2019 WINTER  |  SEASON 43
WEEK 1
 

By: League Analyst
Contributing Writer

 

McDaddy's vs. We Tried
Bronze Division
11 a.m.

McDaddy's, the league's Free Agent team, played together for the first time and surprised many of their peers. The team played defense and got their teammates involved as McDaddy's defeat We Tried, 44-35.

We Tried shot just 2 free throw attempts as GM Anthony Meltcher led the team with 9 points, 7 rebounds and 2 three-pointers. Meltcher, an All Star from last season, played mostly out of position and had a difficult task of guarding McDaddy's Center, Mike Arceo. Despite a mis-match of 12 inches, 130 lbs, Meltcher held his own limiting Arceo to just 11 points. We Tried was out-rebounded, 41-25 as Billy Escobar and Johnny Truong finished with 9 rebounds and 13 points combined. We Tried lived by the 3-point combining for 41 shot attempts (21.7%) compared to McDaddy's 16 three-point attempts (12.5%).

"McDaddy's did most of their scoring from inside the paint after recognizing their 3-point shooting wasn't effective," said a league analyst. "They're a big team, they need to utilize their size in all their match-ups."

Christian Carrillo led McDaddy's with 13 points, 5 steals while Nick Perez finished with 10 points, 6 rebounds. CJ Collins led the team with 14 rebounds while Orlando Carillo finished with 8 points, 6 rebounds and a team-high, 4 assists.  The team's lack of depth has McDaddy's on a recruiting spree so look for the Free Agent team to debut some more players on Week 2.

 

Foundation vs. Relentless
Bronze Division
12 p.m.

This game was wild! The game almost played 5 quarters as the rookie staff fell asleep on the scoreboard and thought that the 4th quarter was the 3rd quarter as Foundation survived a late rally from Relentless, 78-72.

The League Commissioner, who was busy dealing with a camera malfunction, was also not paying attention to the game as the game stopped for Foundation and Relentless to figure out if it was the 3rd or the 4th quarter. The Retirement home known as Foundation, had players suffer Alzheimer's also forgot what quarter it was as league admin had to go to the replays to sort things out.

Both teams started off hot as Foundation jumped to a 59-46 halftime lead. Five players scored in double figures as Adrian Eddington finished with 15 points and 4 rebounds. Uzoma Kalu was the leading scorer for his new team as he finished with 16 points, 1 board. GM Jonathan Wynn and Asher Avinger both led Foundation with 4 assists. Gary Beaird finished with 10 points while Alphonso White added 12 points.

"I want a rematch with them," said Relentless GM, Ruben Ramirez. The request was rescinded shortly right after and Ramirez wants Relentless to just take the L and move on.

Kenny Morales finished with 19 points, 3 assists while Chris Plantillas tied the points total with 19 of his own. Both Tony Gonzalez and Joel Contreras finished with 12 points apiece. The team is young but they'll climb the standings thanks to their GM, Ruben Ramirez, who is instilling a defensive mentality as Relentless plays their Inaugural season with a defensive mindset.

"Everyone wants to score but not everyone plays defense," said a league analyst. "There's 3-4 guys who can score for their team. As long as they play defense, they should climb the rankings."

 

 

Monstars vs. LA Riots
Gold Division
1 p.m.

 

The game was a near-forfeit as LA Riots had to recruit 2 players from Bronze Division team, Relentless, to play for them. To make things worse, the team didn't have jerseys and the team looked like a scrimmage team playing against Baldwin Park team, Monstars.

 

Monstars, feeling like they're playing pick up ball, ended the game with a 72-67 victory as All Star Andrew Martinez led Monstars with 16 points. Vince Rodriguez had a huge debut as the team's back up point guard, finishing with 7 assists, 9 rebounds and 14 points while GM Jared Ojeda scored a dozen points. Xavier Morelos finished with a double-double, 13 points, 10 rebounds and led Monstars with 3 blocked shots. The team combined for 14 assists and forced 11 turnovers but was out-worked on the rebound department as LA Riots combined for 37 rebounds.

 

LA Riots was led by DJ and he finished with 22 points, 11 rebounds and 3 blocked shots. GM Jackson Ruiz scored 12 points while Chris added 13 points, 10 assists. The team had to pick up 2 players from Bronze Division team, Relentless and the duo of Morales and Contreras finished with a combined 20 points. 

 

 

Fire Squad vs. Team Fuerza
Bronze Division
2 p.m.

Below The Rim surprised the Reigning Champs by pulling away in the 2nd half with a 71-53 win.

Both teams were engaged in a see-saw battle in the 1st half but Below The Rim controlled the glass (39-29) and out-shot Fire Squad from long distance. Fire Squad struggled from 3-point range hitting just 17.6% (6-for-34) of their shot attempts and the loss of their Prodigy Plug twin towers, Nephi and Garrison, has Fire Squad lost on the boards.

