(INWOOD, NEW YORK CITY) – Dyckman Basketball began their playoffs this week but first they had to tie up some loose ends with the reminder of the regular season schedule.
Monday, we saw Brooklyn Stompers take on Ave Life at the tournament’s rain site. Ave Life came out of the gate smoking hot and had a double-digit lead for most of the first half. The second half however, was a different story. The BK Stompers went on a run midway through the second half and climbed back into the game. Led by AJ West’s 20 points (Nevada ’16), the Stompers took the lead and piled it on late, winning 78-64. BK Stompers coach joked after the comeback win, “My guys can take a punch. Your guys can’t.”
Tuesday night we saw Team Kemba and Strictly Business play for their livelihoods in a “play-in” game for the playoffs. Both teams were missing very key pieces to their teams: Kemba-Kevin Punter Jr., SB-Omar Silverio. But Strictly Business added someone who proved to be the difference in the game, current St. John’s forward Bashir Ahmed. Team Kemba did not have an answer for the talented wing, who finished with a game-high 34 points. Strictly Business would go on to win, 84-75 and just barely sneak into the playoffs in their first year of the tournament.
In Tuesday’s nightcap, reigning champs Skull Gang and Dominican Power found themselves in the same predicament as the teams who played beforehand, “win and your in, lose and you go home.” This game was intense from the opening the tip, both teams have huge followings and they were there in full force. Skull Gang had a tight rotation of six players with Shondel Stewart (Talladega ’15) leading the way with a team-high 22 points. Although Dominican Power had arguably the best player on the court, current Villanova forward Eric Paschall (26 points), they could not seal the deal and lost, 75-70.
Wednesday night we only had one game, but boy was it special. This one will be talked about for years to come; with a newly acquired Brooklyn Net etching his name into Dyckman folklore, D’Angelo Russell. Russell suited up with his two new teammates on the Nets, Isaiah Whitehead and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson for A Boogie’s “The Label” versus Strictly Business. This one was the first playoff game of the season and it lived up to the hype. Russell was cold early on and it was Whitehead who was carrying the team. On the opposite side, it was a mystery man named Cairo Brown who gave the pros all they could handle. So much so that The Label needed a game winning three-pointer in overtime by D’Angelo Russell to beat Strictly Business 80-77. Cairo finished the game with a game-high 37 points. Whitehead finished with a team-high 33 points for The Label and Russell finished with 20 points in his Dyckman debut. “The Shot” as some people are calling it, came with time winding down in a tied game during overtime. Russell drained the three and was mobbed by the fans; that moment stole the hearts of NYC and the world, surfacing all over the Internet and television. D’Angelo Russell is officially a Dyckman legend and all it took was one game.
Friday night we had more playoff action. Skull Gang and Rodney Park started the game outside at the park but due to rain they finished the game at the tournament’s rain site. The gym was the perfect place for Skull Gang who had Kyle Anderson in uniform. The current San Antonio Spur finished with 17 points in a 69-51 victory over Rodney Park. Shondel Stewart also chipped in with 17 points for Skull Gang.
Lastly, we saw Team Jimmy Jazz take on Taylor Made at the rain site as well. Again, certain teams are better built to play indoors and this was the case for Team Jimmy Jazz who has a lot of overseas professionals on their roster. Taylor Made has more of a streetball/outside style of play and it did not work versus Jimmy Jazz. Sharp-shooting Kidani Brutus thrived in the gym, connecting on six three’s and leading Jimmy Jazz with 24 points. After a failed comeback from Taylor Made, Jimmy Jazz went on to win 60-50.
Author Miguel Rodriguez has extensive experience covering the Dyckman Summer League
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