2019 WINTER  |  SEASON 43

By: League Analyst
Contributing Writer


Foundation vs. Tune Squad
Bronze Division
10 a.m.

Foundation, regarded as Bronze Division's new #1 team, was off to a 2-0 start and looked as unstoppable as ever. Tune Squad, a rookie team composed of players from Bishop Amat, played to their strengths as Tune Squad ran all over Foundation with a 67-48 victory.

Tune Squad used a 37-22 run in the 2nd half to put the game away as Foundation lost for the first time this season. Arellano finished with a game-high, 26 points and shot 45.5% from the field, en route to 6 three-pointers. GM Vincent Rodriguez III scored 16 points and tied a team-high, 3 assists while Remy Barrancos finished with 6 points, 7 rebounds. Noah Guzman added 5 points while Tyler Young added 3 points. The team was confident it was turning the corners after losing their first game of the season against Chicle.

"THIS is the #1 team in the division?" asked a player from the bench.

"We want all the hard teams," said another player, post-game.

Chicle, the new #1 team in Bronze Division standings, were paying attention to the match-up and former MVP, "Nitro" CJ Pang, chimed in on their win.

"Great win, but they still lost to Chicle," said Nitro, jokingly.

Kris Dick finished with 17 points, 7 rebounds while Adrian Eddington added 9 points, 2 boards. GM Jonathan Wynn scored 4 points while Asher Avinger added 5 points, 3 rebounds. Although the team attempted 22 free throws, Foundation, was overwhelmed on both ends of the floor and didn't follow the game plan presented by the GM.

"The game plan was to slow it down, but they ran with the young Tune Squad team and you saw what happened," said a stats-keeper.


Fire Squad vs. We Tried
Bronze Division
11 a.m.


We Tried won their first game of the season on Week 2 and it was time for celebration as We Tried had players go on vacation. Fire Squad, a team that has been on vacation since winning their first Championship, showed up for the first time this season as We Tried falls to Fire Squad, 98-38.

"We needed this win," said Finals MVP, Brandon Ortiz.

The team improved to 1-2 as Brandon Ortiz went off for 39 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists.  GM Otto Guillermo finished with a triple double, 20 pts, 21 rebs, 10 assists while Joshua Romero added 10 points, 10 rebounds, 2 steals.

"We gotta do a score check and a stats check on Otto, did he really get a triple double," asked a player from McDaddy's.

We Tried All Star, Anthony Meltcher, had his worst game in 2 seasons, finishing with 4 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists. Cody Rote, still riding high (not high as in marijuana high, but high as in life high, you know what I mean, LOL) from his Week 2 heroics, finished with a team-high 14 points while Andrew Fonseca added 2 points. Boley Grant, a rookie for We Tried, finished with 18 points, 9 rebounds on 37.5% shooting.

We Tried is on a tough stretch in their schedule. After facing the Reigning Champions, Fire Squad, they take on 18-1 Chicle.


Relentless vs. Winners Only
Bronze Division
12 p.m.

Relentless, a team that was relentless for their first win, played fundamentally sound basketball as they beat Winners Only, 58-43.

Rookie Center Tony Gonzalez has been the voice of poise for Team Relentless and on Week 3, Gonzalez continued to impress with his back to the basket moves and fundamentally sound footwork. Gonzalez finished with a double-double, 13 points, 11 rebounds and was efficient from the field with a 75% field goal percentage. GM Ruben Ramirez rounded off the top 3 scorers with 11 points while Chris Plantillas finished with a team-high, 16 points.

The team had a plan to play hungry as the team had showed up in the past 2 weeks playing lack-luster basketball. The team out-rebounded their opponents, 34-24, and shot 40% from the field.

Winners Only was led by Kevin Costello who finished with 19 points, 6 rebounds and he shot a team-high, 47.1% from the field. Matt Arellano scored 6 points while GM Isaac Berliner finished with 11 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists. The team struggled from 3-point territory, knocking down just 9% of the shots they attempted. The team vowed to bring in more talent and should have their full team on Week 4.


Monstars vs. Team Challenge ALS
Gold Division
1 p.m.

Baldwin Park team, Monstars, was looking to make a statement against the league's new #1 team, Team Challenge ALS.

