By Tyler Krusz | Photo Courtesy of Alex Denner/Legacy Leagues
Legacy League Summer 18 Playoffs: Finals (Tuesday, August 21st at 8PM)
#1 Boom-Shakalaka (10-1) vs #2 Lob City (10-1)
First Matchup: Lob City defeated Boom-Shakalaka, 86-82, in Week 6
Second Matchup: Boom-Shakalaka defeated Lob City, 92-80, in Week 8
Current Streak: Boom-Shakalaka (W5), Lob City (W1)
Highest Power Ranking: Boom-Shakalaka – 1, Lob City: – 1
Standout Performers: Nate Stichell averages 24.3 PPG for Boom-Shakalaka, while Lob City’s Cody Crawford leads the league with 29.4 PPG
Here we are. To no one’s surprise, Lob City and Boom-Shakalaka meet in the Finals after splitting the regular season series and finishing with near-perfect records. Both teams are coming for the trophy with a full head of steam in what is a rematch of not only last season’s double-overtime championship game, but the Fall 2017 Finals as well.
To get here, Boom-Shakalaka had to take down the Werewolves without star forward Trevor DiMicco. They had to come back to win, but were able to advance thanks to the late scoring of both Nate Stichell and Marc Belleville, who came up huge in the 23-point fourth quarter effort.
For Lob City, their Semifinal was a lot like their other games this season, as they took out the Halfway Crooks, 81-52, behind 32 points from Cody Crawford.
Lob City took the first game of the season series against Boom-Shakalaka with a short bench and a lot of help from Michael Palumbo, who had arguably his best night of the Summer season. Not only did he put up 30 points on 57.9 percent shooting, but he locked down MVP-candidate Nate Stichell. Stichell finished the night with 15 points on 29.4 percent shooting as a result of a quiet second half.
With Palumbo missing from the second matchup, Stichell was able to do his usual thing, scoring 31 points en route to a victory. Lucas Martin helped with 22 points after scoring 25 in their first encounter, and DiMicco added 20. Boom-Shakalaka looked like a different team in Week 8’s victory, connecting on a higher rate of shots while controlling the tempo of the game.
The one thing that may scare Lob City is how Crawford has scored against Boom-Shakalaka. While he can drop 50 on anyone at anytime, Crawford was held to 19 in the first contest and 16 in the second. Lob City does have plenty of guys who can handle the scoring load, but nothing beats Cody Crawford when he’s shooting lights out from downtown.
Darius Debnam missed the Semifinals for Lob City, but looks to return in time to match up against Boom-Shakalaka’s Trevor DiMicco down low. Controlling the rebounding battle is the easiest way to control the game, and whichever front court can succeed there should give their team a huge advantage. Victor Kashouh. Jr. could be an X-factor, as his athleticism around the rim and accuracy from outside could cause issues for Boom-Shakalaka’s defense.
Greg Holt and Lucas Martin match up extremely well at the point guard position, and are both coming off extremely impressive Semifinal games, with 22 points apiece. While Martin is most effective scoring the ball, Holt was the league leader in assists this season and can make a huge impact with his passing ability. Lob City rarely misses open looks, and if Holt isn’t held in check, they could heat up quick.
And, of course, a Finals preview would not be complete without mentioning the effect Marc Belleville has had on Boom-Shakalaka since rejoining the roster. Belleville only played in three regular season contests, averaging 12.3 points in those three, scoring 17 in Week 7 and 18 in Week 9.
However, he has been nothing short of spectacular in the postseason. Shake N’ Bake couldn’t handle him in the Quarterfinals and he led the team with 29 points. His 25 against the Werewolves were crucial to the team’s Semifinal comeback. While Lob City may be planning for Stichell, Martin and DiMicco, letting Belleville loose has proved to be a costly error.
If both teams are healthy and present, the Finals may be just as exciting as last season’s double-overtime thriller. These two teams have played each other a total of seven times in the past three seasons, with Boom-Shakalaka coming out on top for the first time this year.
One common theme between these two teams is their ability to score in bunches. Expect the Finals to be a high-scoring game, with a lot of the points coming from behind the arc. Whichever team gets hot from three will have a great shot at being crowned champs.
Barbosa: Lob City
Mike: Lob City