The Halfway Crooks are beginning to look like contenders right in front of our eyes. The Halfway Crooks are 2-0 for only the second time in their franchise’s history, and have put together two impressive wins to start their Summer 22 season.

This team has played all six previous Rhode Island Legacy Leagues seasons, and are one of three original franchises that still remain in the league (Werewolves and Lob City). The only other time this team started 2-0 was in the Winter 2019 season. That marked the Halfway Crooks fourth season in the league where they would finish 8-1 and claim the two-seed, only to lose in the Semifinals to the sixth-seeded Werewolves.

The Summer 2022 version of the Halfway Crooks has three players who have been around since the beginning in Jared Hanson, Dylan Lincoln and Joey Zocco. Hanson and Zocco are two of the best shooters in the league, and are the only players in league history to win the Three-Point Contest. Lincoln has yet to play this season, and will add size in the front court to a team that already features one of the league’s best big man in Jeff Winchell.

Winchell and Mike Wilbur join the team from the Orcas, and Wilbur returns to the team he debuted in the Legacy Leagues with during that dominant Winter 2019 season. Marc Belleville returns for his second season on the team after playing in the league since the beginning on Boom-Shakalaka.

The Halfway Crooks needed every bit of experience to fend off the Ozone Boys in Week 2, 66-59, and have been boosted by the play of their newest player, Spencer Freeman. Freeman finished with 22 points and five rebounds, and has been the voice for a team that for the most part lets their play on the court do the talking.

“We do that talking, and it is all fun and games until someone gets dunked on,” Freeman said. “My team really set it up. Big man right here (Jeff Winchell) was a key part right here (to our win over the Ozone Boys).”

Winchell was dominant in Week 2, scoring 22 points while also grabbing 14 rebounds and blocking four shots. Freeman has added 17 and 22 points respectively in his first two games in the league, while clearly still adjusting the lower rims shooting just 37 percent from the floor.

“I just need to get a better feel for playing with my teammates,” Freeman said.

Freeman finding his rhythm on the court will certainly add another reliable scoring threat as well as someone who likes to attack the rim while also being an active defender. The Halfway Crooks are looking to mix that in with the experience and basketball IQ of seemingly every player on their roster in order to make a deep playoff run.

“Even though some of us haven’t played together, we all play smart and unselfish basketball which makes chemistry easier for us in my opinion,” Winchell said.

Chemistry in sports plays a huge roll in team success, and the Halfway Crooks are poised to continue to improve throughout the season as they look to advance to their first Legacy Leagues Finals in franchise history. To do that, they will likely have to get through one of the league’s past champions in the Duje’s Boys and Lob City.

“We are not scared of anyone,” Belleville said. “Combined we all have played in literally thousands of basketball games in our lives. We have seen everything.”

There is one thing Belleville says he is sure no one wants to see standing on the other side of the court in August. Thanks to commissioner Joey Zocco saying it every season, you all should know how the saying goes by now.

“I’d hate to play the Halfway Crooks come playoff time,” Belleville said.