2014 Suburbs College/Prep PLAYOFFS – Opening Rounds (July 27)

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Updated: August 3, 2014

…and then there were just 8!  Sunday’s College/Prep League Opening Round Playoff Games were truly incredible. The day began with 16 Teams — all with the same goal — to hoist the Crown.. Soon enough we will break down just how those Elite8 squads advanced and then we will Preview the Elite8 Match-ups for Sunday August 10.  First, here’s a Link to the Weekly Video Highlights!  Also, in case you missed it last week — want to once again Congratulate the College/Prep All-Star Team and MVP** as voted on by you:  MVP** Dillon Rudy of Team Valvassori, Brian Biggio and Michael Park of Team Saltzberg, Moses Park of Team Rubin, Captain Ethan Lutz of Team Lutz, Morris Greco of Team Maione and Ross Chuckerman of Team Deutsch.  

Opening Round Hoops (16 Teams Remain)

13. Team Shapiro (BBQ Pit) v. 16. Team Deutsch (Highland Pop) –  16. Team Deutsch wins 79-56

This could be the first moment in a truly monumental playoff run for Team Deutsch. They are the “underdogs” of these Playoffs, but by seed and seed alone..  Everyone is aware they are one of the best Hoops Teams in the League and they came out swinging on Sunday w/ Jake Norcia and Josh Sterns putting forth truly incredible games with 25 and 20 points respectively.. They move on here in impressive fashion to take on 4. Team Watts in a much anticipated Hoops rematch. As for Team Shapiro, they had a solid run in their Rookie campaign. Captain Tony will certainly have his guys ready to go in their Sophomore season in 2015. These guys have loads of talent so if they can add just a bit of depth they can really make a leap next year.  See you guys soon!

14. Team Gordon (Gordon Bros. Steel) v. 15. Team Liss (Testing Timers) –  15. Team Liss wins 86-41

This was a historical matchup as two of the longest serving All Sports Series squads ended their Playoff-droughts and faced-off in their Playoff debuts. Both teams struggled to pick up momentum early in the season as they faced off against a slew of tough opponents. But they both showed what they were really made of later in the Summer and clinched Playoff spots in the Regular Season’s final moments. These were the two teams who wanted it more than anyone else and that’s what showed on Sunday. Great season to both of them, and congrats on Team Liss picking up their first Playoff win. This was the best we’ve seen Team Liss look as a unit. It’s amazing what a bit of confidence will do for you. As for Team Gordon, they rightfully treated breaking through into the Playoffs as their Super Bowl. They were happy to just be at the Playoff party.. Next Season, they won’t be settling for just attending.. They want to close the thing down.  They know now that they possess what it takes to Win games in All Sports Series and big things should be in store for 2015.

 

Opening Round Hoops (14 Teams Remain)

3. Team Sternberg (ALX Salon) v. 15. Team Liss (Testing Timers) – 3. Team Sternberg wins 67-64

Team Liss’ breakthrough campaign would end here with 3. Team Sternberg.. Neither team budged during the Game, fighting tooth and nail for every point on every play. Team Sternberg was the certainly the favorite going in but with just minutes left no one was sure who would be able to take it.  Team Sternberg was without their Captain on Sunday and at times you could tell his presence was missed. However, when they needed big plays they got just enough and was able to squeak this one out.. That’s what the All Sports Series Playoffs are all about.. A text came in from Captain Sam, post-game “Survive and Advance.”  Nothing is more true. As for Team Liss, they played one of the best games of the week and really in their Franchise’s history. They had the ball in their hands with a chance to tie it up at the end of regulation.. Got a good look and it just didn’t stay down..  They’ll be back in 2015 and can walk into next season heads held high.

4. Team Watts (Camp Ojibwa) v. 16. Team Deutsch – 16. Team Deutsch wins 77-67

Wow. That’s all we can say after this heated grudge match. 4. Team Watts and 16. Team Deutsch have known each other for quite some time.  The foundation of both squads are the same age w/ Team Watts growing up in Deerfield and Team Deutsch residing in Highland Park. They have been playing against each other for about 10 years now.. To say they know each other well is a vast understatement. All Sports Series has served as a reigniting of their Rivalry over the past few years..  These two tangled earlier in the season in what ended with a 2-point Team Watts W on the Hoops Court. Team Watts had a shorter bench than usual and a few of their key pieces were missing.. However, everyone knew this was going to be a barn burner. Team Watts started off en fuego. They could do no wrong.. Team Deutsch regrouped and in the second half, they brought it. Play after play, refusing to back down and say die. Team Deutsch was able to avenge their L earlier in the year have shaken up the bracket.. Team Watts’ season ends quicker than they or anyone really had envisioned. They are still one of the best groups in this League and Sunday is non indicative of this squad’s story.  This L on Sunday might do more harm to the rest of the League than anyone really knows.. These guys are the likely favorites in 2015. Be ready. As for 2014, everyone thought they had to watch out for Team Valvassori and  Team Maione (and they still do), but watch out, Team Deutsch has momentum that no one else has going into the Elite8.. Two Playoff victories in one day will do wonders for their morale and confidence. They’d be the lowest seed ever to win the Crown.. Just one of many interesting storylines heading into Sunday Aug. 10.

