By Sean Kennedy (@PhillyFastBreak)
Luckily Kronum players are used to adapting on the fly because these playoffs have been played under some unusual circumstances. Due to a mechanical failure with the gate at the Maple Zone facility where the rec league takes place, the regulation goals have been inaccessible for use in the indoor arena. With the usual goals stuck outside, the league has instead used the smaller, portable goals, which differ in a few key ways.
First, the chamber area is much narrower, which makes throwing from both the flex and cross areas more difficult being that it is less lateral ground for the wedgebacks to cover. As a result, we’ve seen a higher percentage of scoring both from the ground game within the wedge zone and from dunking the goal zone. The goal zone area has been interesting of the difference in crown rings. Instead of 5 rings jutting out along the top, these goals have three rings straight across. So while entry passes into the goal zone become much easier, it’s also more feasible to defend against dunks and we’ve seen a huge uptick in blocks.
Perhaps more crucially in regard to the different crown ring feature is the canvas backing, as opposed to the traditional plexiglass. With the canvas backing, shots fired at the crown ring have a chance to actually roll in even if they’re slightly off target. As a result, ring shots become much more relatively efficient, especially in conjunction with the added difficulty of scoring into the chamber with the narrower target at which to shoot. Anyway, on to the action.
(1) The Prospectors 59, (4) Bronum 54
Was I saying something about ring shots playing a larger role in these games? Well, on the very first play of the game, Anthony Barbera got the scoring going for the Prospectors by hitting an 8-point kronum. Bronum remained undaunted, however, climbing back into the game and finally earning their first lead late in the first half when Phil Cavalcante fired home a 4-point ring shot. Going into the break, Bronum led 26-23.
With Dan Geiger not in attendance for the Prospectors, even more of the offensive load fell to Barbera, who answered the call with a cross shot early in the second half to put his team back on top. Then, Scott Beegle piled in with the second kronum of the game for the Prospectors. It might have been a death blow for Bronum, if not for the play of Ryan Coyne.
On the ensuing possession, Coyne responded with an 8-pointer of his own to pull Bronum back into contention. Soon after, Coyne pulled something new out of his bag of tricks, lofting a chip shot from the wedge area over the wedgeback’s head and through the ring for 4 points (purportedly the first such chip shot in Kronum history. Suddenly, Bronum found itself up 5 points. That margin still held with just over 2 minutes left, when Big Shot Bob Zane decided the third time was the charm for the Prospectors, nailing the team’s third 8-pointer of the game to re-gain the lead. Bronum would not score a point the rest of the game and the Prospectors moved into the finals.
Just outside 2 minutes left, Bronum still up 5, Bob Zane came through with the 8-point kronum. Bronum would not score a point the rest of the game.
(2) Dirty Mike and the Boys 55, (3) Air Pops 48
Things in the second semifinal got off to a much slower start as the teams battled out a low-scoring, evenly-contested half. The lone highlights in the period came off the arms of Tyler Katz and Joe Petrino, who each converted an 8-point kronum. Still, at the half, it was just 26-24 in favor of the Air Pops.
The Pops picked things up right away in the second half as Mike Quintans took advantage of a late-recovering Boys wedgeback to sink a cross shot off the prime rush for four points. As the second half progressed, it looked as though the Pops had control; the Boys weren’t showing much in the way of life offensively.
Then, the turning point of the game came in a flash as Dan Williams hit an 8-pointer to put the Boys back up 3 with six and a half minutes left. The effect on the team was instantaneous as the rejuvenated Boys squad was suddenly all over the field, finishing back-door dunks and getting to the loose balls. They built a decent-sized advntage for themselves, and although the Pops had a couple cracks at a game-winning kronum in the final minute, they couldn’t make it happen. Dirty Mike and the Boys would advance to the championship game.
(2) Dirty Mike and the Boys 70, (1) The Prospectors 46
Barbera looked to continue his scoring barrage on the evening with a 4-point ring shot early in the frame, but it was one of very few highlights for the Prospectors. The Petrino brothers lit up the scoreboard throughout the half, as both Joe and Dom showed off nifty finishes with the feet in the wedge zone in addition to some big shots from the outside. The Prospectors tried to swarm defensively in the middle but crossers Dan Williams and TJ Kane did a good job maintaining possession and finding the then-open shooters on the outside. Although Luke Dougan converted a penalty shot late in the half for the Prospectors, the Boys kept pouring it on and led 38-24 at the half.
Things only went downhill from there for the men in black as Joe Petrino stayed hot in the second half, first hitting an 8-pointer to give the Boys a 20-point lead. On the team’s next possession, Petrino twisted the dagger with a cross shot while being fouled to stretch the advantage to 24. Unable to solve the active, switching defense of the Boys, in addition to the staunch wedgebacks on the back line, the Prospectors were never able to mount much in the way of a comeback. After a season of highly competitive play and plenty of exciting finishes, the championship contest went the other direction and finished up drama-free. Dirty Mike and the Boys are your 2014 Spring Rec League Champions.