than these 2 to be in the position they found themselves in.  Team Greco will be just fine, even if their egos aren’t for a couple of days.  Both teams are exactly where they need to be — atop a side of the Bracket in the Elite 8 and ready for Softball.  Kurt “what’s your 40 Time?” Karis had 18 for Team Simon and looked about as fast as humanly possibly on the Hoops Court on Sunday.  The real news coming out of this game — the side of the Bracket that Team Simon selected.. For that piece of info you’ll need to hold on to the end of the Wrap-Up (or scroll down, I can’t keep you from just scrolling down right now.)  Good Luck to both Top 2 Seeds moving on to the Elite8.

6. Team Lev (Highland Pop) v. 11. Team Abramson (Menchie’s) – Team Lev wins 94-50

So in the Playoff Preview I highlighted this as one of the games I was most looking forward to in the Opening Rounds.  I’m not sure if I offended Team Lev with this statement somehow but they sure played as if it did.  They looked like they had a giant chip on their shoulder from the opening tip and they just steamrolled Team Abramson.  Blowouts happen in All Sports Series (as in any league) but to defeat a team with as much talent as Team Abramson had on the court on Sunday by 44 points is a statement. Adam “for threeee” Chick had 18 to add to the blowout.  It’s more than a statement — its an announcement to the rest of the League “we are coming for you.” For Team Abramson, they never quite found the groove this Season after a really successful 2012.. They lost Connor “hopefully back soon” Nass the first week of the season which was a giant blow and they just never seemed right. They’ll be back as the squad has many familiar faces and they will once again be a squad to be reckoned with.  As for Team Lev, at the risk of angering them once more their Elite 8 Softball game with Defending Champs and #14 Seed Team Sternberg is one that I have circled as “MUST SEE.”  One of these amazing runs have to come to an end… Who’s will it be?

5. Team Wilneff (Factor75.com) v. 12. Team Merritt (Michael’s Event Catering) – Team Wilneff wins 87-48

Sometimes Goliath slays David… I can’t say this one surprised many as Team Wilneff entered Sunday as possibly the biggest “Favorite” of the day.   I want to say this — it is very rare for the youngest team in the League — which Team Merritt was in 2013– to make the Playoffs.  They even managed to get the #12 Seed out of a 20-Team League. They have absolutely ZERO to be ashamed of as their 2013 Season has concluded.  They have so many years to build on 2013 that it’s not even funny.  They make me feel old every time I see them to be honest.  Team Wilneff was just “Bigger, Stronger, Faster! and They’ve Got More Facial Hair!”  It seemed like just about everyone for Team Wilneff had a strong outing in the points department so I’m going to take this opportunity to give a Birthday shout-out to Dean “not at the game for Team Wilneff” Baba.. due to his Birthday? I think.  Anyways, for Team Wilneff, this is where everything gets serious.  Year after year they find themselves looking like one of the teams to beat but they just can’t get over the Softball hurdle that stands in their way.  Remember, there are 2 Rounds of Softball (Elite 8 and Final 4) before the Championship Football game.  First up in terms of Softball for Team Wilneff is 2013 Cinderellas – Team Rijos.  I think its safe to say every team still standing (any maybe those that aren’t) is hoping the slipper still fits!

8. Team Deutsch (Baker Boys) v. 9. Team Watts (Sunset Foods) – Team Deutsch wins 78-75

Along with the 6. Team Lev v. 11. Team Abramson game, this is another I highlighted as a likely “Game of the Day” candidate.   I went 1 for 2.  Team Deutsch stormed out to an early 11-0 lead but than Team Watts woke up.   Team Watts exerted a ton of energy playing catch-up however and often times that will cause you to run out of gas late in the game.   At times during the 1st half and early second half it seemed as if this one was a 3pt contest as both teams were just launching the ball from all over the gym.  As the game began to wind down both teams got tight and turnovers began to buildup.  Team Deutsch still had the lead in the closing minutes but Team Watts never gave up.  With just a few seconds left Team Watts had possession of the ball and were down 3 when Team Deutsch smartly fouled Captain Mack ” http://o-h-i-owe.blogspot.com” Watts to the line where he could only get 2 points.  Mack tried to get the rebound off the rim but had no luck and Team Deutsch held on for the W! Jake “this guy is just so good” Norcia had 22 and Matt “throw it down big fella” Wolk had 20 to help catapult their team to the Elite 8.  Alex “open when he steps out of his car” Sacks had 33 for Team Watts and Connor “Deerfield Assassin” Shields had 18 in the loss.  Team Watts will no doubt be back next Summer.  These guys can play everything and it’s just a matter of time before they have an extended run in August.  Team Deutsch turned to the waiting game to find out who they’d play — depending on Team Simon’s choice — again either way they’d have a tough matchup with either top2 seed.

Elite 8

Late into the night on Sunday, Team Simon selected the left side of the Bracket and with that an Elite 8 matchup with 8. Team Deutsch.  The winner of that game will face the winner of 5. Team Wilneff v. 16. Team Rijos.  Team Simon’s choice, sent Team Greco, who many think are the best softball team in the League, to the right side of the Bracket and an Elite 8 matchup with 10. Team Teitelbaum.  The winner of that game will face the winner of 6. Team Lev v. 14. Team Sternberg.

Here’s the Schedule for the Elite 8 on TUESDAY NIGHT AUGUST 8TH — We are off Sunday for Lollapalooza!

Tuesday August 6 - PlayoffsWest Ridge ParkSport (Points for a Win)
6:30 - 7:30 pmElite 8: 5.Team Wilneff (Factor 75) v. 16.Team Rijos (Salon ALX)Softball (Single Elimination)
7:00 - 8:00 pmElite 8: 6.Team Lev (Highland Pop) v. 14.Team Sternberg (Camp Ojibwa)Softball (Single Elimination)
8:00 - 9:00 pmElite 8: 1.Team Simon (Carriage Hill Kennels) v. 8.Team Deutsch (Baker Boys)Softball (Single Elimination)
9:00 - 10:00 pmElite 8: 2.Team Greco (Crescent Movers v. 10.Team Teitelbaum (North Shore Turf)Softball (Single Elimination)

Good Luck to the remaining Teams and thanks to participating to those Teams whose Seasons have ended. I hope to see you in 2014.  Have a great weekend!

– Holden