5. Team Kogan (First Bank of HP) v. 12. Team Kaplan (Michael’s Events) –  5. Team Kogan wins 87-52

Team Kogan walked into Sunday with a ton of confidence.. and rightfully so.. They had been the undisputed titans of the Hoops court in the College/Prep League this Summer, playing with: size, smarts and a TON of talent. Team Kaplan basically just hit a buzzsaw in the Opening Round and there’s not much you can do with that. Team Kogan turned it on early and it was smooth sailing..  Team Kaplan was another group in their Rookie year who managed to make the Playoffs — no easy feat in All Sports Series.   What they and so many others learned on Sunday is that matchups are everything in the All Sports Series Playoffs.. This is why playing in the Top2 Game and being able to control your path is so key.. These guys will be back in 2015 with a deeper roster and if they can add a couple pieces they may be a surprise squad sitting at the top of the Power Rankings for much of next Summer.

6. Team Lutz (Poopie Palz) v. 11. Team Saltzberg (Danley’s Garage World) – 11. Team Saltzberg wins 79-52

This game was one of the biggest toss-ups heading into the Opening Rounds. Both teams showed glimpses of Hoops greatness during the Season but also struggled at other times in their Rookie seasons.  Team Lutz had shown themselves as a scrappy squad that came up big when necessary while Team Saltzberg really found their stride midway through the Season (and after their ridiculously tough schedule lightened up).  Both teams had really fantastic Rookie season, but seniority rules and the college grads of Team Saltzberg “overcame” their lower seed and came out on top of Team Lutz’s high school grads..  Team Lutz as one of the younger groups in the League to finish 6th in a 20-Team League is so so impressive. Excited to see what 2015 will bring for them now that they have their feet wet in All Sports Series.  Team Saltzberg might be the dark-horse to take the whole thing.

7. Team Almeleh (Trifecta Grill) v. 10. Team Merritt (Sarkis Café) – 7. Team Almeleh wins 84-66

Team Almeleh was as close as they could have gotten to a Championship appearance last Fall in the Champaign League when they suffered a heartbreaking OT Loss. And it looks like they haven’t forgotten that. They sprinted out of the gates on Sunday with both Ethan Smith and Alex Kirshenbaum putting up over 20 points.  They weren’t going to allow for a comeback this time around.. As for Team Merritt, for the second consecutive year they were the youngest Team in the field.. This Summer you would never have guessed that by their performances.  They dipped a bit in seeding toward the end of the Season and it really impacted their Playoff run.. They are a budding force in the College/Prep League.. Next year, they will be one of the Teams to beat.

8. Team Rubin (Dr. Jacob D.D.S.) v. 9. Team Rijos (Tamales) –  9. Team Rijos wins 43-40

This was the match of the two sleeping Hoops giants.  While neither team was able to climb as high as they would have liked in the Standings by season’s end, both were able to snag a win over one of the top two contenders, Teams Maione and Valvassori. 9. Team Rijos was actually undefeated in Hoops this Season and that trend would continue on Sunday in a narrow 43-40 win over  8. Team Rubin on Sunday. The 8/9 matchup was one of the best games of the day. In fact, it was the CEA Study Abroad Game of the Day. Both teams had what it took to move on, but of course only one could.. Congratulations to Team Rubin for a great season.  They were involved in some of the most memorable moments of the Season and truly made their presence felt..  They are going to back for sure in 2015 — for their 4th Season — and next year really could be the year.

Top2 Game – Team Valvassori (Loree’s Closet) v. Team Maione (Baker Boys) – Team Maione wins 59-47

They’ve been the two most dominant Teams in the league all Season, knocking opponent after opponent out of their way and finally they faced off head-to-head on Sunday..  In reality, while no one would be sent home for the Summer in this Game, this is the most important Game of the Opening Rounds. The Winner earns the right to select which side of the Bracket they will choose for the remainder of the Playoffs and set forth a series of dominos that really affects each and every game moving forward.  From the opening tip Team Maione controlled this one and they left little doubt as to who would get the huge opportunity to control the Playoffs..  With their W, Team Maione would make their selection (which is revealed below).. They also head into the League’s final Sunday with a ton of momentum on their side.. As for Team Valvassori, they need to just shake it off and know are still in a great spot to hold the Crown..

