2014-15 Hoops – Playoffs Week 4 (April 12)

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Updated: April 17, 2015

and then there were just 8!  After this past Sunday’s Games, only half of the Teams remain alive with hopes of a grabbing the Crown!  Six Teams went home this past Sunday in a night that was full of make or break plays. One Team even played 3 Games on Sunday Night.. More on who that is below.. Quickly — there are just two weeks left in this marathon that began back on Oct. 19, 2014.  Here’s a Link to the Weekly Highlight Video!  We’re going to take it Game by Game and then set-up what’s in store for next week below.

Playoff Results

ELIMINATION GAMES – 5pm

11. Team Apuli (iShot Mounts) v. 16. Team Elrod (Dr. Jacob D.D.S. Navy) – 16. Team Elrod 88-73

At this point you have to play your absolute best to survive and advance.. Team Elrod did that to open Sunday Night.  The Game was close early but Team Elrod began to pull away to close the first half and used the momentum to close the door on Team Apuli in the second half..  Due to Re-Seeding, 16. Team Elrod as the lowest seed in the field would continue to play the highest seed in each round that they were apart of.. In the next Round, that meant facing 8. Team Bernkopf immediately..

As for Team Apuli, they had a stellar run this season but in the end just wound up a bit short-handed. They were banged up to close the season and missing a lot of their starting line-up. Especially those who handled the ball more often than not. It’s a tough test to change gears after so many weeks of playing one way.. Team Apuli is a fixture in All Sports Series and they will certainly be back for the next go around in the Hoops League.  You will also seem many of them vying for a Chicago Men’s League crown this Summer!

12. Team Shamberg (Muchacha Salsa Silver) v. 13. Team Holzman (Benjamin & Shapiro Law) – 12. Team Shamberg 58-49

Both Teams have experienced Playoff success so far this season as they both had a hand in sending 5. Team Horwitz home much earlier than expected… Both Teams also felt that they had the potential to win not 1, not 2, but THREE ELIMINATION GAMES on this night.. Have to start with the first though of course.. The first half of this one went back and forth.. It wasn’t until a Team Shamberg run late in the Game that solidified their W.  For Team Holzman, they didn’t on the crazy tear they had hoped for to close the Season but they did have several high points this year and just like last year you can expect them to head into the Summer League and be true players there. It was just last Summer that they finished 1st out of 24 Teams in the Regular Season and followed up with a Final4 appearance. They will be back.  For Team Shamberg, the victory party as was so often the case on this night was short-lived as they had to head over to Court 2 for a date with 9. Team Schwartz in another ELIMINATION GAME.

ELIMINATION GAMES – 6pm

8. Team Bernkopf (Stems) v. 16. Team Elrod (Dr. Jacob D.D.S. Navy) – 8. Team Bernkopf 68-67

One of these Teams’ Journeys would end after this Game, which is a shame as both really turned it on in the Season’s final weeks.. For 16. Team Elrod, no one expected them to get this far.. They came into this one 2-1 in the Playoffs — matching their Regular Season win total in just 3 Games.. They really came together and were infused with talent late.. As for Team Bernkopf, they got healthy at the right time and showed everyone why they have been a mainstay in All Sports Series for five years now..

As for the Game, both Teams made their runs and it the Game could not have been better played.  The lead changed hands countless times and everyone in the building knew it would come down to who made the last play.. 16. Team Elrod found themselves down 2 with about 20 seconds to go.. Matt Humphrey had the ball at the arc and with about 7 seconds to go fired a 3-ball. Swish.  8. Team Bernkopf would take their final timeout and game plan for what they had hoped would not be their final possession of the season.. With about 6 ticks left, Nick Winbush received the ball on the left wing, with his Team down 1… Dribbled toward the baseline and with a few seconds to go rose up and hit a leaner to put Team Bernkopf up for good and extend their season!  The last 30 seconds really encapsulated this Game.. Both Teams made the necessary plays to win and in the end, Team Bernkopf just had the last opportunity.. They’d move on to another ELIMINATION GAME shortly.. 16. Team Elrod can and will use this great late season surge as a catapult for next year’s Hoops League.  They are going to come fully-loaded from the jump in October, 2015 and you have to think that with this roster they will be vying for a top spot a year from now..

