Season 3 of the Ellwood City Basketball League is officially in the books. What a wild scene it was at the Family Center throughout the playoffs, and wild has never looked so good!
To get the playoffs started, the first ever League MVP was announced. With each Team Captain putting forth two votes; neither vote being one of their own team members, it was Chris “King of the Castle” Smiley who emerged as the MVP, narrowly edging out Anthony “The Most Docious” Ovial. Smiley was the backbone of Turncoats throughout the season, helping them to a league best 16-2 regular season record. Congrats, Chris!
How about Up In The Air? Flying under the radar most of the season, Team Captain Matt “Cadillac Matt” Reider and his band of bandits came to play in the playoffs. In what many industry analysts are calling the two best games of the season, Up In The Air first put on an overtime Thrilla like Manilla against TTT. The three point shots were raining down in this one. It was a great display of back and forth buckets from downtown that made the atmosphere electric without any local residents’ bills going up. Up In The Air escaped with a 40-38 victory and moved on to play the number one seeded Turncoats.
In what was another show down for the ages, Up In The Air and Turncoats battled it out to the very end in an instant classic. After trailing most of the game, Turncoats turned it up late to pull away with the 40-37 victory. What a game and what a playoff performance from Up In The Air. Turncoats let out a big Martin Lawrence woosah after the game.
The defending league champions Big Fun advanced past BDI in the first round, with Hog Balls and Blazers also knocking off their first round opponents. The semi-finals came down to Big Fun vs. Hog Balls and Turncoats vs. Blazers. To no surprise, these four teams were the top 4 seeds going into the playoffs, all with strong performances in regular season.
Hog Balls hand delivered defeat to Big Fun, while Blazers continued their improbable run with a semi-finals playoff victory over the heavily favored Turncoats. The finals stage was set. Tickets were punched. Emotions were running deep as ocean’s exploding. Season 3 of the Ellwood City Basketball League came down to this: Hog Balls in red. Blazers in purple. Put up or shut up. But before these squads of ballers faced off for the biggest prize in Ellwood City, the annual 3 point contest was in full swing.
Twenty of the league’s best shooters showed up with hopes of knocking down 3’s from every which way. The top 3 shooters would advance from the first round to shoot it out in the finals. That is, of course, if there was not a tie. With an array of shooting talent, it was no surprise to see a four way tie in the first round. Kevin “Darkness” Ricciuti, the runner up from last season’s 3 Point Contest, Nick “Rain Man” Sager and Shaun “Pop Diesel” Conner all tallied up 18 points in the first round.
In a major surprise, Broc “The Brahma Bull” Boariu made his triumphant return to the Family Center to defend his 3 Point Contest crown from a season ago. Boariu, the current Ellwood City Wolverine stud muffin, was hitting shots with ease to cruise into the finals with 18 first round points.
All four sharpshooters’ slates were wiped clean for the finals and they were ready to drop bombs again. When the gold dust settled, it was Nick Sager who raised the bar with his 25 points to capture the 3 Point Contest Championship.
After claiming bragging rights as the top shooter in all the land, Sager stated “I didn’t even shoot that well.”
On to the league championship game we went. What a game it was! The finals saw everything you would want to see in a high stakes game: Drama. Emotion. Chirping. Physicality. Big shots. More chirping. Intensity. Great back and forth action and some chirping to top it off. The championship game was a whale of a game indeed.
In the end, it was Hog Balls who rose to the occasion, escaping with a 36-35 victory to etch their name into the history books. Corey “The Gravedigger” Eggleston, DJ “Boomerang” Barrett, Nino “G’z Up” Greco and the rest of the Hog Balls finish their championship campaign at 16-5. Good work, fellas! The Ellwood City Basketball Committee caught up with Brandon “Chirps” Otlowski after the game who stated “Haters gonna hate.” The Hog Balls are already enjoying their view from the top of the mountain.
Thank you to everyone who helped make season 3 a success! Shout outs go out to Mike “Esquire” Smith of Big Fun who was at the helm of things all season, Pretty Ricki from the Family Center for hosting the league and all the great talent who made for a fun and competitive season. Over and out.
Photos & information provided by Matt Boffo
VISIT EC ADULT BASKETBALL LEAGUE PAGE: http://ellwoodcity.org/ellwood-city-adult-basketball-league/