2015-16 Chicago Hoops – Playoffs Week 2 (Apr. 10)

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Updated: April 12, 2016

March Madness has nothing on April Absurdity (except for catchiness, but work with me here..).  Sunday Night saw more Playoff upsets than we’ve ever seen in the Hoops League’s 3 years.. We had 10 Games (as is normally the case) on Sunday Night.  4 ELIMINATION GAMES + 6 Games between Top 10 Seeds..  The Lower seeded Teams won SEVEN of the Ten Games on Sunday Night..  Even more remarkable, each and every Top 4 fell on Sunday Night.. Where does that leave us?  Only 4 Teams stand without a Loss.. 6. Team Gutman and 7. Team Goldin.. Oh, and last year’s Championship combatants 5. Team Lalez and 9. Team Kozin, who will play once again this coming Sunday Night!  More on that in just a bit.. Here’s a link to the updated Playoff Bracket!

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 we’re announced last week!  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.

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 2 Review

ELIMINATION GAMES 

11. Team James-Hagari (Biaggi’s Red) v. 20. Team Gainski (SLA)

Entering Week 2 of the Playoffs, Team Gainski was hoping to finally get over that hump. They’ve fought all season long and this was their final opportunity.. They’ve improved in the past few weeks and maybe the stars would align for a bit of a Cinderella story.. Unfortunately for them, 11. James-Hagari had other plans and defeated Team Gainski by 5 on Sunday Night.  Jeff Shukis would have 21 on this night and Gerald Jackson, 27.  For 11. James-Hagari they move on to Week 3 next Sunday where they will improbably get a Rematch with 14. Team Malvin (they played in last week’s Opening Round) due to all of the upsets on Sunday Night.  That will be 1 of 8 ELIMINATION GAMES on the slate.. The Winner of that Game will then face 2. Team Bulwa in another ELIMINATION Game immediately following…

As for Team Gainski, they handled their journey with grace.  Many Teams would not have dealt with their adversity so well.. They were pleasure to have around and a group we will likely see back on Tuesday Nights this Summer for the Summer Hoops League. Thanks for playing!

 

16. Team Cohen (Crystal Lake CDJ) v. 17. Team Apuli (Chicago Trolley) 

A true Rivalry in every sense of the word..  These two groups were one unit a year ago, all flying under the Team Apuli banner..  They split into two for this Season and both squads’ Playoff lives came down to this one.. Both groups were saddled with a short bench.. It was a true 5 on 5 Game.. Endurance was going to play a huge role in this one.. Team Apuli would get a lead and keep it for much of the Game.. As the second half wore on Team Cohen did begin to make up ground.. Jake Shlofrock hit a few big 3 balls to cut down the lead (he would end with 29).. Tyler Austin scored 25 for Team Apuli.  With about 10 seconds to go Team Cohen would have the ball down 2..  They were able to get an open 3 attempt in the corner and it was just a bit short.. 44-minutes will do that jumpers..  17. Team Apuli would move on as they won their 2nd Playoff Game in as many weeks.. They’ll take on 10. Team Sternberg in an ELIMINATION GAME on Sunday and the Winner of that Game will face 3. Team Harris right afterwards.. Big night potentially in store..

For Team Cohen, injuries just crushed a season that will leave this group thinking “what if”..  Captain Andy and Co. will not be down for long as they will enter another installment of the Chicago Men’s All Sports League on Mondays and likely Summer Hoops on Tuesday Nights.. Hopefully by then, they will get healthy.  Thanks for playing!

 

15. Team Schwartz (Jam ‘n Honey) v. 18. Team Silver (Kelly Parker HC Gold)

At their best, both of these Teams have the talent to go on an extended run in the next few weeks..  Only one would get that opportunity however.. Both groups traded baskets for much of this one.. The lead changed hands numerous times and never did a lead get to double digits..  Both Teams wanted to stay alive into the 3rd Weekend of the Hoops League Playoffs..  Team Schwartz found themselves up 2 with the ball with about 15 seconds to go..  Team Silver put on a press and managed to force a turnover.. They swung the ball around to the left wing and David Holmes hit the biggest shot of the season for 18. Team Silver. A 3ball that would go down as the Game Winner!  18. Silver will matchup with 8. Team Tucci next Sunday with the Winner moving on and facing 4. Team Zimmerman as soon as the first Game concludes..

For Team Schwartz, it was a tough final Game, but these guys are as good as any as riding the highs and getting out of the lows.  After a somewhat rough start, they came out of their funk and pushed many Teams during the Regular Season. The injury to Austin Brown certainly hurt their overall record and, thus, their Playoff positioning.. It was great to see him return these past few weeks.. They will be back on Tuesday Nights for the Summer Hoops League. Thanks for playing!

