2016-17 Chicago Hoops – Championship Sunday (May 7)

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Updated: May 11, 2017

Two-Hundred and Four Days.  That is the amount of time that elapsed from the first bucket in Week 1 back in October through Sunday’s Championship Games. To say that this has been a long journey and that the Players have invested a lot into this would be a vast understatement.. We entered Sunday with just 3 Teams left standing.  Teams Malvin and Kozin would compete for a spot in the Finals against Team Lalez… We will review all the action but we have to conclude the open with a gigantic Congrats (it’s no secret as you see the image above).. 2. Team Lalez grabbed their 3rd Hoops League Crown in 4 years on Sunday Night. An achievement that is completely unmatched in All Sports Series. Team Kozin gave the a terrific fight but in the end Team Lalez left with their hands held high once again.  The Game Recaps will follow. What an end to our best season yet!

Weekly Highlight Video! Powered by Dr. Jacob D.D.S.

One more thing before we get to the Power Rankings, we have some amazing Sponsors for you this Season including none other than Live Clean Chicago! They are the best Cleaning Service in Chicago bar none and more importantly you can trust them to clean your place (even if you aren’t home). Myself and my family (Holden) use them frequently!  One more brief mention as it’s likely you will want to know..   Also, StudentCity has a new program and Young Professionals are invited! It’s called the Bucket List! They take you on amazing trips abroad.

If you ever want info (and we also get deals!!) from any of our Sponsors just contact Holden@allsportsseries.com

Playoff Review

Semi-Final

1. Team Kozin (Peak Properties) v. 5. Team Malvin (StudentCity)

This was a rematch from a couple weeks ago in the 3rd Sunday of the Playoffs. At the time, neither Team had a Loss and it was a key Game where the Winner would be just one more Win from the Championship and in the driver’s seat.  On that night, Team Malvin stuck around for the entire Game with the favored #1 Team Kozin.. Eventually they’d land in OT and Team Malvin earned the biggest Win of their Season 75-71. Fast forward a bit of time.. Team Malvin would fall in their next Game to Team Lalez while Team Kozin knocked-out a few top-flight opponents in Elimination Games, and they once again were matched-up.. This time with a berth in the Championship on the line.

Sadly, Team Malvin was a shell of the roster we saw just a couple weeks back when these Teams battled during one of the best Playoff Games of the Year. All Star Nate Johnson had gotten banged up the week prior. All Star Matt Merrigan was out of town as was Captain Mike Malvin.. They’d have to go without much of their firepower and depth.. Team Kozin did not feel sympathetic and wasted little time jumping out to an early lead. They knew if they made quick work of Malvin in the Semis, they’d have fresher legs for what could be a marathon night. 1. Team Kozin would advance here to the Championship against Team Lalez.

For Team Malvin, a 3rd place finish in the best League we’ve ever had, is surely an accomplishment. Knowing these guys, and how competitive they are, they will leave with a “what if?” mindset though. They have fared well against both Teams Kozin AND Lalez during the past two seasons, when at full-strength. They owned Wins over both of them this season.. Who knows what would would have happened had they been 100%, but they really should focus on the accomplishments they did have.  This is a group that can win this thing next season. They don’t need to make any improvements. Just need some more luck at the end. Thanks for playing and see you guys this Summer!

 

CHAMPIONSHIP

2. Team Lalez (Hakimian Imports) v. 1. Team Kozin (Peak Properties)

Team Kozin would need to defeat Team Lalez in 2-straight Games to win the Championship while Team Lalez only needed to Win 1 Game, as they came into the Championship with No Losses.

These Two Teams have had more success in the Chicago Hoops League than any other Franchise.  Team Lalez is of course 2x Champs and Team Kozin is the only Team to go to 3-straight Championship Sundays.. This was a Rematch from the 2014-15 Championship.  So much history followed these Teams to this point.. They have had countless battles over the past few seasons and it’s fitting as the Top-2 seeds in this year’s Playoffs that they can have an epic clash of the titans to decide the Crown.

Team Kozin in the back of their minds knew that they needed 2-straight Wins and it’s a mental tug-of-war.. You aren’t going to beat a squad like Team Lalez without going 100% but at the same time, you need enough in the tank to win another Game.. Luckily for them Rashad Singleton arrived for this Game and was completely fresh. Those fresh legs would serve to be very important as the night wore on.. Team Lalez was without Captain and PG Benny Lalez, who has a stress fracture in his foot.. He was suited up for the final night and coaching from the sidelines..