"We played scared, we didn't play to our potential, but we gotta keep working," said GM Jared Ojeda.

"Would have been a lot closer had your guys showed up early," advised a league official.

1 p.m. is a time slot Monstars requested but when it was time to compete for the #1 spot, Team Challenge ALS proved they are this season's #1 team. GM Sean Marshall finished with a game-high, 28 points and led the team with 13 rebounds, 2 assists. BIG GUARD Johnny Dukes led the team with 5 assists, 15 points while Donovan Morris added 15 points, 7 rebounds on 85.7% shooting. An All Star for Sick Pick Ups last season, Dell Well added 12 points, 4 assists and 3 boards.

"They have pro players, and they have basketball minds that are coaching Colony HS deep into the CIF playoffs," said a league analyst to Monstars. "You might be watching videos for a scouting report, but they'll make adjustments so be ready for their counters."

Monstars trailed early, 11-1 and was down 51-28 at the half. Xavier Morelos, former MVP, finished with 12 points, 5 rebounds while Gus Vasquez led Monstars with 14 points, 2 boards. Geoff McTosh made his season debut with 11 points while Alex Mendiola led the Monstars with 7 assists.


Entourage vs. Prodigy Plug
Gold Division
2 p.m.

Entourage GM Joey Cejudo was hell-bent on going down 0-3 so he decided to have Entourage play an early game against Prodigy Plug. Unfortunately for the All Star, Prodigy Plug proved they played better in the early games as Prodigy Plug went off for 60 first half points. Prodigy Plug improved their record to 1-1 with a 86-76 victory to keep Entourage winless.

Nephi Tofiga couldn't miss as the Fire Squad champion was on fire from long distance, shooting 6-for-10 from 3-point territory. Nephi finished with a team-high, 21 points and shot 53.8% overall from the field. Kevin Price and Andy Macias added 15 points apiece while GM Playoff P scored 12 points, all from beyond the arch. Prodigy Plug plays in other leagues and when they play in night games, they seem to play with a lot of fatigue.

"They might as well play Relics and Team Challenge ALS at 10 a.m.," joked a league referee. "They're like Dr Jekyl and Mr. Hyde. They're a totally different team when they're rested."

Joey Cejudo had his best game of the season, finishing with 16 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists. TA Dixon made his season debut with 16 points, 7 rebounds while Kevin Levingston added 13 points, 3 rebounds.  CJ Cooper, a rookie guard, led Entourage with 4 assists while Ryan Miller added 8 points, 4 rebounds.


Stay Up vs. McDaddy's
Bronze Division
3 p.m.

McDaddy's was confident they can stop Stay Up, a team that started the season with a win over Winners Only. McDaddy's offense was in synch but couldn't keep up as Stay Up improved to 2-0 with a 80-59 victory.

When most Bronze Division teams form with a Gold Division All Star player (Playoff P), history reveals that said All Star is usually padding their stats in a Bronze Division team or said Gold All Star is trying to win an easy chip in Bronze Division. This team has none of that as Playoff P spent most of the time on the sidelines watching Stay Up remain undefeated. James Magaway led all scorers with 22 points while Ray Mercado finished with 6 points. Fonz Salvador added 11 points while Kevin Price logged a double-double with 17 pts, 10 rebs.

McDaddy's had 3 players score in double figures as Arvin Delapaz finished with 15 points, 4 steals, 2 assists. Adrian Lecesne, an All Star for IHOB last season, finished with 12 points, 8 rebs while Center Mike Arceo led all players with 4 blocks, 9 rebounds and 5 points. Christian Carrilo scored 8 points while Jerry Tennison made his debut with 13 points, 6 rebs.


Below The Rim vs. Chicle
Bronze Division
4 p.m.

Playoff intensity wasn't just in the building but Livestream viewers noticed a sense of urgency from both teams. Part of the Quality Assurance team, Jonathan Wynn, was making sure stats were intact and he saw how good the rookie vs veteran match-up was.

"That was a really good game, it looked like it was a Playoff game," said Foundation GM, Jonathan Wynn.

Below The Rim, a rookie team from Compton, led at the half, 39-33, but Chicle improved to 18-1 in their last 19 games using a 35-26 run in the pivotal 2nd half. Chicle is 3-0 with the #1 seed after beating BTR, 68-65.

