The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

NE basketball league championship settled on final game day

By Eric Poe/sports editor

After a taxing season, Team One was crowned NE basketball champion March 9.

Team One defeated Team Five in what turned out to be the championship game, 38-30. If Team Five had won, it would have set up a March 23 rematch to decide the champion because of Team One’s being one game ahead in the standings.

The rematch wasn’t needed as Team One came back from nine points down at halftime, and Team Five faltered down the stretch.

The game started with both teams fired up for the potential championship, not to mention the impending spring break. Team Five players started the game as though they were already at the beach, turning the ball over three times on their first three possessions, going down 4-0 early. They snapped out of it and reeled off 16 straight points over the next 10 minutes with sparkling point guard play from Zach Needler. Team One made a small run at the end of the half to cut the lead to 22-13.

The half ended with some extracurricular activity after a foul call between Team One’s Donovan Baker and Team Five’s Joseph Jones. Both players had to be separated, which may have been a good thing for the diminutive Baker going against the mini-Shaq-like Jones.

The minor scuffle seemed to rile up Team One as the players came out of halftime on fire. They clogged the passing lanes that were previously open and forced plenty of turnovers as they moved to a full-court press.

Team One took its second lead of the game at 24-22 on the back of point guard Justin Burt’s two three-pointers six minutes into the half. Team Five shooting guard Cameron Armstrong tied the game up again, but Burt answered with a drive to the hoop to take a lead Team One would not relinquish.

Team One shooting guard Yasmen Pickens finished in traffic two minutes later to extend his team’s lead to 32-24. Team Five looked defeated, but a quick timeout and team huddle inspired it to eventually pull the game within reach. With 33 seconds left, Yancey Davis of Team Five went to the foul line with his team down 34-30. A made free throw would have made it a one-possession game, but he missed them both and the game ended with a flurry of intentional fouls and desperation threes.

Team One stormed the court at the final whistle, having captured the championship unscathed, going undefeated.

Second-half hero Burt said his team came out much different in the second half.

“We really came together as a team,” he said. “Stamina was the key. We said we had to make them tired. Our whole halftime gameplan was based on intensity.”

Burt said he was glad to have had the chance to make the clutch shots.

“It’s how bad do you want it,” he said. “I had to make them. It was do or die. I was just glad to contribute.”

Team Five’s Jones said the team wasn’t gelling in the second half.

“We were just not on the same page,” he said. “That’s what happens when you get complacent and take the foot off the throttle.”

Team One captain Pickens said the scuffle before halftime fired him up.

“That was a big momentum shift,” he said. “He was picking on the smallest player. As captain, I wasn’t going to let that happen. They beat us in the first half, but we had to beat them in the second, and we did.”

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