The Summer 23 Finals are set, and the last two teams standing set up what should be a physical battle on Tuesday night. The Finals features the last two original teams that played in the first Legacy Leagues Rhode Island season back in the Fall of 2017:
Lob City, formerly The Alliance and Green Squad, is looking to win their third championship in a row, while the Halfway Crooks are looking to close out a great season with a win in their first Finals appearance.
Jeff Winchell and the Halfway Crooks are ready to go and know precisely what they need to do to come home with a win, which includes getting the ball to the open man, putting good shots up, and playing as a team.
“Our chemistry is there now, and we’re looking to continue to play smart and unselfish ball,” Winchell said.
The big question about this game is who will win the positional matchups. Jose Mercado has been one of the best players all year as he has been averaging 28.8 points per game along with 5.0 rebounds per game. He is also ready for this game as he knows that the Halfway Crooks have two very dominant big men in Jeff Winchell and Devon Pina, who are each averaging 12.3 and 17.0 points per game respectively. Mercado says he stays confident and ready.
“I believe if we focus on our defense and kill them early with our fast breaks, it will overwhelm their bigs leading to mismatches all over the floor,” Mercado said.
To come out with a win, the Halfway Crooks know that they need to slow down Jose Mercado, but they also know that he is not the only player they need to focus on. Lob City is filled with top talent like Colin Burns, Carl Lee, and Cody Crawford to name a few. It is going to take a full team effort in the Finals.
“Jose is very good,” Winchell said. “He is arguably the best player in this league, but it’s not just about stopping him.”
On the other side, Lob City has its game plan for the championship. Mercado stated that he “will be facilitating more,” focusing on giving his teammates better looks.
These two teams have met once before in Week 5 when Lob City won by just one point. Winchell thinks that the previous matchup was not a good representation of the two teams since both teams had players missing in that matchups. Winchell was not there for the Halfway Crooks, and Burns missed that game for Lob City with an injury.
Lob City’s mindset for the big game is confidence and that the end is what counts.
“The only score that matters is the final score, and respectfully, I don’t see myself scoring under 30 points,” Mercado said.
The Halfway Crooks have been improving each week and are one game away from proving they are deserving of playing on the biggest stage. The Halfway Crooks look to be fully healthy and equipped for this game, but it may be their mindset as a team that is the difference.
“Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve played with a growing confidence,” Winchell said.