 

12. Team UC Booth (Kelly Parker HC Maroon) v. 19. Team Shamberg (Schweitzer Title)

The story all season long for Team UC Booth has been depth. They have tremendous depth on their roster from top to bottom, it’s just a matter of getting everyone to FFC from week to week.. On Sunday, they had a bulk of their core including All Star Victor Ojeleye (who had 22) and as a result they were dynamic.. 12. Team UC Booth won this one going away..  They move on to next week where they will face 13. Team Free Agent in an ELIMINATION GAME, who they played in the Opening Round (due to all the crazy upsets) and try to both get Redemption and Survival.. The Winner of that Game will take on 1. Team Maione in another ELIMINATION GAME.

For Team Shamberg, they came so close last week to pulling the upset before falling in OT.. It was tough to come back a week later.. This core has been together for some time and they’ve experienced some great heights.. They are always a pleasure to have in the League and we hope to see them back soon.  Thanks for playing!

 

NO LOSS BRACKET, WEEK 2, ROUND 1

7. Team Goldin (StudentCity) v. 10. Team Sternberg (Pear Tree Catering)

While the ELIMINATION GAMES are so important much of the buzz was surrounding the other 6 Games on the docket.. The Top 10 Seeds would face-off in 6 Games during Week 2.. The first of those Games were between 7. Team Goldin and 10. Team Sternberg. They met all the way back in Week 1.  Forever ago.. Goldin got a 5pt W on that night. As both Teams entered this one, a potential Game with 2. Team Bulwa loomed for later in the night.. Only one would get that opportunity to stop the streak..

Team Goldin had just 5 Players on Sunday Night.  They smartly realized that to Win they’d have to slow the pace down.. In recent months we’ve seen them get out on the attack.. They use their size and strength on the Defensive end to ignite their Offense.  That’s much harder to do with 5 guys in the rotation.  They went into a Zone and Team Sternberg just never really found a rhythm.   They normally move the ball well and create shots for the open guy but on Sunday Night they just were out of sync.. 7. Team Goldin would win by 10 when all was said and done.. 2. Team Bulwa awaited… Captain DG ended with 21 and Jake Fowler had 20 in this one.  10. Team Sternberg now moves into ELIMINATION GAME territory.. After reseeding, they will face 17. Team Apuli to start next week and the Winner will face 3. Team Harris right after..

 

8. Team Tucci (Esser Hayes Insurance) v. 9. Team Kozin (Camp Ojibwa)

This was a sleeper for Game of the Night.. Unfortunately, for Team Tucci, it just didn’t materialize.. 8. Team Tucci were without All Star and former MVP Alan Tucci as well as a couple other key pieces and a result they just couldn’t keep up with the force that is 9. Team Kozin in the Playoffs.  9. Team Kozin would move on to face 1. Team Maione later in the night. Much more on that below..  8. Team Tucci falls into ELIMINATION GAME territory.. They will have a date with 18. Team Silver on Sunday Night with the Winner going toe to toe with 4. Team Zimmerman in a second ELIMINATION GAME.

 

NO LOSS BRACKET, WEEK 2, ROUND 2

3. Team Harris (DoorDash) v. 6. Team Gutman (Teplitz & Bell)

As we enter this stage of the Bracket, only 8 Teams were left with zero Playoff Losses.  Two of them were of course 3. Team Harris and 6. Team Gutman..  The Winners here essentially move on to the Quarterfinals as they’d need just 3 more Wins to grab the Crown.. The Losers however, fall to ELIMINATION GAME territory and face a much tougher road.. These two squads met just before Thanksgiving, a Game that Team Harris won by nine.  6. Team Gutman had yet to really get going though at that point and they are much stronger Team than we saw back in November..So the stage was set for an epic clash. 3. Team Harris would be without All Star and leading point man Dylan Richter in this one but they welcomed back Brad Tivin from injury..

The shaking up of the Roster in addition to Bye weeks made for a slow start for Team Harris.. Team Gutman were more than ready to take advantage and built a lead, a small one, but a lead nonetheless heading into Halftime.  These Teams would end up trading big shots back and forth.. Marin Kukoc was fantastic in this one for Team Gutman. Mike Goldstein hit a bunch of key 3s for Team Harris to keep them going on the Offensive end.. He would end with 25.  With a few minutes to go it was still anyone’s Game.. Team Gutman made a few shots down the stretch, Team Harris did not.  6. Team Gutman would get the biggest W of their Hoops League careers thus far..  They move on with zero Losses and are in fantastic shape to get to the Championship.  They will face 7. Team Goldin next Sunday!  As for 3. Team Harris, it’s a familiar feeling, they were a bit short-handed for the second straight year, in their Playoff opener.. The difference is, this year, they should be full strength next week and have more than enough to go on a tear..  They will play in an ELIMINATION GAME against the Winner of 10. Team Sternberg and 17. Team Apuli next week.

