#1 SB Battle 110 - #2 Stallions 100
The Richmond Oval always seems to gleam that much more on “Fight for Fall” championship night. The atmosphere in the gym had a mix of excitement and a touch of intensity. The courtside seats were sold out, the premium bleacher seats were taken, the upstairs workout walk was packed, and the VIP section behind the bench and scores table was standing room only.
Both teams took the court with a different tone and attitude. The Stallions were silent in their warmups and game planning. At the other end of the court, SB Battle was bouncy and full of energy. Both teams looked off by one or two players, but as deep as they both are, it didn’t seem to make a difference at the time.
The game started out like a chess match, as both teams looked to see where they could find openings in the opposing team’s defence. The battle tested Stallions took over the game quickly. Quick shots from the outside by Elliot Mason and Jit Lochan where dropping; and Mark Halfnight knocked down open shot after open shot. SB Battle was out of sorts on offence and defence. Wing players had to matchup with the oversized wings of the Stallions which were used to playing inside and out. Mason took control of the first part of the game, knocking down shots from all over the place. SB Battle was not in sync on offence or defence for long stretches in the first half. Gabriel Diggs, Clay Crellin, and Kadeem Willis battled inside to keep SB close, but midway through the half the Stallions led 34-16.
However, then SB found their stride. Their continued attack started to pay dividends with hustle rebounds and trips to the free throw line. Andrew Creightney would knock down a few crucial shots. The comeback was slow, but steady as SB closed the gap to four. The Stallions would hit a jumper to stretch their halftime lead to 60-54.
The beginning of the first half started with Crellin and Mason trading 3-pointers for their teams, but the Stallions would move ahead on some good team passing, and fast break finishes. Kadeem Willis would take a low post move to the middle, drawing contact, making the basket, and getting the foul for a 3-point play. Just as he was shooting the free throws, a much needed reserve rolled up to the SB Battle bench. “The not so secret weapon” Ransford Brempong came walking in, fresh from some where he had to wear a sports jacket. SB Battle seemed to see this all at once, and instant energy filled their sideline. Once warmed up and in the game, Ransford paid instant dividends. After Crellin took on a double team at the hoop for a tough bucket, Brempong would take a charge, Demi Harris would make two free throws, and Crellin would chip in another layup to give SB Battle its first lead of the game.
From the midway point of the second half, it was nip and tuck for both teams. Any mistake was being exploited and capitalized upon by both teams. SB was able to maintain a slim lead on the back of Brempong. The former Canadian national team member singlehandedly cut the Stallions to one shot attempt per possession, and blocked six shots in just one half. On the offensive end, SB got huge contributions from Willis and Glen Gravenguard.
After the Stallions called a timeout, they would mount their last push. Long time founder and captain of the Stallions, Roger Shueng would not go down without a fight. He relentlessly attacked the rim with tough contested finishes. Mason and Lochan would help tie the game at 95 with five minutes remaining in the game. SB would put the game out of reach with a frenzy of good passing and finishes off of fast breaks. Crellin would put the dagger in the game with a made 3-point shot plus the foul for the 4-point play.
SB went on to win the “Fight for Fall” 2015 Championship, and in a well deserved vote, Brempong won the game MVP award.
SB Battle – Clay Crellin 28, Kadeem Willis 20, Gabriel Gibb 18, Demitri Harris 17, Glenn Gravengard 14, Andrew Creightney 8, Ransford Brempong 7
Stallions – Elliot Mason 34, Jit Lochan 24, Roger Sheung 16, Mark Halfnights 11, Brody Greig 10, Luis Ayala 2