The intramural basketball season wrapped up right before Spring Break, while intramural soccer kicked off March 15.
By Clint Longenecker
The week prior to Spring Break meant something more to Palm Beach Atlantic University students than just midterms week and the realization that a vacation was approaching. It also meant the PBA intramural basketball playoffs were beginning.
After a long, physical and hard-fought regular season, 13 men’s teams remained standing for a shot at glory.
When shooting hoops in his backyard, every child dreams about one thing and one thing only: being a PBA Intramural Basketball Champion.
With the level of competition so high and players willing to do whatever it takes to emerge victorious, who would come out on top?
Just like the NCAA tournament last year, in the early rounds of postseason play there were very few upsets and unsurprising outcomes, with almost every early favorite advancing. This set up a dream scenario for the finish.
In what would undoubtedly be the premier Final Four in PBA intramural history, the White Hawks, White Magic, Slothin and Jay Jackson and the Tito Jacksons each stood two victories from celebrating as champions.
The first semifinal match-up featured the regular season’s top team, the White Hawks, and many bracketologists’ dark horse pick, Jay Jackson and the Tito Jacksons.
It was a fast-paced, high-scoring affair. It was a game of offensive runs, as the White Hawks came out red hot, taking a 20-point lead into halftime.
League MVP candidate Jay Jackson rallied his troops for what could have been an epic comeback, but it was too little too late for the pharmacy squad as they were bested by eight when the final buzzer sound.
Zach McKenzie proved to be an unstoppable force in this contest, registering 26 points and knocking down five 3-pointers, many from well beyond NBA territory.
With the White Hawks advancing to the finals, the prime matchup of Slothin and White Magic remained to determine who would win the other
spot in the championship game.
In what could be described as the most physical, hard-fought and contentious game of the entire year, the White Magic’s bid for a second straight championship was squashed by an inspired Slothin squad, who played their most complete game of the year on both ends of the floor.
With perennial All-Star forward Travis Jones standing on the sidelines because of a recently sustained ACL tear, the troops rallied behind their fallen comrade for a 25 point victory, handing the White Magic their worst loss in team history. Pointguard Andrew Lockhart played an inspired game, finishing with a game high 25 points.
This led to the most anticipated basketball final since last year’s potential matchup of Kobe Bryant’s Lakers taking on LeBron James’ Cavaliers.
Unlike that dream scenario that didn’t materialize, this match-up would actually happen, and the fans couldn’t contain their excitement.
Feverish fans flocked to the Rubin Arena to see the dream match-up of the White Hawks and Slothin. This pairing offered a bevy of primetime faceoffs including George Alexander against Jordan Kimmey, which one observer remarked was like “a young Moses Malone play against Bill Walton in his prime.”
The first half was competitive but neither team showed glimpses of superiority. At halftime the White Hawks held the lead, but by the slim margin of 5 points.
Once the second half began, the White Hawks came out playing as well as possible. They provided stifling defense that forced numerous turnovers and even more low percentage shot attempts from Slothin.
Sensational big man Kimmey demonstrated to everyone in attendance why his nickname is “Mr. Windex,” because he cleaned the glass that night, grabbing a season high 16 rebounds. His contributions were strong on the offensive end as well, scoring a game high 22 points.
All-Star Guard Zack McKenzie provided his typical scoring firepower, pitching in 14 points, in addition to five steals.
Alexander was the top dog for the runner up Slothin squad, finishing the night with 19 points.
In the end, Slothin couldn’t hang with the White Hawks’ firepower as every small comeback run was met with a subsequent score from the White Hawks. The White Hawks won the championship with a final score of 55-38.
Once the final buzzer sounded, pandemonium ensued for the White Hawks. After receiving their exclusive Intramural Champions T-shirt, they held the shirts close, remembering all the blood, sweat and tears poured into winning this glorious prize. It was a touching moment.
All in all, it was one of the best and most competitive PBA Intramural Basketball League seasons of all time, which is no small feat.
While the excitement of intramural basketball is over, an action-packed soccer season has arrived. Teams play every Monday – Thursday from
7 – 9 p.m.