 

2. Team Bulwa (Le Brocq Lawyer) v. 7. Team Goldin (StudentCity)

2. Team Bulwa came into the Playoffs with an All Sports Series record 15-Game Winning Streak.  After the Regular Season, was Easter.  Then a BYE week for Week 1 of the Playoffs.  So they had a 15 Game Winning Streak for 3 Weeks basically, as odd as it sounds..  The Team that won 15 straight was not the one that we saw on Sunday Night.  They were missing 4 starters for various reasons, two of them All Stars.. To be frank, 7. Team Goldin, who had just 5 guys and we’re missing several of their own didn’t feel too bad for them. At all really.  They had just defeated 10. Team Sternberg and with just 5 guys embarked on their second Playoff Game in 2 Hours..

To start, Team Goldin was feeding off the momentum of their first W and it showed.. 2. Team Bulwa did weather the storm and the Game was close through the early stages.. As the second half ticked away, Team Bulwa struggled to find looks without much of their usual Offensive firepower. Zack Meuser was his usual great self and then some scoring 36, but it was just not enough.. Eventually, 7. Team Goldin wore them down, picked up their 2nd Playoff W of the night and snapped the streak. All Star Alex Filin had a huge 33 and Nick Baumgartner had 25 in this one.  They continue on with No Losses and could be as few as 3 Ws away from the Championship.. They will take on 6. Team Gutman next week! For 2. Team Bulwa, they look to begin a second streak next week, they are certainly capable.. They will play the Winner of 11. James-Hagari v. 14. Malvin in an ELIMINATION GAME.

 

1. Team Maione (popchips) v. 9. Team Kozin (Camp Ojibwa)

Matt Wolk of Team Kozin (via Captain Jason) said on Sunday Night, “the Playoffs don’t officially start until Team Kozin and Team Maione play.”  Well, they started on Sunday Night, and these two Teams added another chapter to their storied Rivalry.. 9. Team Kozin entered this one fresh off of a dismantling of 8. Team Tucci just minutes before.. 1. Team Maione was taking the court for the first time in a few Weeks and entered with a 14 Game Winning streak of their own..

We’ve touched on this during the Regular Season, but this Sunday Night, showed it in ways that words can’t do justice.. Team Kozin, more so than any other in the League, have another gear..  They have a “Playoff Mode” and it really doesn’t matter what their record is or what their seed is coming into the Playoffs.. We saw this last year when they stormed to the Playoffs as the 6 seed.. On Sunday Night, they activated Playoff Mode and were electric.  They went into a zone and were seemingly everywhere at once on the Defensive end.  They held Team Maione WELL below their normal average (were talking like half) as they disrupted passing lanes and ran shooters off the 3pt line.  The Game would stay close as it was a low scoring affair, but in the final stretch 9. Team Kozin would pull away and move on.  Randall Hampton had 19. They will now face 5. Team Lalez in a Championship Rematch next week!  As for 1. Team Maione.. They’ve beaten everyone in this League and most numerous times.. They are just fine and as you can see there were a number of upsets on this night.. They were not alone and they better than anyone have the ability to rebound from this.. They will take part in an ELIMINATION GAME next Sunday as they take on the Winner of 12. UC Booth and 13. Free Agent.

 

4. Team Zimmerman (Biaggi’s Navy) v. 5. Team Lalez (Orunje)

In many ways, coming into Sunday Night, this was THE Game on the Schedule.. 4. Team Zimmerman has had a wonderful year, highlight by Kyle Nelson’s MVP season and of course, then you have the 2x Defending Champs 5. Team Lalez.  The Winner here would put themselves in position to potentially be just 3 Ws away from the Crown.. A feeling both Teams know well.. The Loser, would face a much longer road…

These two Teams met back in March (Week 18) which saw Team Lalez defeat a Kyle Nelson-less Team Zimemrman pretty handedly.. Both Teams were at relative full-strength on Sunday Night and we were set for a true clash of the titans.. Back and forth these Teams went for the entirety of the Game.  There were several momentum swing and several big shots made.. Scott Campbell was great for Team Lalez as was Dave Altman for Team Zimmerman. Kyle Nelson ended with 32. Both Teams did everything they could to get the W.. Team Zimmerman found themselves with a deficit down the stretch and it seemed as if Team Lalez would pull it out.. But, Team Zimmerman would not give up.. They clawed back, hitting big shot after big shot and getting stop after stop.. They’d actually tie the Game at 76!  There were about 10 seconds to go, Team Lalez ball.. They got the ball in the hands of who else, but Dave Gershenzon.. He walked the ball up into the front-court while being pressured by Dave Altman and with a few seconds to go hoisted a bomb that was nothing but net for the Win! 5. Team Lalez had done it again.. Time after time they find a way to get Playoff Ws!  They will take part in a gigantic Championship Rematch with 9. Team Kozin next week! 4. Team Zimmerman heads to ELIMINATION GAMES and they will face the Winner of 8. Tucci v. 18. Silver next Sunday..

 

That’s it for Playoff Week 2, not sure if we will have a crazier week than this.. Thanks again to the Teams that finished up this Sunday and see everyone else next Sunday!

-Holden