Sharks vs Warriors
In the first matchup of the day the Palmarejo Sharks take on the undefeated Plateau Warriors. In a rematch of what some would call the game of the year, the highly anticipated matchup didn’t disappoint in providing a sequel. The Warriors came out hot playing as a team, building an early lead behind the two-man tandem of Joshua “yo-yo” York-Frazer and Andre “Scoop” Jackson. The first half was an uphill battle for the Sharks, with jump shots not falling and turnovers being the biggest statistic the Sharks lead by 13 at halftime. Coming out of halftime the Sharks utilized a new game plan allowing their big 3 of Malik Miller, Joel Almeida and Charles Boozer to get comfortable in the offense. The Sharks cut the lead down to 7 to start the 4th quarter behind Almeida’s shooting and Miller’s interior dominance. The Warriors fed into this run by turning the ball over and not having good shot selection. Frazer had difficulty finding his touch from deep in the 4th but with help from Jackson the Warriors were able to fight back and counter the Sharks run. Thanks to a Boozer jolt of energy and a string of layups the Sharks were within 3 points with 2:24 left on the clock. The Warriors dug deep and fought back with the help of a Frazer 3 and bench play from Cape Verdean role player Brady Fernandes. The Warriors were too much too late for the Sharks to complete their comeback. With a final score of 97-92 the Warriors are now one game away from an undefeated season and the first Praia Basketball League champions.
Panthers vs Volcanico
The second matchup of the day was a “Cinderella” story made from the sport gods themselves. The 0-7 Achada Panthers take on the number two seeded Achada Grande Volcanico in what would seem like an easy win for the Volcanico. The Panthers didn’t see it that way, coming off of a huge upset win over the Ponta D’Agua Gorillas to make it to the semifinals the Panthers are a new team. The game began with high energy, both teams came out firing off at each other. The Panthers proved that they deserved to be there as they build an early lead behind Taras Carters high volume shooting and aggressive slashing. The Volcanico dominant backcourt was quiet to start the game as they come out slow and frustrated. The Panthers were up 10 going into halftime and shocked everyone in the stadium accept themselves as they kept their foot on the pedal. However, the number two seeded Volcanico did not lay down, coming out of the halftime no longer shocked but instead determined to not lose the game. Nasir Core and Jawan Stepney both have huge half as they will the team back into the game with a 9-0 between them cutting the lead down to 1. The Panthers would not let this opportunity slip out of their palms as they heightened the intensity on defense behind Cape Verdean Anderson Gomez and his 34 points the Panthers were to much for the Volcanico to handle in the interior as rebounding and rim protection were major keys in the game. With a couple late game opportunities to cut into the lead and maybe pull a Volcanico miracle out the hat. The luck is cut short as the magic ends on a missed Nasir Core 3 pointer after a hard-fought game. With a final score of 92-84 the underdog story continues as the “Cinderella” Panthers are now one game away from what seemed impossible only one week ago, winning the championship.
Kyler “KT” Thompson
Praia League Analyst