2015-16 Chicago Hoops – Playoffs Week 1 (Apr. 3)

Updated: April 6, 2016

What a start!  The second season is officially underway and the sprint toward the Crown has turned the first corner.. As we exit Week 1 of the Playoffs, 10 Teams now find themselves on the brink of Elimination, in the double elim. tourney.  4 Weeks of Playoffs remain including the Championship on May 15.  This coming Sunday, 8 Teams will compete in 4 ELIMINATION GAMES and 4 Teams will be knocked out.. Here’s the updated Playoff Bracket.  This week we’re going to Game by Game and see how all the action went down..

Here’s a Link to the Weekly Highlight Video 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!

Last thing before we get to the Review,  the All-Stars have been set!  Quickly, as a reminder the Starters were chosen by the League during the VOTE over the past couple of months.. The Reserves were named by the League Office.  On May 15, along side the Championship, the All Stars will compete in a 3pt Contest and All Star Game (unless they are partaking in the Championship of course..).  A special Congrats goes out to League MVP Kyle Nelson of Team Zimmerman! Kyle, deservedly so, received the most Votes from the Players. He will be one of the two Captains to select their respective Teams on the final night.. Joining him will be the second-highest vote-getter.. Chris Wroblewski of Team Maione.  If either or both are in the Championship, replacement Captains will be named..


All Star Starters – As VOTED on by PLAYERS (alphabetical after MVP)

MVP: Kyle Nelson* – Team Zimmerman

Scott Campbell – Team Lalez

Dave Gershenzon – Team Lalez

Randall Hampton – Team Kozin

Marin Kukoc – Team Gutman

Zack Novak – Team Bulwa

Victor Ojeleye – Team UC Booth

Dylan Richter – Team Harris

Alan Tucci – Team Tucci

Esto Vega – Team Zimmerman

Nick Winbush – Team Bulwa

Chris Wroblewski* – Team Maione

*Co-Captain for All-Star Game


All – Star Reserves – Voted on By League Office (alphabetical order)

Justin Bowen – Team Cohen

Josh Davis – Team Kozin

Brad Deutsch – Team Maione

Alex Filin – Team Goldin

Jeff Howard – Team Harris

Nate Johnson – Team Malvin

Benny Lalez – Team Lalez

Tim Szatko – Team Free Agent

Eddie Tellez – Team Apuli


Playoff Week 1 Review

Bottom 6 Round

15. Team Schwartz (Jam ‘n Honey) v. 20. Team Gainski (SLA) 

Team Schwartz entered their 3rd playoff run in the Chicago Hoops League as whole as they’ve been in 2016.. They got Austin Brown back from the IR and with it a true sense of hope.. They’ve won Playoff Games in years past and were ready to go on a run..  Why not them?  Team Gainski came in with relief.. The Regular Season was officially in the rear view mirror and a clean slate was presented.. Only one could get move on to play 10. Team Sternberg in Opening Round 1 and that was 15. Team Schwartz.  20. Team Gainski moves to the ELIMINATION GAMES next week where they will play for their survival..  Both Jon Sider and Austin Brown had 15 to lead the way for Team Schwartz.. More on them below..


16. Team Cohen (Crystal Lake CDJ) v. 19. Team Shamberg (Schweitzer Title)

Team Cohen came into the Playoffs with a battered Roster that has fallen with many injuries.. They are not ones to just pack it up and go home, so onwards they marched.. #19 Team Shamberg awaited them.. Team Shamberg in years past have made a habit of earning upsets in the early stages of the Playoffs.. Would Sunday Night continue the pattern?  Team Cohen had the lead late into this one but could not ice it at the free throw line.. Missed Free Throws allowed Team Shamberg to mount an insane comeback, spearheaded by a 4pt play from Dan Turner that really shifted momentum late in this one.. He’d wind up with a gigantic 39 in this Game. We got to 0:00 on the clock and when the dust settled, we were all knotted up! Overtime came into play for the first time in the Playoffs.. In the extra session, 16. Team Cohen managed to get a few more to go down and could breathe a sigh of relief as they’d move on to face 9. Team Kozin..  19. Team Shamberg falls to ELIMINATION GAME Territory next Sunday..


