The Final Four
GARDEN CITY: Semifinals Predictions
By Anthony Leo | Garden City Co-League Coordinator
Threat Level Midnight vs Jeurys Familia
The semifinals kickoff tonight at 8:30 with Threat Level Midnight taking on back-to-back champions Jeurys Familia. Coming into the playoffs Jeurys Familia could have been looked at as the favorite to reach the championship game and possibly even make it a three-peat. However, that all has changed because a very important piece is missing for Jeurys Familia this week. Mike Mastro will miss tonight’s game and without him Jeurys Familia has to take on the league’s best defense and leading scorer Donte Howell. All season long Howell has been tearing up opponents getting to the rim at will and hitting shots from the outside at an absurd clip. On paper Threat Level Midnight’s roster may not look as imposing as others, but they are just as good as any other team.
They key to tonight’s game for Jeurys Familia is to find a defensive strategy that works to contain Howell from scoring 40-plus points and taking over the game. If Howell does get his 40-plus they can’t allow others to beat them. Any way possible they have to find a way to limit the damage. Guys will have to step up and Corey Altman has to be the guy tonight leading the charge. With Altman, Jordan Oringer and Julian Delvasto they have enough fire power to win this game. They have to shoot well and hope to keep the game low scoring. Last game, Threat Level Midnight put up 110 points and destroyed CST Elite. Jeurys Familia can’t afford to let this game reach 80-plus points without Mastro. Expect Jeurys Familia to come out in some different zone defenses and do anything to try and hold Howell to under 30 points.
PICK: Threat Level Midnight
Shore Shack vs Gale Force
In the second game of the night we have an awesome matchup between two really talented teams. Shore Shack, led by Chris Frey and Chris Pisicotta, have been one of the best teams all season long and are still undefeated when Frey and Pisciotta are both on the court together. They fly around and move the ball better than any other team in the league. Tonight, they face the challenge of stopping the versatile attack of Gale Force. Top to bottom Gale Force is one of the best offensive teams in the league with Richie Byrd leading the way. Byrd in the playoffs has turned it up to another level taking over games on both sides of the ball. Add Sky Khaleel and the shooters that Gale Force has to the mix and they are a tough team to defend.
These two teams faced off once in the regular season, but both teams were missing players and it was more of a pickup game than anything else. Tonight, both teams will be at full strength ready to go. They key to this game for Gale Force is their effort defensively. Last week they were flying around, deflecting passes and causing problems all over the floor. If they can be active again tonight and make it difficult for Chris Frey and Pisciotta to rebound and run, it will change the game. Shore Shack loves to get in transition with Pisciotta leading the break. Sky Khaleel needs to rebound the ball and attack in the paint when he gets his chance. In the end this game comes down to Richie Byrd getting hot like he did last week. If he gets hot and hits shots, Gale Force will be in this game all the way to the end.
PICK: Gale Force