Jeurys Familia Starts Their Run to the Three-Peat
GARDEN CITY: Quarterfinals Predictions
By Anthony Leo | Garden City Co-League Coordinator
(1) Shore Shack vs (8) Ref Elites
The Ref Elites won their play in game last night over the Monstars and their reward is a matchup with the number one seed Shore Shack. Shore Shack finished the regular season 7-1 and in the one game they lost their two best players weren’t even on the court. They are undefeated when Chris Frey and Chris Pisciotta are on the court together and they are a duo that is incredibly difficult to stop. Ref Elites and Shore Shack faced off just last week it was a close game that was high scoring.
However, Shore Shack got a win even without Frey not being there. Both teams have a strong duo that lead the way, but the depth of Shore Shack is what has made them so good this season. They have arguably the league’s best starting lineup with Craig Rallo, Will Hennep and Mohamed Ibrahim joining Frey and Pisciotta. All together they finished second in points per game and points allowed and 1st in team assists. If the Ref Elites want a chance to win this game they need to be physical and not allow Shore Shack to get out and run.
PICK: Shore Shack
(2) Jeurys Familia vs (7) Savage Storm
Jeurys Familia finished the season as the number two seed and they will start their playoff run tonight as they try for the three-peat. They are the back to back draft league champions and in the playoffs, they always find a way to get the job done. Tonight, their first test will be against Savage Storm who they played in week eight. In that matchup Jeurys Familia had a tough time defending Matt Mehler who scored 31 points, but they got a 93-76 win.
Savage Storm has been up and down all season, but they get a fresh start tonight. With a win all the noise of the regular season struggles goes away and they are known as the team that upset the back-to-back champions. In order to pull off the upset they need to control the shooters around Mike Mastro. If Savage Storm doesn’t keep track of Jordan Oringer and Julian Delvasto it will be a long night for Savage Storm. Offensively Savage Storm needs Matt Mehler to have another big game and help from guys like Willis Cheatham and Mark Thomas who can score the ball. We’ll see if Savage Storm can get the full team effort that they will need to win this game.
PICK: Jeurys Familia
(3) Threat Level Midnight vs (6) CST Elite
Threat Level Midnight was led all season long by Donte Howell who is well in the running for MVP this season after leading the league in scoring at 33 per game. Howell dominated games and helped lead this team to a 6-2 regular season record. Threat Level Midnight earned the three seed because of their team defense. In a very talented and competitive league they lead the league in points allowed at only 68 per game. They have a versatile team with an athletic big man who can rebound, score and push the ball to start the break. Brandon Perez has been everything and more that Howell could have hoped in a co-captain. The numbers offensively wont pop off the screen, but Perez does all the necessary things for this team to win.
Tonight, they have to deal with a big CST Elite team that has a monster front court. Rob Sargeant leads that front court standing at a healthy 6 ft 7’ with the ability to rebound, dominate the paint and push the ball in transition. He’s a matchup nightmare for opposing teams. The key to this game for CST Elite is the guys around Sargeant who will end up being double teamed for most of this game. Mike Gahan and Jordan Berry need to be aggressive and hit shots. Both are more than capable of playing well and could be the difference in this game. In the end the best player on the floor is Donte Howell and I don’t see how he lets his team lose even if he needs to score 40-plus.
PICK: Threat Level Midnight
(4) Gale Force vs (5) Red Storm
Gale Force and the Red Storm enter the playoffs on two-game losing streaks. Both are super talented teams with tons of great players on both sides. Gale Force is led by scoring machine Richie Byrd and the Red Storm is led by big men Steven Medard who is a walking double-double. These teams faced off in Week 7 and Gale Force won that game 77-66 behind 30 points from Richie Byrd and a big game from Spencer Weinstein who hit four 3s and scored 18 points. Defensively it was one of Gale Force’s best games as a team.
Tonight, they will have to play tough defense again if they want to win. The Red Storm has a versatile team filled with play makers and size. They have a good mix with Carl Garcia and Medard in the front court and shooters like Matt Gelsomino and Haron Hargraves. In order for Red Storm to succeed in games they need their shooters to get hot and open the floor. The matchup to watch in this game is Steven Medard and Sky Khaleel. Both are two of the best big men in the league and head to head they are a great matchup. If either one of them gets in foul trouble early in this game it will change the game. Red Storm needs Medard more than Gale Force needs Khaleel. Medard is the key to their offense and defense and they need him to be a force tonight. In the end Gale Force has the best player on the floor and when the switch is flipped Richie Byrd can take over a game. We’ll see if that flip is switched tonight.
PICK: Gale Force