As the Championship began, both Teams were making plays on the Offensive end. It seemed that both groups had answers for the other.. Moving into the 2nd half, it was much of the same.. With about 10 minutes to go, there was a pivotal moment.. Randall Hampton, the All Star Guard, for Team Kozin went up for a rebound and landed on someone’s foot.. He’d roll his ankle badly and he was done for the day.. Team Kozin, would now have to dig even deeper if they wanted to extend the season here.. Team Lalez went on the Offensive and with a handful of minutes to go, grew their biggest lead of the Game.. They were up 9 at one point. Team Kozin had to make a run or it was all over and that they did.. They started to press and trap Team Lalez and it allowed for some easy buckets of their own.. They cut that lead down in a hurry and actually had the ball with a chance to Win the Game.. They could not connect and with the Game tied and the clock reading 0:00.. We went to Overtime! In OT, both Teams would connect from the Free Throw line and still nothing would really separate them.. Double Overtime! At this point both Teams were gassed. All Star Scott Campbell led for Team Lalez with 30 points. Josh Davis had 27 and Mitch Bouie had 18 for Team Kozin. Dave Gershenzon had 20 for Team Lalez. The PTPers were out in full force.. Something had to give here.. Team Kozin would grab the lead in OT2 and was able to get a crucial stop at the end of it. Team Kozin had won Game 1!

With Team Kozin winning Championship Game 1, we were staring down an immediate Rematch between these Two Teams and this time it was Winner-Take-All.  It took 47 minutes for them to decide Game 1.. Into Game 2, both Teams tried going on a first-half run that would defeat their opposition.. However, it wasn’t meant to be.. At Halftime, we were tied (again).. So through almost 70-minutes of basketball between these Two Teams.. Just 1 point had separated them.. Incredible fight from both groups. Team Kozin was entering their 6th half of basketball on the night (including a couple OT sessions).. But they wouldn’t show signs of weakness. They were 22-minutues away from the Crown.. Team Kozin actually would grab hold of the lead.. Michael Halusek had 18 points in this one and many of them came in the second-half.. Team Kozin was up 4 points with about 8 minutes to go.. Team Lalez needed to turn it around and fast, or they were going to let the 3rd Championship that they had been hunting for 2 years, slip through their finger-tips.. Where to turn to other than Dave Gershenzon who has been a rock for them for the past 4 years. He would hit several big shots down the stretch and end with 32 points in the 2nd Championship Game.. They erased the 4pt lead and actually took a lead of their own heading into the final minutes of play.. Team Kozin, who had been playing for a full 3 hours at this point, needed one last push.. They got open looks but the ball just wouldn’t stay down. After a couple made free throws, time had run out on the Kozin comeback this time and Team Lalez was the 2016-17 Chicago Hoops Champions! More on them in just a bit..

As for the Runners-Up, Team Kozin, you will be hard-pressed to find a more impressive final run than what these guys put out there on Sunday Night. Yes, they will be disappointed as for the 3rd year in a row, they get on the podium but leave with the silver or bronze..  It’s extra tough because without that ankle-turn for Randall Hampton who could not play in the second-game, they really could have won the whole thing.  This Group fought so hard and while they didn’t come away with the Crown, will be remembered for an incredible final night. They will return as favorites once again next season.. One of these years, they will get the bounces. Thank you for playing and congrats on an amazing season!

Now for the 3x Champs Team Lalez!  Can you believe that? 3x in 4 years, and with all of the talent that has come through the League since it’s inception.. To be on top yet again, is just amazing. Many figured that when Eytan Azaria went west, that these guys days on top were numbered, but like the Spurs, they re-tooled and figured it out. Scott Campbell came in an had an MVP-caliber year. Brandon Lathon was the perfect pick-up for this group in the pre-season. He after 4 years in All Sports Series and getting so close numerous times, finally holds the Crown for the first time!  To see Dave Gershenzon combine for 50+ points in 2 Championship Games was amazing. These guys took care of business all season long and when it mattered most, made the plays necessary to win the Crown, again.  They will of course enter next season as the hunted, but what else is new. We will see them compete this Summer as they try to add to their historic mantle yet again.. Congrats on once again raising the bar..

 

That’s it for the 2016-17 season. We look forward to seeing everyone over the Summer. October will be here before you know it. Thanks for playing!

-Holden