In the double elimination tournament format, CES needed to win only one game to take home the trophy, while SFS needed to go back-to-back for the title.
“Even though we had to win twice, I thought we had a great chance of winning,” said Derek Geske, 56th SFS. “We knew we had one of the most talented teams overall, we just needed to fine-tune a few issues we had the previous game.”
CES went into the first game intending to push the ball, rebound and hit three-pointers, while SFS’s strategy was to pressure their opposing guards to force turnovers, control the paint and contest all shots.
Even though CES controlled the tip, both teams played even basketball throughout the game. As the first half ended, the game was tied 26-26.
Using their quickness and defense in the second half, SFS was able to build a slim lead and edge CES 49-46 to force a second game.
“It was a great first game, and at the end it just came down to free throws,” said Anthony Coleman, 56th CES. “We kept the same strategy going into the second game.”
For the SFS team, the first game was difficult because CES came out strong, and it took the entire 40 minutes to win.
“We were excited and ready for the second game,” Geske said. “We knew the momentum was on our side after winning the first game.”
In the second game, it was all SFS as they pushed the ball up the court and held CES to only 16 first-half points.
“Playing our fresh players in the second game allowed us to dominate the paint on offense and defense,” said Omar Thompson, 56th SFS. “Our fast tempo led to multiple fast breaks and forced turnovers.”
With the momentum in their way, SFS exploded in the second half, outscoring CES 37-29 and going 10 for 19 at the free throw line to give SFS a 61-45 win, making them the season champions.
“We have come in second or third many times and it felt good to finally break through the barrier,” Geske said. “We are looking forward to defending the title next season.”