|2K14 SUM CHAMPIONS - FASTBREAK NYC||FBNYC, 9.19.14|
|Short-handed Breakers shock AXA to defend title
In a game no one thought they could win, Fastbreak NYC found a way
MLK HS, NYC -- It's not that the 4th seeded Breakers were huge underdogs entering the playoffs, they were defending a repeat championship. It's that they were coming into this title game without MVP (F) Youssef Hulse who had scored game-winning baskets in both their previous chips. And, they wouldn't even have 6-7 (C) Reid Wittman who was playing his best ball in the post-season.
|The Breakers would have to face a fully loaded AXA team that had manhandled perennial powerhouse BBR in the Semis. AXA was on a roll, entering the game with a no. 2 seed having won 4 straight gms. AXA big man (C) Stedford McLeod had proven to be the league's most dominant big, and the back court combo of (G) Sam Deadwyler & (G) Leonard Lans had been devastating to opposing guards.
It was to be an uphill battle for FBN, except that wasn't. Suddenly an undersized team with no Hulse or Wittman, the Breakers had to adjust their strategy. They went to a zone. McLeod was going to be their toughest match-up, but rather than deny him the ball, FBN defenders stood their ground, and denied guard penetration. They let McLeod to receive the ball, then attacked his dribble when he put it on the floor. FBN was willing to give up the 3 ball, and AXA never capitalized.
It was an effective game-plan as (C) Ezra Hoover and (F) James Bartlett also made it tough for AXA to finish around the basket by using their length to challenge shots. Missed opportunities started to wear on AXA, making them press a bit too hard on offensive and defense. Their pressure D, typically very opportunistic, seemed mostly out of position as FBN broke the press by passing over the top of double teams and finding either a streaking (G) Pat Armstrong or (F) Will Haile to finish. FBN held a shocking 39-20 lead going into the half, and they were going to need every bit of it.
AXA wasn't going away quietly. Even as McLeod struggled in the 1st half, they continued to go to him in the 2nd. And, he was punishing an FBN front-line that was getting tired. Before the end of the 3rd qtr, they fouled out FBN (C) Ezra Hoover who was playing his best game all season. This was AXA's chance. Their defensive intensity picked up, but more important was their hustle on the offensive boards led by Deadwyler and (F) Kareem Merrick. They dominated FBN on the glass, and McLeod took over, scoring 16 of his team-high 21 pts in the 2nd half. But, despite the effort, AXA still wasn't making shots at a high rate, and the window was starting to close as time was running out.
In the 4th qtr, AXA got it as close as 6 pts, but no closer. FBN (G) Garrett James found a way to score every time they needed to hold off AXA. In the final minute, AXA put FBN on the line 8 times to extend the game. They made 6, just enough to hold on to perhaps the most unlikely championship win in FBNYC history. -- FBNYC [Boxscore]
|2K14 SUM Championship Preview (2) AXA vs (4) FBN||FBNYC, 9.17.14|
(2) Team AXA vs. (4) Fastbreak NYC | Wednesday (9/17), 9:45pm @ MLK HS
NEW YORK CITY -- Early on, neither of these teams looked like real contenders, but eventually both hit their stride, each winning their last 4 gms. Both carry veteran rosters meaning it won't necessarily be the team that starts strongest, but which team makes the better adjustments.
AXA is a physically powerful team that leads with two athletic guards that are as tough on defense as offense. Then they hit you with (C) Stedford McCleod, the league's most dominant big man. Able to score inside and out, he'll be the toughest match-up for FBN. Virtually unguardable.
The Breakers aren't very athletic, and now with two-time MVP (F) Youssef Hulse and 6-7 (C) Reid Wittman out of the line-up, they aren't big either. They do, however, have good overall team speed, and will have to use it to push the tempo on an AXA team that lapses on transition D.
Given the circumstances, AXA is certainly the odds on favorite to win, they just have too much fire power for FBN to handle. But, expect the Breakers to put up a good fight. In a 1-game elimination and with the old legs no both rosters, you never know what could happen. -- FBNYC
|(G) Seth Dyer
||(G) Ren Hsieh
||Dyer is a veteran leader & shooter who AXA needs to direct & spread the floor. Hsieh is the floor general for FBN, any points they get from him is a bonus.
|(G) Sam Deadwyler
||(G) Garrett James
||Deadwyler may be the most disruptive defender in FBNYC history. The ball is never safe around him. James will have to carry the load for FBN, and if he can get his 3 to fall, it will open things up.
|(G) Leonard Lans
||(F) Will Haile
||The addition of Lans is what catapulted AXA to contender status. His all-around talent can carry this team in stretches. Haile is the quiet assassin for FBN. He does all the little things.
|(F) Kareem Merrick
||(F) James Bartlett
||They don't call plays for Merrick, but he does a good job of getting himself in the game with hustle plays. Bartlett is a great help defender, but FBN is at their best when he can knock down the 3.
|(C) Stedford McLeod
||(F) Ezra Hoover
||McLeod was Premier's most dominant big man this season. He's the complete package, only stamina is an issue. With no Hulse or Wittman, Hoover must now fill in. They need a big one from him.
(G) Jon Yevin
(F) Hayden Duncan
(F) Roger Redhead
(G) Pat Armstrong
|Team AXA is suddenly very deep on the bench with captain Jon Yevin returning. They bring in more veteran know-how. FBN's Armstrong alone is good enough to start on any team, but he's alone.
|Speedball 4-on-4 League Kicks Off Sunday, Sep 21!||FBNYC, 9.12.14|
|2K14 SUM Playoff Results - Semifinals||FBNYC, 9.11.14|
SPRING 2014 PLAYOFF RESULTS - SEMIFINALS
|(2) Team AXA
|(3) Basketball Reasons
|Player of the Game
Sted. McCloud (AXA) 19 pts, 8 reb, 2 ast
|(4) Fastbreak NYC
|Player of the Game
Garrett James (FBN) 25 pts, 4 ast, 3 stl
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