Co-Rec Basketball Spring 2013

Hiphopsicles

Back Row: Joane Theopile, Emily Pentzer, Sarah Whateley, Erika Saffer
Front Row:  Benjamin Mohr, Luc Audate, Kyle Morrison

Championship Game Summary
Hophopsicles 60, Ballin' 58

On the night of March 11th, 2013, the UMass Campus Recreation gymnasium glittered with hope, passion, and dreams as three intramural basketball championships were about to play out. three more teams were about to carve out their own special place in the timeless UMIM history books. In the Co-Rec finals, two battle tested teams; Ballin’ and the Hiphopsicles, were ready to grit out 40 minutes of basketball and fight for what they both believed was rightfully theirs. A potential revenge game loomed for the men of Ballin’, as they had fallen a few nights earlier in the men’s bracket to the men of Hiphopsicles. Two key female members of Ballin’ returned to the finals for the second straight year. Unfortunately for Ballin’ they would be without standout guard, Michael Patti for the contest.

Ballin’ hit the court donning their crisp black jerseys, while Hiphopsicles donned their razor sharp alternate white uniforms. Both squads appeared to be ready to go, but the game got off to a bit of a sloppy start with both sides turning over the orange at a rapid pace. Finally Hiphopsicles’ Captain Ben Mohr demanded the ball in the post and made a nice drop step to the baseline for the first bucket of the game. Ballin’s Corey Donlan was not phased however; as great team ball movement found him open in the corner for a three-pointer. Mohr came right back making a smart play to tip up a bad pass from fellow teammate Kyle Morrison and converted a turnaround in the lane. At this point the Hiphopsicles looked ready to try to blow the game open as Ballin’ continued to aimlessly turn the ball over. Emily Pentzer capitalized with a quick jumper at the top of the key. The Hiphopsicles set the tone early, looking to run off of every turnover and rebound as they sent Kyle Morrison long each time, and looked to utilize his athleticism and size to let him attack the rim.

However, with 10 minutes to go until halftime, Jenna Baptista capped off a little run for Ballin’ by making a scoop shot to even the game at 10. Building off of this momentum the game went back and forth until Kevin Cangiano drilled a three in transition to give Ballin’ their first lead of the game, 16-14 with six remaining until the buzzer. Coming off a nifty pass from Shannon Heffernan, Cagniano feeling confident, hit an elbow jumper the next time down,. A few possessions later, Kate Kotfila drew two defenders to her on a rebound and made a phenomenal tip pass to the open Tim Carney who easily laid it up and in for two more. With every minute that passed, Ballin’ was gaining more confidence, as the ‘half court heaves from the Hiphopsicles started to burn them. Ballin’ made the in-game adjustment and began picking them off. Finally Hiphopsicle guard Luc Audate had seen enough and began to take the game over for his squad. He began exerting himself on the offensive glass and drove into the paint at will, drawing contact on consecutive plays for the and-one. However, he was unable to convert on the free throw. The first half of play was capped off by an athletic play by Hiphopsicle forward Erika Saffer, who stole the inbound pass and threw it up to Audate who appropriately finished off the play and the half. With 20 minutes remaining, the scoreboard read Ballin’: 20, Hiphopsicles: 24.

The second half was underway, both teams looking to make the appropriate adjustments to their game plan and capture the coveted championship t-shirt. It was the Hiphopsicles that came out stronger with their continuance of domination on the glass. Morrison, Mohr, and Pentzer all got in on the action and led their team to an offensive splurge. They seized momentum and built a healthy double digit lead.

That is precisely when Corey Donlan decided to take things into his own hands and take over the game for Ballin’. This started with drilling a three to cut the lead down to 10. Then again! Jenna Baptista got in on the scoring fun, driving down the lane lofting it up off the glass for two, and then turns around with a steal to take it the length of the court for another quick one. Just like that with under 10 minutes to play, the lead was cut to 5. Donlan coming off a screen fading away knocked another 3 down. He was unconscious! The large lead once held by the Hiphopsicles was now down to a one possession game. But they would not go down quietly; a pair of baskets by Audate, and one by Mohr pushed the lead back up to eight. Once again Donlan stared into the eyes of defeat and didn’t blink as he stroked a three once more. And another! The Rec Center was jumping as the lead was once again minimized to just two points. Was the magic going to carry Ballin’ to their first Co-Rec championship or would it run out just before the buzzer?

Ballin’ securing a rebound slowed the ball down. Everyone on the Hiphopsicle bench was screaming to make Donlan drive as he cut the pass on the wing. He sure enough drove, taking his defender baseline where two other defenders collapsed down to cut off his progress, that is when he saw Kotfila at the top of the key and he kicked out for an open three attempt. Time slowed as everyone traced the arc of the ball with their eyes. Bang! Ballin’ was up 1! Mohr came down the floor and missed a jumper, with 13 seconds remaining, Ballin’ had only committed 1 team foul, had the possession and was seemingly on their way to riding the Cinderella carriage into the heart of Amherst.

Kotlifa received an outlet pass and drove down the floor uncontested with the seconds ticking away, she went up for a routine lay-up, one that she had hit many times in her life, but this time the bounce didn’t go her way and it rolled off the rim. Pentzer had been hustling the whole way and was there to rip away the rebound. To add to the unthinkable, she was fouled which brought her to the line for two shots. The first one was no good, but she quickly regained her composure and sunk the second one. A last second heave was unsuccessful by Ballin’. Headed for overtime!

Tim Carney got things going in overtime with the first bucket to give Ballin’ the lead and a chance for some redemption. But Mohr was not ready to relinquish this opportunity as he barreled right back into the paint, absorbing the contact and getting the bucket to fall.  After a careless turnover, Saffer received an inbound pass and went the length of the court for another fast break lay-up to give them a 56 -54 lead. Another pass out of bounds gave the Hiphopsicles a chance to ice the game for once and for all. Pentzer set a beautiful screen that freed up Audete to slice the defense for an easy two. Time expired on the next possession as the Hiphopsicles stormed the court full of glee. A valiant effort by Ballin’ in what may go down as one of the best UMIM basketball championships ever. Another one in the books: Hiphopsicles, the 2013 UMass Intramural Basketball Co-Rec Champions.

Ballin'
(Left to Right): Katlyn Kotfila, Michael Patti, Tim Carney, Shannon Heffernan, Kevin Cangiano, Corey Donlan, Jenna Baptiste, Taylor Darmetko