Which squads will advance to next week’s gold cup final?
FRIDLEY REC+: Final Four Predictions
By Jake Gave | Fridley League Coordinator
FINAL FOUR SCHEDULE:
#2 Bakke’s Bombers (7-2) vs. #3 The Originals (7-2) @ 7:00 pm
#1 Bulls (8-1) vs. #5 FOB Five (5-4) @ 8:00 pm
#2 Bakke’s Bombers vs. #3 The Originals
7:00 pm, Court 1
- BAKKE’S BOMBERS -
Last Week: 87-71 W over the Ballers
Top Scorers: Jake Gave (22.3), Zach Debeltz (14.7), Casey Ehrenberg(13.9)
Top Rebounders: Valentino Jackson (9.3), Jake Gave (8.2), Aaron Kern (5.4)
Top Assisters: Jake Gave (6.4), Sonny Young-Graves (3.6), Casey Ehrenberg (2.8)
- THE ORIGINALS -
Last Week: 104-66 W over the Jumpshot Hustlers
Top Scorers: Chris Maher (25.0), Travis Johnson (20.0), Josh Hoyle (20.0)
Top Rebounders: Chris Maher (9.3), Travis Johnson (8.0), Ahmed Helmy(7.8)
Top Assisters: Travis Johnson (6.6), Josh Hoyle (5.8), Chris Maher (4.5)
In our first Final Four matchup of the night, the #2 ranked Bakke’s Bombers will take on the #3 ranked Originals. The Bombers advanced to the Final Four by knocking off the Ballers last week in convincing fashion, 87-71. They were led by Casey Ehrenberg who knocked down 9 three pointers on his way to 27 points and 6 assists. He helped the Bombers get a comfortable lead early by hitting 8 of his 9 threes in the opening half. Sonny Young-Graves had an excellent game as well, nearly notching a triple double with 16 points, 10 rebounds, and 8 assists. Aaron Kern also posted a double double with 14 points and 14 rebounds to help the Bombers cruise to the victory.
The Originals punched their ticket to the Final Four with a very comfortable win over the Jumpshot Hustlers, 104-66. They held a 26 point lead at halftime and there was little doubt about the outcome after that point. Per usual, Chris Maher had a huge night, scoring 30 points and grabbing 13 boards while shooting a very impressive 83% from the field. Josh Hoyle was also ultra efficient shooting 8-11 and finishing with 22 points and 9 assists. Travis Johnson did his part while flirting with a triple double, ending the game with 18 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists.
The Bombers and The Originals have two very contrasting playing styles. Bakke’s Bombers are second to last in points scored (77.9 ppg) but rank 1st in scoring defense (74.9 ppg). A lot of their games are defensive battles where every possession is important. The Originals on the other hand lead the league in scoring (101.8 ppg) and rank 5 in defense (81.4 ppg). They have a ton of weapons on offense and love to push the pace to force a high scoring game. It will be interesting to see which squad can control the tempo and force the opposition to try to play their game.
The last time Bakke’s Bombers and The Originals met was back in week 5 when the Bombers handed The Originals their first loss of the season, 76-74. That game was a defensive grinder, as neither team was able to shoot over 50%. In fact, the Bombers shot a season low 44% from the field but were still able to grind out the victory. That game was considered an upset at the time, but Bakke’s Bombers have now won 6 in a row including a win over the #1 ranked Bulls squad in week 8. They earned the #2 spot in the playoffs and no longer carry that underdog title. I predict they will keep on rolling and punch their ticket to next week’s Rec+ finals in a nail biter.
PREDICTION: Bakke’s Bombers -1.5
#1 Bulls vs. #5 FOB Five
8:00 pm, Court 1
- BULLS -
Last Week: 110-100 W over the Free Agents
Top Scorers: Wade Pierce (21.2), Da'Jon McKnight (19.1), Marquise Walker (18.7)
Top Rebounders: Da’Jon McKnight (10.0), Wade Pierce (7.4), Eugene Phelps (6.3)
Top Assisters: Emmanuel Harrison (3.6), Da’Jon McKnight (3.6), Steven Ellis (3.6)
- FOB FIVE -
Last Week: 81-63 W over the Wolves
Top Scorers: Adam Hoven (23.9), Glen Fair (21.5), Chris Holloway (18.9)
Top Rebounders: Adam Hoven (12.6), Brock Zins (7.6), Bryant Marmol (5.8)
Top Assisters: Adam Hoven (6.4), Bryant Marmol (4.0), Brock Zins (4.0)
In our second matchup of the night, the top seeded Bulls will take on the #5 ranked FOB Five squad. The Bulls advanced to the Final Four after defeating the Free Agents in a game that was a bit too close for comfort. The game ended with a 10 point victory for the Bulls but it was tied at one point with under 10 minutes remaining. The Free Agents always seem to surprise teams and the Bulls were no different. In the end though, Wade Pierce and Da’Jon McKnight both put in crazy performances to lift their squad to victory. Wade finished with 31 points and 16 rebounds on 67% shooting and he also blocked 3 shots. Da’Jon was a beast on the boards with 21 total rebounds to go along with his 23 points and 7 assists.
FOB Five pulled off the slight upset by knocking out the Wolves, 81-63. I use the words “slight upset” because it is not a huge surprise that FOB advanced. They have had a down season but they are still easily one of the most talented squads and can beat any of the teams in the league. They took control of this game early, holding an 18 point lead at the break which allowed them to coast to victory in the second half. Bryant Marmol led the way in this one with 17 points and 7 rebounds on 70% shooting. Jon Christenson also knocked down 5 of his 8 three pointers but more importantly he was constantly giving Neal Anderson the business on D. Adam Hoven had an off night shooting the ball but still made an impact with 18 rebounds and 5 assists.
This matchup should be another exciting one to watch unfold, and another one where the teams styles contrast. Both of these teams play great defense as FOB is 3rd in scoring defense (76.9 ppg) and the Bulls are 4th (78.7). The differences come when you look at the offenses as FOB is much more perimeter oriented than the Bulls. FOB Five leads the league in 3 point attempts by a wide margin with 38.1 per game. The Bulls on the other hand attack the rim and do more of their damage in the paint. For that reason, they lead the league in free throw attempts at 15.3 per game.
The last time these two teams met was back in week 4, where the Bulls pulled off the 79-72 victory. The Bulls held FOB to 44% shooting overall and 39% from deep while being extremely efficient on the offensive side. The Bulls finished at 53% and 44% from long distance. They also stuck to their game plan and got inside the paint and drew a ton of fouls. They ended up going to the line for 24 free throw attempts, converting on 75% of those. I expect to see a lot of that again tonight for the Bulls. The wild card in this scenario is the three point shooting prowess of FOB Five. I’m predicting that FOB gets hot from deep, which they are more than capable of and they come away with the upset.
PREDICTION: FOB Five -3.5