17. Team Apuli (Chicago Trolley) v. 18. Team Silver (Kelly Parker HC Gold)

As Cohen and Shamberg were headed to OT on one court, 17. Team Apuli was fighting like crazy to mount a serious comeback… 18. Team Silver came out of the gates quickly, as they spaced the floor nicely and began launching…  AS the second half got going they held a double digit lead..  17. Team Apuli has had their backs against the wall all season long and just 30 minutes into the Playoffs, it’s right where they found themselves.. They are fighters though and that’s just what they did.. Eddie Tellez shouldered much of the scoring down the stretch and with just a couple minutes to go, Team Apuli was within striking distance.. Still, Team Silver held the lead as we reached the Game’s final moments.. Down 4, Eddie Tellez would hit a corner J for 2 and they’d pull within 2.  A missed Team Silver Free Throw and all of a sudden both Teams’ fates were in Tellez’s hands as the clock ticked away.. Instead of going for the tie, he hoisted a 3-ball that would send 17. Team Apuli to the Winner’s Circle! Dan Stone, Rob Kamentsev and Eddie Tellez all went for 20+ in this one.. They’d move on to face 8. Team Tucci immediately in Opening Round 1.  For 18. Team Silver, no doubt it was a tough pill to swallow.. They tasted Playoff victory but just couldn’t close it out.. They head to ELIMINATION GAME territory next Week…


Opening Round 1

11. Team James-Hagari (Biaggi’s Red) v. 14. Team Malvin (Dr. Jacob D.D.S.)

As we mentioned last week in the Playoff Preview, these two evenly matched Teams tussled just a couple weeks back and that is when Jeff Shukis of Team James-Hagari had a put-back Game Winner.. Fast forward to Sunday’s slate where this one had “steal the show” potential as Game of the Night… Early on 14. Team Malvin was determined to not let that be the case though.. They opened up on fire and attacked the bucket with each possession.. Soon they held a big lead and had 11. Team James-Hagari reeling.. As we entered the second half Team James-Hagari began to mount a comeback and cut it to 7 at one point but it was too little, too late.. 14. Team Malvin picked up their first Playoff W and would face 6. Team Gutman in Opening Round 2 later in the evening.. All Star Nate Johnson was his usual self with 22 points and Shaun Albert went for 20 as well. 11. James-Hagari moves to ELIMINATION GAME territory where based on Reseeding they will face 20. Team Gainski next week.


10. Team Sternberg (Pear Tree Catering) v. 15. Team Schwartz (Jam ‘n Honey)

10. Team Sternberg enters their first Hoops Playoff run at #10… They are no strangers though to All Sports Series Playoffs as they certainly have a Championship pedigree…  On Sunday Night they showed why.. 15. Team Schwartz was feeling good and rightfully so following their first W against 20. Team Gainski.. Team Sternberg was able to withstand the initial momentum surge from Team Schwartz and then in the second half stormed ahead for good. Max Shulruff had his best night yet in the Hoops League going for 22.  10. Team Sternberg moves on and sets up a Week 2 battle with 7. Team Goldin that has instant classic written all over it.. They also might have a second Game next week should they defeat Team Goldin.. #2 Team Bulwa will make their Playoff Debut against whoever the victor is.. As for 15. Team Schwartz, they head to ELIMINATION GAME territory.. Next Week, they will take on 18. Team Silver with their seasons on the line..


9. Team Kozin (Camp Ojibwa) v. 16. Team Cohen (Crystal Lake CDJ)

16. Team Cohen’s OT victory over 19. Team Shamberg just minutes prior set up this Opening Round 1 Game with 9. Team Kozin.  As everyone is well aware, Team Kozin was in the Championship Game a year ago and got as close as we’ve seen to knocking Team Lalez from their Championship perch..  These two Teams met all the way back in Week 3 where Team Kozin was able to escape with a 3pt W.. Both squads look significantly different than they did back in October however.. As this one got going, a slow pace dictated much of the first half.. Team Kozin was getting better looks between the two and as result was able to build up a lead on the gassed Team Cohen.. As the clock ticked down on the second half it was clear that 9. Team Kozin would start their run back to the ‘ship with a big W.  They’ll get 8. Team Tucci next Week and the Winner of that Game will face 1. Team Maione later in the night.. Could be a gigantic night in their season next Sunday!  16. Team Cohen drops down to ELIMINATION GAME territory where Reseeding pits them against 17. Team Apuli…


