2015-16 Chicago Hoops – Championship Sunday (May 15)

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Updated: May 18, 2016

It took us 217 days to Crown New Champions and let’s all give Team Gutman a huge Congratulations!  We’re going to breakdown the action for the final 3 Playoff Games below but before we do that, there’s some acknowledgements that need to be dealt with.. Team Kozin finished in 3rd and tried to gut it out short-handed.. They became the 3rd Team in Chicago Hoops League history to get to Championship Sunday — joining Teams Lalez and Maione.. Congrats on a great season.   The Runners-Up for the 2015-16 campaign are Team Zimmerman who valiantly won their first 2 Games of the Night on Sunday before falling in their 3rd to eventual Champs Team Gutman. We’ll get to specifics below but they have turned in one of if not THE most impressive 12-month stretches in All Sports Series history.. We’ll get to the actual Games and the recap the All Star festivities below.. Want to say a big Thank You to everyone once again for playing.. It was our best season yet!

Also, if everyone can take one minute, and VOTE, All Sports Series’ has All Stars from our Hoops League competing in “The Basketball Tournament” and $2 Million is at stake! We Need Votes to get them in there!

Here’s a Link to the final Weekly Highlight Video of the Season powered by Orunje On-Demand Healthcare!  People have asked about Orunje.. Essentially you can get a Doctor or Nurse Practitioner out to your home/office within 2 hours. No need to waste time going in anymore..  Also, want to give a quick shout-out to the MVP Sponsor for our Chicago Spring Leagues (Floor Hockey and Co-Ed Volleyball) — Wrigley View Rooftop — no better way to take in a Cubs Game with a group of friends/co-workers. If you are thinking of doing this type of thing, let us know, we get deals!

 

All Star Festivities

The 3pt Contest came down to a Final4 shooters comprised of Nick Winbush from Team Bulwa and 3 members of 2x Champs – Team Lalez: Captain Benny, Scott Campbell and Brennan Keller.. In the Final Round BK edged out Nick Winbush 18-17 to grab the 3pt Crown… The Game itself was a high-scoring affair — as it always is.. Certainly fun to see some of the League’s finest take the court next to one another…

 

Championship Sunday Results

Semi-Final

4. Team Zimmerman (Biaggi’s Navy) v. 9. Team Kozin (Camp Ojibwa)

Two Titans of the Hoops League were set to clash for a spot in the Championship where Team Gutman awaited them..  Team Zimmerman is coming off Chicago Men’s All Sports Championship and was looking to become the first Team to ever Win both the “big” Summer League and then follow-up with a Hoops League Crown in consecutive Leagues.. While, Team Kozin, had waited a year to get back to the Championship where last year they finished 2nd to Team Lalez..  Only one group would be able to move on and from the jump it was clear 4. Team Zimmerman was that group. Esto Vega had 26 and Dave Altman had 17 and 7 to help get their Group into the finals..  They’d win this one going away and on to face 6. Team Gutman for the Crown they’d go!

For Team Kozin, they just didn’t have the roster to compete on this night.. They were without All Star Josh Davis and Mitch Bouie who have both been instrumental in their thunderous Playoff run.. The Team could just not get enough stops to compete..  As we said at the top, making it to 2 straight Championship Sundays and finishing in the Top 3 two years in a row is something only a couple other Teams can claim in this League.. The competition was stronger than ever and they were able to get back to the League’s final night.. Congrats on another great season and we look forward to their pursuit of the Crown when we start back up in October!

 

Championship

6. Team Gutman (Teplitz & Bell) v. 4. Team Zimmerman (Biaggi’s Navy)

4. Team Zimmerman would need to defeat 6. Team Gutman twice in a row, while Team Gutman needed to win just one of those two Games to Win the Championship.

…and then there were just two… We started the season with 20 Teams and both of these squads have played extremely well to earn their spot in the Championship.  4. Team Zimmerman entered immediately following their ELIMINATION of Team Kozin in the Semi-Final and would take on the fresh and deep 6. Team Gutman..  Team Zimmerman was missing Riaz Hoveydai and on a night where they’d need 3 W’s he was sorely missed.. 6. Team Gutman had their entire 9-man Rotation in the building and they were ready for a marathon..