9. Team Schwartz (Greater Than) v. 12. Team Shamberg (Muchacha Salsa Silver) – 12. Team Shamberg 59-54

Another ELIMINATION GAME for 12. Team Shamberg and what ended up being another tight Playoff Game for both Teams who have made a habit of this over the past couple of years..  9. Team Schwartz actually held the lead in much of this one, even without starters Max Kaplan, Danny Roseth and Jason Vismantas..  In the twilight of the Game they went cold from the field and it allowed Team Shamberg to claw back in and then eventually hit a few shots to take the lead.. After a few big free throws for Team Shamberg, they would advance and win their second ELIMINATION GAME of the Night.. They’d need to go 3 for 3 to continue to next week and 8. Team Bernkopf was waiting for them.

Team Schwartz had a great run in 2015. Their slow start to the season was well-documented and it really allowed them to show what they are made of.  Many groups would have just packed it in, but they managed to turn the tide and become one of the hottest Teams coming into the Playoffs.  They weren’t at full strength for much of the Playoffs and will likely leave them wondering “what could have been.”  They are a staple of the Hoops League and they will be back ready to go in the Fall!

ELIMINATION GAMES – 7pm

3. Team Zimmerman (Biaggi’s Orange) v. 14. Team Levitan (Dr. Jacob D.D.S. Maroon) – 3. Team Zimmerman 68-48

With Reseeding in full-effect after each round.. Fresh 3. Team Zimmerman the highest seed remaining was matched-up with the also fresh 14. Team Levitan (the lowest remaining seed).. Both Teams likely hoped for the opportunity to face-off with a Team who had already played 1 or even 2 Games earlier in the Night.. That was not to be the case here.. Team Zimmerman was without big-man Kyle Nelson and some thought with Team Levitan’s size they could be in trouble.. Team Levitan was also missing their resident Big — Ben Hanessian.. 3. Team Zimmerman jumped out early and was sparked by the returning Eugene Connor who had been out with a hand injury since the Super Bowl.  They wouldn’t look back.. As many thought, Team Zimmerman finds themselves among the Elite8 Teams left in the Playoffs entering next week.  For Team Levitan, all year they were better than their record would indicate and they showed that during their first Playoff run.  They managed to get Playoff Ws which many do not and that is something they can surely build upon entering their 2nd run in the Hoops League in the Fall. Thanks for playing guys!

8. Team Bernkopf (Stems) v. 12. Team Shamberg (Muchacha Salsa Silver) – 8. Team Bernkopf 92-67

The marathon men were all present for this one.. 12. Team Shamberg was attempting to become the first Team in Hoops League history to win 3 Games in one night. Not to mention, all of them coming in ELIMINATION GAMES.  All the while, 8. Team Bernkopf was writing their own narrative and their goal was to match what Team Shamberg had just accomplished.. Send a second Team home on the night.

This Game simply was a battle of wills.  No one that played in it would claim it was the best quality of Hoops either Team had played and for great reason.. Team Shamberg had been competing with just 6 players on the night and frankly they just ran out of gas fairly early in this one. Who could blame them?  They were physically and emotionally exhausted.. 8. Team Bernkopf would get the W and they are now among the Elite8 Teams left standing.. Next week Reseeding places them against 3. Team Zimmerman in their first Game.. A night that could see them on the Hoops court many, many times.

Team Shamberg’s run cannot be understated though.  They improved ten-fold in their second season and truly cemented themselves as a Team not to be messed with come Playoff time.  They won 3 Playoff Games this year and sent two Teams home.  That’s an impressive Resume that many Teams would love to have. They are a talented bunch that with a couple tweaks may really make a Championship run a year from now. Congrats on a great run! Get some rest!

