Team balance beats individual talent in the Champions quarterfinals
While looking through box scores from Tuesday night’s games, I came across an interesting game in Champions.
Bomb Squad defeated Heat Check 66-63 in the quarterfinals of the Champions Open League, and the two teams are clearly constructed in a different way.
Bomb Squad only had five players in attendance, and their highest scorer, Jeffrey Sickler, had 18 points, while their lowest scorer had 10 points, showcasing their balanced attack. Heat Check’s highest scorer, Marcus Merchant, had 29 points, while they had four players that scored two points or fewer.
To show the offensive burden Merchant and Jeffrey Boykin (who was second in scoring for Heat Check with 16 points) had, their 45 points made up for 71.4% of Heat Check’s point total. The top two scorers for Bomb Squad, Sickler and Brian Tennant, combined to score 34 points, which made up for 51.5% of the team’s total.
While Bomb Squad have had an even amount of scoring threats this season (seven of their nine players average 12 points or more per game), it’s Tennant that has been filling up the stat sheet in other categories. He leads the team in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks.
The loss ends Heat Check’s season and also puts an end to Merchant’s impressive debut season. In seven games this season, Merchant averaged 25.7 points and 14.1 rebounds while shooting 57% from the field. He did everything he could last night to try and keep his season alive, going off for 29 and 12 on 12-14 shooting, but he’ll have to wait until the fall to get on the court again.