From the Opening Tip of Championship Game 1.. Team Zimmerman was feeling great.. They rode the momentum from their first W and came out firing. A 3-ball off the tip really set the tempo and they were able to gain the lead throughout the first half and into the second.. Esto Vega was incredible going for 33 in this one.. Kyle Nelson had 20 in the big man’s second Game of the Night.. Team Gutman’s Andy Marks also crossed the 20pt threshold in this one.. Team Zimmerman would hold on to that lead as we went into the final minute.. They led by 3 and Team Gutman would have the ball.. They’d get a few open looks from 3 for the tie but all of them rimmed out.. 4. Team Zimmerman would Win Game 1 64-61…

After a brief break, both Teams would take the floor for what was surely the final Game of the Season.. Both Teams now had 1-Loss a piece in the Playoffs and this final Championship Game would be Winner-take-all… Both groups were gassed as we entered the final contest.. Team Zimmerman was about to embark on their 3rd Game of the Night.. Remember, they won 3-straight in one night, both in last year’s playoffs AND last week to get to this point!  6. Team Gutman, due to their consistent winning thus far in the Playoffs, was playing their first back-to-back in the Hoops League.. Their 9-man rotation had never been so important…

The Big-Time Players continued to make Big-Time Plays as we got going in Championship Game 2.. Esto Vega picked up right where he left off and finished with 26 to lead all scorers.. Adam Rhum turned in a gutsy performance for Team Gutman.. He’d finish with 16 to go along with Marin Kukoc’s 14 points in the final Game.. Back and forth these Teams would go.. Team Zimmerman’s guys battled both the gigantic Team Gutman but also multiple calf cramps down the stretch.. It was truly a battle of wills as we turned to the Second Half, and it was still anyone’s Game.. With about 16 minutes to go they found themselves tied at 38.  Both groups didn’t want to give an inch on either end. It felt like a heavyweight fight with all of the bigs clogging the paint at each end of the floor… Team Gutman would go on a bit of a surge with just over 10 minutes to go to take finally take the lead.. With about 6 minutes to go Adam Rhum carved through the Zimmerman D to take the lead to 6 and on the next possession Marin Kukoc found Jordan Reisner on the baseline with a behind the back pass that pushed the Gutman lead to 8! From there, Team Zimmerman just didn’t have the legs to mount another comeback.. 6. Team Gutman Win Championship Game 2 71-56 and the Crown! More on the Champs in just a second..

To the Runners-Up, Team Zimmerman.. As we mentioned at the top, they have had one of the more illustrious stretches in All Sports Series history and against the best competition we’ve ever seen.. If you actually go back to the Summer of 2014 (when they were the Runners-Up of the Chicago Men’s All Sports League) — they are an incredible 10-2 in Elimination Games.  Both Losses coming in the Championship.  In Chicago, our two most competitive Leagues are this Hoops League and that Summer All Sports League.. They have been to the Championship Game in 3 of the last 4 of those seasons.. They made the Final4 in the other one.. Out of a combined 80 potential Teams in those Leagues.. That’s INSANE.  This one will sting for a bit but they are going to begin their quest for Back2Back Summer League Crowns — a feat that has never been done in the Chicago Men’s All Sports League — which would be the final piece to the “Dynasty” label.  They didn’t win the Crown but they’ve emerged this Spring as “The Elite” franchise going today..  Team Lalez is the original dynasty (and always will be) but Team Zimmerman is knocking on that door…

Now, to the NEW CHAMPS 6. Team Gutman.. What a ride and what a 2016 this crew experienced.. They flew under the radar for the majority of the year as much of the fanfare was given to Teams seeded #1-5 entering the Playoffs.. So let’s rattle off some crazy statistics about the Champs!  Since Week 10 of the Regular Season, these guys went 14-2! (9-1 in the Reg. Season and and 5-1 in the Playoffs).. For those thinking, they may have had an “easy road” to the Championship, well you are wrong.. 1) There’s no easy road with the amount of talent in this League and 2) in their 6 Playoff contests they defeated 14. Malvin, 3. Harris, 7. Goldin and 9. Kozin before the Championship.. All 4 of those Teams were among the Final 8 Teams left standing.. Then of course they split the Championship Games with 4. Zimmerman..  That is anything but easy.. These guys just played with a cool sense of confidence and went about their business.. They were more than happy to just win close Games, keep their heads down and take on whoever was in their way.. They were a true Team as numerous guys played key roles in earning this Championship.  As a unit, they will no longer be able to fly under the radar for obvious reasons.. In October, when we begin the 2016-17 season, they will have a fresh target painted on their backs as they wear the Defending Champs label that Team Lalez has so proudly sported for 2 years.. They will also have to do so without Captain Mike who is venturing to NYC this Summer for work. They will certainly have to replace his leadership.. Congrats again to the Champs. Well deserved and in what has easily been the best season All Sports Series has ever seen!

 

Thank you again to everyone for playing. Hopefully see everyone in June for our Summer Leagues and if not, October is just around the corner!

-Holden