Caleb Oviedo led Below the Rim with 20 points and he shot a ridiculous 75% on 12 shot attempts to lead the team from Compton. Caleb was a beast on the glass, tying a team-high, 8 rebounds. Julious Patin finished with 11 points, 4 rebounds while Jason Fisk added 13 points, 8 boards. GM Darryl Alexander added 5 points, 2 assists as the team combined for 9 dimes. The team is huge and played defense on Fire Squad especially in the 2nd half, where they limited the Champs to just 13 points.

Fire Squad was supposed to have plenty of firepower but the addition of Monstars' Andrew Martinez seemed to have no effect on Firesquad's offensive rating. Andrew finished with just 4 points, 3 assists and shot an uncharacteristic, 14.3% from the field. Brandon Ortiz, Finals MVP, finished with 19 points, 8 rebounds while GM Otto Guillermo scored 18 points, 7 rebounds. While Bronze Division has gotten bigger, Fire Squad has lost plenty of size in the off-season and it is up to Guillermo to either pick up the scoring or recruit bigs to replace his Prodigy Plug twin towers.

 

Chicle vs. Tune Squad
Bronze Division
3 p.m.

 

 

The Bishop Amat alum had a strong start but Chicle, the former Champions, came from behind to beat Tune Squad, 48-47.

 

Newcomer, Shadon Knight, had a chance to be the hero but missed his game winning attempt as former Finals MVP, Jay Tapang, grabbed the rebound and converted the game winning bucket. Jay finished with 17 points and was efficient from the field hitting 55.6% of his shot attempts. Shadon finished with just 5 points while Center Danny V. added 10 points, 4 rebounds. It was a tough game for Chicle but GM of the Season, Chris Duran, found a way to improve the team's record to 16-1 (Regular Season games) in the last 17 games.

 

"As great a win as this is, I'm pretty sure Chris and Chicle are already scouting the other teams and watching all the videos," said the League Commissioner. "The competition is tougher, and the games are gonna get harder."

 

Tune Squad had plenty of bodies on the bench as GM Vincent Rodriguez led the rookie team with 18 points, 3 assists. Arellano led all scorers with 19 points on 40% shooting while Player 42 finished with 9 points, 6 boards. Tune Squad is arguably the fastest team in the division but they might have too many players and GM Vincent Rodriguez must manage the team's playing time.

 

 

Bullets vs. Below The Rim
Gold Division
4 p.m.

 

Both teams played in a Playoff atmosphere setting as Below The Rim saw their record fall to 1-1. The team from Compton was in the gauntlet on Opening Week, playing both teams that played in last season's Bronze Division Finals. Bullets, the Runner-Up, opened their season with a W as they out-last Below The Rim, 55-52.

Caleb Oviedo continued to shine as he led the team from Compton with 23 points, 4 assists and 9 rebounds. Caleb, showing off at half-time, threw down to lobs to himself as viewers from Superstar Basketball's YouTube were suprised with his athleticism. Lupe Pena scored 8 points while Tray McNutt finished with 6 points. The team was extremely heated in the 2nd quarter when Alex Villacis had a ball thrown his direction after a falling Marcus Eggum attempted to save the ball from out of bounds.

"It's part of the game, there's no need to over-react," said a spectator.

"Both teams were smart enough not to get it out of hand, it was a competitive game and it's going to be competitive especially in the Playoffs," said a staff-member.

Jorge Parrales, last season's MVP, finished with 16 points, 7 rebounds. Marcus Eggum added 15 points while Rick Gutierrez finished with 9 points, 5 boards. Both teams were virtually even but it was Bullets ability to get to the line that helped the team from Boyle Heights as they shot 18-for-27 (66.7%) from the field. The team was faster and Below The Rim was playing their second game of a double-header, which resulted in a lot of fouls committed by Below The Rim.

 

Entourage vs. Killmonger
Gold Division
5 p.m.

 

After a slow start, Entourage came out strong as rookies Jayson Cruz (13 points) and Cooper (14 points, 4 assists) had strong debuts for veteran team, Entourage. In the end, it was the same old Killmonger that was killing Entourage as they are now 3-for-3 in their last match-ups (including Playoffs) with a 67-64 win.

 

Johnny Blaze, Player of the Week for Week 1, proved why he was an All Star last season finished with 34 points, 11 rebounds on 54.5% shooting. Blaze was on fire in the 4th quarter and had the game-winning lay-up with 3 seconds left. Sean Harris, former MVP, finished with a game-high, 5 assists, 17 points while Jay Benjamin added 10 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals. GM Steven Ancheta played the whole game for the first time for Killmonger and he finished with 6 points on 33.3% shooting.

