FANWOOD/SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- It’s all about the second season. They say anything can happen when teams go dancing in March.  Certainly, the results of the opening round of the 2017-18 playoffs in the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA Men’s 30+ Basketball League are testament to why it’s called “The Madness,” as the lower seeds prevailed in three of the four matchups.

Game #1     
Winning team: Throwbacks       (67)
Losing team:   Triples ‘n Dimes (53)
 
Chalk held form in just one game, and it was the top-seeded Throwbacks who survived Bloody Sunday.  T.N.D. welcomed the return of their injured leading scorer Stephen Murray (12 pts, 4 treys), and jumped out to an early double-digit advantage.  But, TB Capt. Jamal Berry squelched any dreams of an 8 v. 1 upset, with a vintage performance – 30 pts, 11-13 FGs, 11 rebs, 7 assists – to power his squad into the semifinals.  Jason Shann (13), rookie Orlando Jean-Charles (11), and Vic Bauer (6), played vital supporting roles for the victors.  The Triple Dimers, who finished the harsh winter losers of 8 straight, were paced by Rich Cobbinah (18 pts, 6 boards, 10 dimes). Capt. Dennis Glynn had 7, Tim Gray & Doug Barker 6 apiece, and Troy Sims snared 9 off the glass in defeat.

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Game #2
Winning team:  Run It Back!          (42)
Losing team: Talkin’ Bout Practice (37)

Sophomore sensation Greg Josephsen registered 19 pts & 7 rebs, doing most of his work from the foul-line (11 of 13), to help R.I.B! earn a Final Four showdown with the #1-ranked Throwbacks.  In the win, steely guard Gregg Carder tossed in 8, Capt. Tom St. John posted 7 & 6, and Graham Haskell contributed 5 & 8.  T.B.P., missing its top point producer and windex-man, Joe DeGennaro, received 12 pts from veteran Dave Berger, and 9 tallies each from Joe Encarnacion and Scott Lowder.

Game #3
Winning team:  Team 8            (64)
Losing team: Basket Brawlers (51)

6th-seeded Team 8 got out of the gate quickly behind diaper dandy Brendan Ryan (18 pts) and “O.G.” Omar Glover (15, three triples), and fought off the 3rd-seeded Brawlers, as Chris Burke and Capt. Blake Sonnek-Schmelz both added 11 markers for the hot-shooting T8 (23-34 from the field).  B.B.’s Warren Lowe, who averaged a league-best 23.3 ppg during the regular campaign, notched 27 (four from downtown), while Commissioner Kevin Adams (14) also drilled four from beyond the arc.

Winning team: Droppin’ Dimes  (48)
Losing team:    Game Over       (32)          

In a day filled with mild surprises, captain Brian Ciemneicki’s 7th-seeded Dimers were the biggest bracket busters, as the silky smooth Eljay Aguillo dropped 24 pts (10-10 from the charity stripe).  Steve Lee (7), Chris Mattina (6), and Craig Cichocki (5 & 10) were instrumental, as D.D. advanced to a semifinal tilt with Team 8.  G.O., who had scored 50 points in all but two contests this year, was limited to a season-low 32, including just 14 in the final 20 minutes of action.  Capt. Gavin Ford (11 & 8) and guard Greg Shea (8) were high-men for the aptly-named Game Over.

Semifinal Schedule for March 18:

(5) Run It Back! v. (1) Throwbacks -  10 a.m.

(7) Droppin’ Dimes v. (6) Team 8   -  11 a.m. 

The Y is the nation’s leading nonprofit committed to strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. For information on membership or programs, or to request a schedule of classes, please call the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA at (908) 889-8880 or visit www.fspymca.org.  Financial assistance is available for those who qualify.