Elite8 Preview 

1. Team Maione (Baker Boys) v. 7. Team Almeleh (Trifecta Grill) 

There will be some extra fuel to the fire in this Elite8 Game as Team Maione had the ability to choose their side of the Bracket after Winning the Top2 Game last Sunday.. Team Almeleh really didn’t need any extra incentive as they are trying to finish what they started in Champaign about 9 months ago.. Let’s be honest though, Team Almeleh is matching up with Goliath this week. It won’t be easy, but softball is where anything can happen. In their first Softball matchup of the season Team Almeleh shut out #5 seed Team Kogan 8-0 while Team Maione won just as steeply over another Elite8 squad in Team Rijos. Team Almeleh is coming off a dominant first round win as well, but Team Maione has been the frontrunner all season long and they have been the best Softball Team in All Sports Series (dating back to the Team Greco) for years… They have players going for the extremely rare Back2Back Championships… Can’t get that Crown without getting through Team Almeleh first.. The Winner of this Game will face the winner of…

3. Team Sternberg (ALX Salon) v. 11. Team Saltzberg (Danley’s Garage World) 

Team Sternberg is one of the truest All Sports veterans we have playing this season. Several members of their Team have held the crown over the last two years, and they know what it takes to blow past tough competition..  They should expect nothing less from Team Saltzberg who “upset” Team Lutz with a colossal 27-point margin on Sunday. What’s more, it’ll be a Rematch of their first matchup on the diamond which ended in a narrow 5-4 win by Team Sternberg in the 9th inning. That was one of the hardest fought games seen all season and it’s only fitting we get to do it again with so much more at stake.  It’s very rare that a Team can get a 2nd W over the same crew in All Sports Series, let alone in the same sport.. There’s just so much talent in the League that it usually has away of evening itself out.. Team Sternberg hopes they can buck the trend. Team Saltzberg knows that they can hang with Team Sternberg.. This one will likely come down to ever gets that one big inning.. The Winner will matchup in the Final4 with the Winner of the 1. Team Maione v. 7. Team Almeleh contest.

2. Team Valvassori (Loree’s Closet) vs. 9. Team Rijos (Tamales)

From an early point in the Regular Season, anybody could have told you you’d be seeing Team Valvassori in August. It’s no surprise that they’re here getting ready for an Elite8 standoff. Team Rijos on the other hand is coming in off a slow start to the Season and a tremendous run late in the year.. This league is made of strong teams, but Sunday Team Rijos proved that they’re without a doubt one of the strongest.. Both Teams have the ability to capitalize in the next round as well.. This really could come down to who can handle the pressure better.. Softball will always come down to who can make the least amount of mistakes.. Both Teams have all the talent in the world.. It’s just a matter of who gets the most out of theirs on Aug. 10.. The Winner will face-off in the Final4 with the Winner of..

5. Team Kogan (First Bank of Highland Park) vs. 16. Team Deutsch (Highland Pop)

If you thought this Season would be determined by the Power Rankings or by Playoff Seeds then you’re dead wrong (no one ever does).. Team Deutsch had a mountain to climb last week. They climbed the first slope by beating 13. Team Shapiro and from there had to face off against 4. Team Watts for the second time on the Hoops court. Winning 2 Playoff Games in general, let alone on the same day against two higher-seeded Teams put them in a pretty impressive group.. They have never had this type of momentum as a unit.. It’d be interesting if this Game was going to be played on the Hoops Court as opposed to the diamond.. Both Teams would likely keep this one indoors, but as everyone knows, to win the Crown you have be able to Win in all the sports.  Team Kogan just takes care of business each and every time they are out there.. They have been among the most consistent Teams all Summer long.. Their matchup against Team Deutsch will be an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object and the Winner could very well take this whole thing.. The Winner will have to get through the Winner of the 2. Team Valvassori v. 9. Team Rijos Game in the Final4.

 

That’s it for us. Thanks again to everyone who played their final game of the Summer last Sunday! It was awesome having you a part of the League and hopefully see you again next Summer.. Everyone enjoy Lolla this weekend, be safe as well. To the remaining Teams, Good Luck and see you on August 10!