(INWOOD, NEW YORK CITY) – Week 10 marks the start of the 2016 playoffs. Only 12 teams make the cut, with the top two teams in each division receiving a bye in the first round. In the East Division it was #1 Skull Gang and #2 Ave Life, and in the West it was #1 Rodney Park and #2 Team Rema Rozay. But before we could actually get the playoffs underway, we had some unfinished business between two teams tied at the bottom of the standings with exact records (2-4). On Monday night Showstoppers/TMT and The Label battled it out for the #6 seed in the East Division.
Showstoppers 73, Label 61
Originally scheduled for Saturday night, this game was pushed back to Monday due to rain. Showstoppers came out of the gate hot, getting the momentum on their side early. The Label, who was missing two of their biggest pieces in Kareem Canty (Auburn ’16) and current Seton Hall Pirate Desi Rodriguez, struggled offensively and trailed 38-26 at halftime. In the second half, Showstoppers blew the game wide open. Basil Harley (Mohawk Valley ’15) led the way for the Harlem-based Showstoppers with 21 points.
#3 Jimmy Jazz 70, #6 Taylor Made 60
Jimmy Jazz just nearly missed earning a first round bye in their first year in the tournament. However, they made quick work of a undermanned Taylor Made squad. Taylor Made’s key player Stanley Cespedes (Hostos ’15) did not arrive well into the second half and by then it was too late. Ex-Dallas Maverick Jarrid Famous was too much to handle and finished with a game-high 19 points for Jimmy Jazz.
#5 Team 914 72, #4 Team Kemba 59
Not sure if you can call the #5 seed beating a #4 seed an upset, but this one sure did fell like it. Especially when Team Kemba added two very big names in Durand Scott (Miami ’13) and Curtis Kelly (Kansas State ’11) for the playoffs. The chemistry between Team Kemba appeared to be off and they got into a hole early. Antoine Mason (Auburn ’15) led a balanced Team 914 attack with 25 points as they cruised to a 13-point victory.
#6 Showstoppers 63, #3 Heavy Reign 53,
Sometimes being too well-rested for the playoff push can be a problem and this appeared to be the case when Heavy Reign took on Showstoppers. Still riding high off of their victory against The Label, Showstoppers showed up to play with that same intensity. Heavy Reign on the other hand looked off. They were missing their point guard Domo Jones to a hand injury and brought in Aquille Carr to fill in his shoes. While “The Crimestopper” gave the audience a show (20 points), it wasn’t enough to beat the emotionally revved up Showstoppers. Kevin Josey (SUNY Maritime ’10) led the way for them with 18 points.
#4 Dominican Power 70, #5 Stay Strong Ent. 65
The final matchup of the first round was between Dominican Power and Stay Strong Ent. Many thought Cleanthony Early or Derrick Williams were going to suit up for Stay Strong but that was not the case. The guys that did show up could not find an answer for current Villanova wing Eric Paschall. Paschal was doing any and every thing he wanted to do out there, on his way to a game-high 24 points. Stay Strong did try and make a strong push towards the end but Dominican Power managed to right ship and get the “W”.
#2 Ave Life 52, #6 Showstoppers 47
The reigning defending champions Ave Life found themselves against a red-hot Showstoppers squad. This was heavyweight slugfest, by halftime neither team had scored more than 20 points. Things did pick up a bit in the second half. For Ave Life it was regular season MVP Jordan Aaron (Milwaukee ’14) shouldering the load en route to a game-high 29 points (20 in the second half).
#1 Skull Gang 89, #5 Team 914 74
Top-seeded Skull Gang defeated Team 914 pretty handedly in their first game of the playoffs despite Antoine Mason (Auburn ’15) going for a 2016 season high 39 points. Shondell Stewart (Talladega College ’14) and company ran a balanced attack to counter the one-man wrecking crew that was Antoine Mason.
#1 Rodney Park 70, Dominican Power 58
Lastly, we saw an undefeated Rodney Park bunch take on the home team Dominican Power. Both teams are constructed entirely differently, Rodney Park consists of older veteran street ball players, where as Dominican Power goes young and has a large number of their guys still in school. At Dyckman and especially in the playoffs, experience rules. Kavon “Happy Feet” Lytch finished with a team-high 19 points for Rodney Park.
#3 Jimmy Jazz 80 #2 Team Rema Rozay 72,
These two Harlem-based teams provided us with a great quarterfinal game. Rema Rozay was missing some of their key guys and suited up Top 100 high school player Brandon Randolph. They also had Steven “Abby” Ruple in uniform, who always gives them a chance to win ballgames. After a tight first half, Jimmy Jazz started to distance themselves in the second half with hot shooting from the perimeter. Nate Brown (St. Peter’s ’03) hit three three’s and Jomo Belfor finished with 4 three’s himself. The deciding factor in the game was Jimmy Jazz’ addition of Emmy Andujar (Manhattan ’15) who finished with a 14-point, 10-rebound double double.
Stay tuned for Week 11, the final chapter of the 2016 Dyckman Basketball season.
Author Miguel Rodriguez has extensive experience covering the Dyckman Summer League
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