1 LOSS BRACKET – 8pm

4. Team Lalez (Crystal Lake CDJ) v. 7. Team Goldin (Cy Fredrics) – 4. Team Lalez 64-49

These 2 Teams have one of the best rivalries in the All Sports Series universe.. It doesn’t necessarily get the pub that some of the other Rivalries get but these 2 squads have had many battles across many types of All Sports Series Leagues.  Sticking to the Hoops League, you can point to their two epic Playoff Games a year from now.. They played each other, as the top 2 seeds in the Playoffs, in back to back Games with a spot in the Championship on the line.  They split those Games and it would be Team Lalez moving on to the Championship and grabbing the crown.. Team Goldin has not forgotten about that..

While they are playing each other a bit earlier this year around there is still a TON on the line.. The Winner stays in the 1 Loss Bracket and remains one of the favorites to take the whole thing.. The Loser leaves themselves a lot more work to do to get to the Crown, not to mention, they are one loss away from extinction.

From the opening tip, you could tell there was no love lost and that both Teams were desperate for the win.  Neither Team played their best ball in the first half. The emotion of the night was allowing them to put forth a little extra on their jumpers and had them playing at a speed that neither Team excels in.. They almost wanted it too much. It was close at half and then in the second half the Championship experience for Team Lalez shined through..  7. Team Goldin made a couple runs in the second half but each one was thwarted by a run from the Champs. In the closing moments it was 4. Team Lalez heading to the free throw line to ice it.  Team Goldin heads to the ELIMINATION BRACKET where they will await a Team who will be participating in their 3rd Game of the Night.  By then there will be just 5 Teams left..  They, for the second year in a row, are among the Elite.

For Team Lalez they are in a great spot as next week they will take on whoever Loses the final No Loss Game of the Tourney…

NO LOSS BRACKET – 8pm

1. Team Maione (Biaggi’s Blue) v. 6. Team Kozin (Theory) – 6. Team Kozin 70-61

How about this for a main event?  This is the final No Loss Game of the Tourney. The Winner here will be just one more W away from the Championship Round.  The Loser goes on to face 4. Team Lalez in the 1 Loss Bracket for the right to try and take on the Winner of this Game.. The odds are we are going to get a Rematch of this one.. Just remember that.

As for the particulars with these two Teams.. A lot has changed since we had the 5-0 Team Maione take on the 4-1 Team Kozin back before Thanksgiving.  A game that Team Maione won by the way.  Even more has changed since Team Maione knockout out Team Kozin in last year’s Playoffs sending Team Kozin home in 4th..  Let me tell you.. Team Kozin has been counting down the days to get another opportunity to take on the #1 Team and in the Playoffs…

We all know the phrase.. Big Time Players.. Big Time Plays.. Big Time Games.. Well, that was the case here.  Chris Wroblewski was feeling it for Team Maione and he really shouldered much of the Offense for his squad throughout the night.  For Team Kozin it was the usual case with Josh Davis and Randall Hampton leading the way on Offense.  Wroblewski was really feeling it and got his group a lead that slowly started to build as the second half wore on. Late in the Game Team Maione actually led by double digits with just minutes to play.. Many assumed as they have so many times this season.. To just close it out and go home.. Team Kozin had other plans.. Team Kozin started feeling it and within a few possessions had cut a double digit lead down to nothing. Their momentum was contagious and everyone on the squad was contributing.. Big 3s from Captain Kozin and Oren Amzaleg (happy bday!) were key down the stretch.. In the end, Team Kozin’s final run was enough to pull off what they had been waiting a calendar year to do..  6. Team Kozin is your last remaining Unbeaten in the Playoffs.

So, 1. Team Maione, who suffers just their second loss all year — heads to the 1 Loss Bracket where they will meet 4. Team Lalez in the second playoff edition of the Championship Rematch.  The Winner of that Game will take on Team Kozin AND need to beat them 2x for a spot in the Championship.  The Loser of the Maione/Lalez clash will head to the ELIMINATION BRACKET will they play the Winner of 7. Team Goldin v. whoever makes it out alive (2. Team Harris, 3. Team Zimmerman, 8. Team Bernkopf, 10. Team Hernandez).

 

That’s it for this week. Hydrate this week with Greater Than!  Lots of Games to be played next Sunday. Congrats to all remaining Teams and thanks to those who are wrapping-up for the Season!

– Holden