Wolfpack 76 vs. Sixers 61
Any time you go into a playoff game missing 2 starters, in this case the Point Guard Lou Karapanagiotides and the Center Lou Sarris Grau, you may be in for a tough night. But when your team is as resilient as the Wolfpack, with players like George Vlahos (21 pts) and Aris Haritonidis (20 pts), you can never be counted out. This game was all Wolfpack after Nicko Papatsiaras’ super hot start. Nicko (18pts) hit 5 three pointers in the 1st half! Those 3’s were crucial because they helped create the separation in the score and propelled the Pack’s momentum. Combine that with the on court leadership of George Vlahos and the steady offensive attack of Haritonidis and the Pack were running on all cylinders, despite the missing players. The Wolfpack will go into the finals for the 2nd time in 3 years and face the Kings, the very team which knocked them out of the playoffs last season. The Pack definitely have revenge on their mind and this subplot promises to bring a high intensity dramatic game for the ages!
The Sixers had opportunities tonight but just couldn’t get into a groove offensively. They seemed hesitant at times, and lacked a consistent offensive attack. The Sixers only had 2 players in double digit scoring, Jim Armenakis with 22 and Chris Vasiliou with 18, but not even those players seemed completely comfortable out on the floor. These are 2 former MVP’s and Champions who understand what it takes to win, but tonight just wasn’t their night. The Sixers need to evaluate the team and make some decisions for next season, although I think they are built to win just the way they are now, some more young athletic legs would definitely help.
Kings 107 vs. Danny’s Boys 96 O.T.
What a game! After being eliminated by Danny’s Boys in the past 2 seasons, the Kings were finally able to get over the hump and beat their rivals, thus advancing to the PGBL Finals for the 2nd straight year. The Kings trailed for much of this game, by double digits for some time, but a run early in the second half boosted the Kings and they never looked back . The Kings had 6 players in double digit scoring! Niki Veronis 25, Alex Veronis 21, Bill Zonios 19, Chris Pylaras 16 and Foti Giannopoulos with 15. Yes that’s right I said Foti Giannopoulos, who hasn’t made any games this year but came back to help propel the Kings to victory. The defensive effort of Chris Kourelias should also be noted. Kourelias is a multi functional player who can contribute in so many different ways and tonight he was big with his defense. What a complete team game for the Kings and as they head to the Finals for the 3rd time in 5 years, they will look to be crowned champions for the 1st time.
Wow is all I can say. Yes Danny’s Boys lost this game but we just got a chance to witness the single best individual performance in PGBL History. Pete Kathopoulis, after dropping 41 on Sunday, followed up with 57 points tonight! Pete did it from everywhere on the floor, and even went 19-20 from the free throw line, putting several Kings in foul trouble. He was able to create enough separation to pull up for 3’s or just weave through defenders and drive for layups. Unbelievable talent this guy has, and though he was almost able to carry DB to victory, a more balanced offensive attack would of definitely helped. Kosta Nikolos (14pts) was big in the 1st half, hitting 4 three pointers from NBA range and helping DB build and maintain that 1st half 11 point lead. There will not be a 3 peat, but one thing is for sure, Danny’s Boys has been and is one of the best teams in PGBL History. Some minor tweeks to the roster and I see no reason why they wouldn’t be able to make a run next year.