Shadon Knight finished with a team-high, 16 points and was 66.7% from the field after grabbing 5 rebounds. Jay Tapang was the second leading scorer with 13 while CJ "Nitro" Tapang, the Player of the Week for Week 2, finished with 13 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals. The team is smaller than Below The Rim and was out-rebounded, 32-23. Despite the discrepancy, Chicle was efficient from the paint, shooting 64.5% from inside 3-point territory.

"Most teams overlook Chicle because of their size, or they look old, but they play well together and have had a tough schedule to start this season," said a league analyst.

Jason Fisk led BTR with 12 points while Caleb Oviedo, the rookie team's best player all season, struggled with just 11 points, 6 rebounds. For any player, 11 points is good but Caleb has been scoring 20+ per game and is capable of leading the team in multiple stat categories. Julius "Tazz" Patin scored 8 points while Tray McNutt added 8 points, 7 rebounds. The team had a chance to tie the game down the stretch but an ill-advised drive to the basket led to a turnover giving Below The Rim their second loss of the season.


Bullets vs. Fuerza
Bronze Division
5 p.m.

Marcus Eggum is on a tear this season and Bullets may have their second MVP in 2 seasons. Eggum finished with 30 points on 51.9% shooting as Bullets defeat Fuerza, 87-70.

The team from Boyle Heights combined for 18 dimes as Wilson Parrales led the way with 5 assists. Wilson grabbed a team-high, 3 steals and had 7 rebounds, a big deal considering he's usually a defensive point guard who has overpowering bigs grabbing these boards. His brother, last season's MVP, was MIA but Bullets proved they had too much ammo in the chamber as Rick Gutierrez (19 pts) and Angel Romero (12 pts) went off. Romero has gone off for 50 points in the past and shooting 12% from 3-point territory was his lowest shooting percentage to this point.

"For their best 3-point shooter to shoot 12 percent and to still win by nearly 20 points means they are stacked with talent," said a league analyst. "They might have talent but in Gold, they won't win. After this season, there is definitely a need for a 3rd division."

Rookie team Fuerza was led by GM Abner Rodriguez who finished with 20 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists. Danny Cortez scored 13 while Chico V added 10 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 steals. Fuerza is having a difficult time getting their players to come out from LA but the pictures, stats, and multimedia is getting Fuerza to come out to the suburbs for these Sunday night games.

"As long as Abner and Chico are coming out this way, they're almost guaranteed to be on highlight reels," said a league editor. "They got some Top 10 moves every week."


Empire Elite vs. The Rock
Gold Division
6 p.m.

Had The Rock won this match-up, they would have been elevated to play #1 team, Team Challenge ALS. Instead, The Rock showed they weren't ready for the marquee match-up as a new and improved Empire Elite team upset The Rock, 67-59.

Empire Elite scratched the W column for the first time this season as rookie Center, James Christian, James Chicago, Bullied his way to 22 points, 6 rebounds en route to 60% shooting. James, a newcomer to the league, was unfamiliar with Empire Elite's 0-2 start and that didn't matter as GM AJ Thomas was hell bent on establishing a winning  culture for his team. Thomas finished with 4 assists, 10 points, while Rob Walker added 10 points, 2 three-pointers. Rob Walker aka Bobby Active aka Rob 3-point shooter, has been consistent from beyond the arch this season. The team shot 33% from 3-point range and Empire Elite nearly shot 50% from the field opposed to The Rock, a team that struggled by hitting just 31% of their shot attempts.

Chris Ashanti played like he never had an Achilles injury and he scored a season-high, 28 points, 6 rebounds, 4 three-pointers. D'Angelo McDaniel finished with 14 points, 7 boards while rookie Terrel added 8 points, 16 rebounds, 3 assists. Kassah Kantiok led The Rock with 13 rebounds but struggled from the field matching his body fat percentage, shooting just 10%, overall.  One word for The Rock - inconsistency.

"One week they look like they're ready to be a Top 3 team, the following weekend, they play like they shouldn't be Top 8," said a league analyst. "It's a marathon, but they seem like a team that will hit peaks and valleys this season."


East LA Dream Team vs. Try Hards
Gold Division
7 p.m.