8. Team Tucci (Esser Hayes Insurance) v. 17. Team Apuli (Chicago Trolley)

We touched on it earlier but it bares repeating here.. Playing multiple Games in a night obviously affects not only the Teams who are doing it but their opponents..  17. Team Apuli defeated 18. Team Silver thanks to a crazy comeback.. The Game finished at about 7:55 CST..  By 8:00 CST they were set to tip in this Opening Round 1 contest with the fresh 8. Team Tucci.  Apuli’s crew was feeling great as the Game got underway and this fueled a fast-pace which same them get bucket after bucket.. The only thing with that is… Team Tucci LOVES to run and get the Game sped up.. They are as good of an Offensive Team as there is in the League and the more possessions they get in a Game, the more likely they are to Win.. Team Tucci led 60-50 at half time.. The pace was nuts.. As the second half wore on, Team Apuli finally lost their legs after an hour and a half of Playoff Hoops. Phil Hayes would go for 31 for Team Tucci here.  8. Team Tucci moves on and gets a date with 9. Team Kozin next week.. The Winner will play 1. Team Maione afterwards.. 17. Team Apuli goes to next week’s ELIMINATION GAMES and will take on familiar foes, 18. Team Cohen.


12. Team UC Booth (Kelly Parker HC Maroon) v. 13. Team Free Agent (VIP Express Limo)

Both Teams knew they were capable of extended runs this Spring but only one could move on without a Loss in their Opening Round 1 Game.. They battled back in October and we highlighted this match-up as one to watch last week in the Preview.. Team UC Booth were without All Star Victor Ojeleye and Brandon Maslar and they missed both greatly.. Team Free Agent controlled much of their first Playoff contest and when the clock struck triple-zero it was 13. Team Free Agent moving on to face the 2x Defending Champs 5. Team Lalez later in the night.. All Star Tim Szatko had 20 in this one.  12. Team UC Booth moves to an ELIMINATION GAME with 19. Team Shamberg next week..


Opening Round 2

6. Team Gutman (Teplitz & Bell) v. 14. Team Malvin (Dr. Jacob D.D.S.)

While we had some Game-Winners and an OT Game on Sunday Night.. This one takes “Game of the Night” Honors.  It was a hard-fought close Game that both Teams so desperately wanted.. For 44 minutes there was never a clear cut victor.. Let’s back up a touch.. 14. Team Malvin had earned their spot in this Game after defeating 11. Team James-Hagari in Opening Round 1.  6. Team Gutman entered Opening Round 2 fresh and ready to partake in their first Hoops League Playoff action..  No Team ever took a huge lead in this one.. They traded spurts but again, it was anyone’s Game.. As we drew closer to the conclusion, Team Gutman, held the lead but struggled to ice the Game at the Free Throw line..  Team Malvin had an opportunity to tie or take the lead in the final 15 seconds of the Game and a lay-in rimmed around and out.. Shortly after 6. Team Gutman would finally ice it and pick up the 4pt W. Andy Marks had himself a day, scoring 21 on Sunday.  They’ll take on 3. Team Harris next week in an epic showdown.. 14. Team Malvin will actually have the week off as we need to have the first set of ELIMINATION GAMES and allow the Winners to catchup to where Team Malvin is in the bracket.. They will be back at it on April 17.


5. Team Lalez (Orunje) v. 13. Team Free Agent (VIP Express Limo)

The 2x Defending Champs began their march towards All Sports Series’ very first 3peat on Sunday Night. They are doing so as the #5 overall seed which is the lowest they’ve ever entered the Hoops League Playoffs.. It’s a testament to the absurd depth that the League has.. Their competitors, #13 the Free Agents, who were fresh off their first Playoff W as a unit.. They defeated #12 UC Booth to start the Night..  When at full strength the Free Agents are much better than their seed would indicate and had they been afforded the luxury that most Teams are (knowing each other from the jump) they would have been a single digit seed.. That being said, both Teams now find themselves in the same spot and staring at a potential date with #4 Team Zimmerman next week..

This Game was extremely physical as many Playoff Games happen to be.. Each Rebound was fiercely fought for and both Teams really brought it on the Defensive end.  When all was said and done the Champions were able to wear down the tired Free Agents and come away with their first Playoff W in 2016. This of course sets up a huge rematch between 5. Team Lalez and 4. Team Zimmerman next week!  The Free Agents will get an extra week to recuperate from their Double Header.. They are in the ELIMINATION GAME zone but must wait for the first set of those Games to take place.. They return on April 17.


That’s it for the Opening Rounds of the Playoffs. Week 2 will see the return of the top seeds to FFC.  See you Sunday!