 

All Star Joey Cejudo finished with a double-double for Entourage as the new GM finished with 12 rebounds, 11 points but a forgettable 26.7% from the field. Fellow All Star, Kevin Levingston, finished with 3 assists as the team combined for 18 dimes. Entourage has had big leads against their Chino 24 Hour Fitness rivals but in late game situations, Killmonger has always found a way to beat their rival team.

 

Try Hards vs. Empire Elite
Gold Division
6 p.m.

 

Empire Elite had this game won but Try Hards would rally after trailing 51-41 to start the 4th quarter.

 

Try Hards exploded for a 29-10 run in the 4th quarter as Juan Banda and Fernando Ramos combined for 3 three-pointers in the closing stanza. Juan Banda finished with 13 points, 9 rebounds while Fernando "Brodie" Ramos, an All Star last season, finished with 8 points, 4 rebounds. Ryan Carter, last season's Regular Season and All Star MVP, finished with a game-high, 32 points and was often double-teamed early in the 2nd half. Carter had just 20 points at the end of 3 quarter but exploded for 12 points in the game's last 10 minutes. After averaging 45 ppg in 5 games last season, the expectations are high as most of his peers believe he will beat Ken Ubom's record of 41.3 ppg in 8 games set a decade ago.

 

"I only scored 30 in my opening game last season, I'm still on course," joked Carter, post-game.

 

Despite the loss, Empire Elite showed a lot of potential as Center Mou U., led the team with 6 assists, 6 points. Mou was the team's most efficient ball-hander and he often found a cutting teammate when the defense collapsed on him. AJ Thomas led his new team with 15 points on 54.5% shooting while Courtlan Wharlin finished with a double-double, 14 points, 10 rebounds. Deron Scott scored 13 points but struggled with 5 turnovers. Ball movement was on point for Empire Elite, an experience AJ Thomas rarely had playing for his old team, Renegades.

 

Team Challenge ALS vs. East LA Dream Team
Gold Division
7 p.m.

 

East LA Dream Team, former 3-time Champions, kept pace with Team Challenge ALS in the 1st half (33-32) but Team Challenge ALS proved to be too strong as East LA Dream Team falls, 90-76.

 

Khalil Dukes led all scorers with 26 points while Ever Garcia was impressive in his return, scoring 21 points and leading all players with 8 assists. Mike Peters, playing for his 3rd team in 3 seasons, finished with 14 points while newcomers Brandon Ortiz and Sean Weeks combined for 9 points. Size and experience proved too much for East LA Dream Team, a team who won 2 Championships in 2018.

 

Five players scored in double figures for Team Challenge ALS as GM Sean Marshall led the team with 19 points (46.7% shooting). Marshall, a former MVP (Spring 2009) finished with 7 rebounds and 4 assists while Donovan Morris filled up the stats sheet with 14 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds. Johnny Dukes, a lefty who had a flashy spin move for the rookie team, filled up the stats-sheet with 13 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists. Cory McJimson finished with 17 while last season's All Star, Dell Well, finished with 5 assists, 10 points.

 

The build-up for Relics, 20x Champions vs Team Challenge ALS has already begun as Killmonger and East LA Dream Team players have already requested for the match-up.

 

"Give the people what they want, we want to see Relics vs Team Challenge ALS, already!"

 

Death Row vs. Relics
Gold Division
8 p.m.

 

It was Opening Week for Superstar Basketball's Season 43 and on Week 1, we had 2 close calls already. While Bullets and Below The Rim were playing dodgeball, Death Row and Relics could have been a melee, with Death Row Center, Maintain, winning a Royal Rumble against EVERYONE.

 

All jokes aside, Roderick Evans-Taylor, last season's Finals MVP, showed his off-season work was paying off as he led all scorers with 26 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists. Rod shot 45% from the field and when the defense collaped, GM James Acevedo advised Rod to make the extra pass. Rod showed off his passing skills in the 4th quarter as Death Row struggled to maintain (pun intended) what they had going in their match-up. (drum-roll)

 

Andrew Knox turned back the clock with a dunk in the 2nd half and he finished with 12 points, 5 rebounds. Yayo Yaisreal, an All Star last season, finished with 12 points, 6 rebounds while newcomer Jayland Reed added 11 points, 4 rebounds. Cisco Acevedo, the league's first 100-point scorer, finished with 11 points, 3 three-pointers while Terrence Martin led all players with 10 assists.

 

Derrick Andrew was scoring on all sides of the floor and he finished with 17 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists. All Star Center Justian Hamilton added 9 points, 9 rebounds while Julius McDonald finished with 7 points. Michael Munoz and Calvin Mitchell, 2 players from former Champions, Baseline All Stars, combined for 12 points in their return.