Everyone was asking what MVP Ryan Carter would end up with. After scoring 70 points, will Ryan follow it up with another 30 point outing? Would the Rookie of the Season, MVP of the Season, All Star MVP follow it up with another MVP performance?

It's gotten to the point that when he misses, spectators are shocked that his shot missed the basket. A brief glance at the game stats show he shot 58.3% but Ryan has been THAT good and you expect every shot to go in. He's gone on record to say he's really a point guard and this scoring binge came out of nowhere. This week, he kept a low profile and insisted his players prove a point that this isn't just Ryan Carter and a bunch of guys.

"They keep saying it's Ryan Carter, Ryan Carter, but truth is, we are a team," said the MVP.

Believe it or not, he's right. GM Rudy Hernandez knows his team has guys that complement his talents and league analysts have compared this team to 2008 Lakers, with Ryan playing the Kobe role. Manny Morales aka Pau Gasol finished with 10 points, 15 rebounds while Shaq Gilbert aka Andrew Bynum finished with 5 boards. "Brodie" Fernando Ramos, an All Star last season, is clutch like Fisher but is more Lamar because of his efficiency, finished with 16 points, 2 steals.

In a game that came down to the wire, Ryan Carter quietly converted a put-back for the go-ahead bucket as Try Hards shocked East LA Dream Team with a come from behind victory.

East LA Dream Team led for most of the 2nd half as Matt Austin returned with 30 points, 11 rebounds and 2 steals. Khalil Dukes added 16 points, 6 rebounds while Derrick Tamanaha finished most of his points on fast break opportunities, en route to 22 points. The team played without sharp-shooter, Mike Peters, as Ever Garcia spent most of the time getting his new team-mates involved to the tune of 6 assists. GM Mario Miramontes needed an easy game after the loss and requested to play Entourage for Week 4.


Death Row vs. LA Riots
Gold Division
8 p.m.

The Double-header Death Row took over the headlines on Week 3 but not to be overlooked was LA Riots' resurgence. A team that didn't seem to have it altogether, LA Riots has been on fire the past 2 weeks, notably Wesley Harris who finished with 27 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals on 52.6% shooting.

If style points were given out, Wesley would be leading the division in style points alone. His acrobatic fade-aways are reminiscent of the Mamba and despite the degree of difficulty, the rookie has been highly efficient from the field.

Monty McKnight finished with 10 points while Art Wash finished with a double-double, 19 rebounds, and 15 points. GM Jackson Ruiz added 4 points while Ben Issaih scored 18 points, 8 rebounds. A player from LA Riots was ecstatic with the team's first win and had this to say after the game.

"We taking over this! We in this now," overheard from the bench.

"Yo, it's just our first win. Quiet down," responded another player.

Death Row was led by Calvin Mitchell who finished with 18 points, 4 rebounds. Michael Munoz finished with 11 while Mike Ratliff returned to the league, finishing with 11 points. GM Derrick Andrews added 12 points but was disappointed with the team's 3rd straight loss.



Beast Tribe vs. Death Row
Gold Division
9 p.m.

Would Death Row bounce back from their loss in the previous hour and get it going against Beast Tribe. The team formerly known as The Corporation, quickly put the game away with a 34-21 lead leaving announcer, Kassah Kantiok, in awe at what Beast Tribe was doing.

"Their average age is around mid 30's and they're playing like they're in their late 20's," said Kantiok on the mic. "Do these guys ever tired?"

Sheldon Pace finished with 23 points, 6 assists while Trowe scored 9 points in his debut. Jason Harris returned with 15 points, 4 steals while CJ Johnson added 19 points, 6 rebounds. A week after playing for the Relics, CJ Johnson decided to leave Relics to start a new journey with his boys and in his own words, it was like night and day.

"You saw me play one way with the Relics, you saw me play another way with Beast Tribe," said CJ.

While CJ is on his way out, Justian Hamilton is on his way into the Relics. Playing his last game with Death Row, the Renegades All Star finished with 6 points, 2 rebounds while Mike Ratliff added 14 points. Calvin Mitchell scored 19 points while GM Derrick Andrews scored 5 points. It was Death Row's last game with this roster before GM Derrick Andrews and Calvin Mitchell decided to blow up the team, making way for Gold Division's 14th team.