In the semifinal match-ups, we had rematches from regular season play. The overall No. 1 seed, Coach Nick Robinson’s Spurs hosted the rejuvenated Knicks team coached by Mike Latrella. Everyone in the gym expected a blow-out after the Spurs stomped all over the Knicks in regular season play. But the Knicks behind some inspired play by hard-nosed PG, Michael Pastore (Loyalsock HS, PA), had a lead late in the game. The fourth quarter would begin with the Knicks shocking everyone with a 2 point advantage. But the Spurs, the deepest team in the league would prevail behind clutch baskets from MOP candidates Collin Moore (Ceasar Rodney HS, DE) and Tavon Luster (Beacon HS, NY). They would go on to win by 5 when the final horn sounded.
The other semifinal matchup was also a rematch of teams who squared off in regular season play. The No.2 seeded Lakers took on a Heat team that was playing some of its best basketball in the last 12 hours. Behind the relentless military style approach of Coach Bruce Reavis, the team started to really pick up the intensity on the defensive end. Despite having lost in the regular season to the Lakers, the Heat was determined to make it to the championship game. By the end of the 3rd quarter, the underdog Heat team showed why they were destined for an appearance in the finals. They started the 4th quarter with a 22 point lead. But that’s when it all started to fall apart for the young team. Plagued by errant passes, the team would turn the ball over numerous times to allow the Lakers right back into the game. With 3 minutes remaining, the Lakers had come all the way back and took the lead behind the interior work of 6-6 Forward, Ali Validipak (Richmond Hill HS, Toronto). The teams would exchange baskets in those final 3 minutes behind their horses. Tarik Boyd (Middletown HS, NY) and Armand Sorrentino Archbishop Carroll, PA) would go back and forth each hitting multiple clutch shots to keep the game close. But in the end, the composure of the Lakers propelled them into the finals with a 5 point win.
The finals features the top two seeded teams, the Spurs and the Lakers. They will square off on the final day as parents fill out the stands and watch the young players leave it all on the court for the coveted honor of Five-Star Champion.