History has a way of repeating itself.
The biggest X-factor of this Semifinal matchup was Shocker City’s team chemistry. Throughout the season they often played against themselves rather than their opponents. This wasn’t the case Monday night as they cheered each other on from the bench and utilized great communication on the court.
“I’m a competitor,” Kintwon Miles said. “My teammates know that. If it’s getting loud or whatever, they know how to quiet me and shut me up. You see what we did? We came out no bickering, no nothing. That’s what we do, we know how to come together.”
The game was played in the presence of the Legacy Leagues Championship trophy on display, a token to remind everyone of the history between these two teams.
“They’re 0-3 in the playoffs against us, so you could say it’s a rivalry, but…” Carmine Santorelli said, shrugging off the notion that Run TMC compares to them in the postseason.
Santorelli hasn’t had a stellar season like the five-time All-Star is typically known for. So far, he’s totaled 173 points and averages 15.7 PPG, the second lowest of his Legacy Leagues career. He also didn’t have a strong performance in the double-header to close out the regular season, although he showed up big time when he was needed most as he faired well going toe-to-toe against Reggie Stewart.
“Reggie is a good player,” Santorelli said. “He’s a tough shot-maker, but I knew I had to play. I’ve played bad all season and I wasn’t going to let it happen again in the playoffs.”
Santorelli led the charge for Shocker City with 20 points, four rebounds, and three assists. He played lockdown defense, lit up three-point shots in the second half, and made crucial free throws in overtime. Although Santorelli held his own against Stewart, Stewart dropped a game-high 27 points.
David Armstrong returned to the court after missing some regular season games. Playing through a knee injury, having him in the paint was huge for Shocker City.
“You see it in presence, he’s the best big man down low,” Santorelli said.
Many players urged Armstrong to take it easy and rest, but he wouldn’t have it, not with the Championship on the line against top-seeded Run TMC. Armstrong came up with 10 rebounds, the second most next to Tarell Vargas’ 11.
It’s clear that Shocker City is once again a unified front. With everyone seemingly on the same page now, they will look to defend their title against the second-seeded Flint Tropics in the Finals on August 19th.