Championship Game Summary
For Free 48, The Commission 33
The Commission, reincarnated from last year’s Holiday Basketball champs Bad Boy Killaz, went undefeated in pool play and beat their first playoff opponent 307 Forever 41-31 to advance to the championship. For Free crushed opponents during pool play, winning each game by 30 points. After winning by forfeit in the first playoff game, For Free disposed of Operation Lockdown 45-31 to gain berth to the final.
The final featured two distinct teams: For Free as a force inside with post player Kitwana Rhymer and forward Dwayne Early, plus long-range shooters Ben Andrews and Tom Verdell. The Commission attacked with a pressing defense and the quick passing game of Claude Seide to sharpshooters Rodney Marcellus and Uchemma Ogbuike.
The first half of the final was dead even. Both teams hit from long range: Verdell nailed a three-pointer and Andrews canned two treys and led his team with 8 first half points. For the Commission, Ogbuike also hit a pair from the arc and was deadly in amassing 9 first half points. The score at halftime was 17-17.
The early stages of the second half began with a complexion similar to that of the first. It wasn’t until the 7-minute mark that For Free’s “sleeping giant” Rhymer came alive to do some inside damage. The plan seemed to be to feed the ball inside and let Rhymer do his thing. This plan worked as Rhymer rammed home two buckets to put For Free up by four. Also coming on strong in the second half was Dwayne Early who collected nine second half points and hit some crucial midrange jumpers.
Uncharacteristic of the Commission was their propensity to foul. Although only successful once from the charity stripe, the Commission put Rhymer at the line six times. For Free ‘s Andrews also went to the foul line and he was nearly perfect, hitting 5/6. With 9:25 left in the game, For Free had built up a mere four point lead, but the Commission never drew any closer. Later, down 37-33 with two minutes left, the Commission hit nary another bucket for the remainder of the game.
Verdell captained his team from the perimeter and For Free reeled off a 48-33 victory. Standouts for the game included the Commission’s Ogbuike who finished top in the offensive points category with 15. Teammate Marcellus chipped in with 10. Early had 11 points to help For Free.