FANWOOD/SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Eight teams with championship aspirations took to the hardwood during the opening round of the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA Men’s 30+ Basketball League playoffs. Three of the top four seeds advanced. However, a defending champ saw to it that things would not go totally chalk on the road to the Final Four.
Winning team: Get Buckets (70)
Losing team: Drive N Dish (56)
#1 seed Get Buckets took care of business led by Jamal “The Truth” Berry (25 pts, 13 rebounds) and Capt. Justin Fiory (20 & 8, four from downtown). Ara Movsesian (10 pts) and “KG” Kevin Gannon (8 & 6) also helped G.B. tune up for its title run. Hamstrung by injuries all season, Drive N Dish gave it another gritty effort. Brian Ciemneicki capped a marvelous winter with 21 pts & 8 rebs, while running mates Steve Lee (14 & 8) and Chris Beaudry (9 & 8) went down fighting for DND.
Winning team: No Conscience (45)
Losing team: Hickory Hoosiers (32)
The #4/#5 tilt was no contest, as 4th-seeded No Con ran out to a 18-4 lead and never looked back, securing a date with top dog Get Buckets for a right to play for the Chip. Gregg Carder was his consistent self, notching 14 pts for the winners, and was supported by breakout forward Stephen Murray’s 11 tallies. The Hoosiers’ shooting went hickory-dickory-dock at the most inopportune time, as they connected on just 14 of their 61 attempts (23%). Dave Ferreiro was the Hicks’ high-man with 8 pts. Craig Cichocki and Joe DeGennaro each snared 10 boards.
Winning team: Slamma Jamma (53)
Losing team: Flash-N-Bang (35)
The #3 seed slammed the door shut on the #6 seed, and will be jamming in the next round of the Big Dance. Rookie phenom Greg Josephsen paced Slam Jam with 18 pts, Gavin Ford fashioned a monster double-double (15 pts, 20 caroms), and Dave “Baseline” Berger tossed in 10 pts for the victors. F-N-B received 19 pts from league-leading scorer Warren Lowe, and a 9 & 7 outing from the reliable OG, Omar Glover.
Winning team: Falcons (51)
Losing team: Size Matters (49)
Form held until the nightcap, as the 7th-seeded Falcons edged #2 seed Size Matters to earn a Final Four showdown against Slamma Jamma. It will be a return trip to the semi-finals for Falc Capt. Jason Shann, who steered his squad to the 2016 FSPY crown. Sweet stroker Eljay Aguillo tickled the twines for 16 pts (4 treys), first-year wonder Clay Torres went for 13 & 7, and Shann contributed 12 pts for the dancing Dirty Birds. Frosh sensation Chris Burke (25 pts) and veteran baller Jason Pompeo (14) were sizeable in a losing cause.
Semi-Finals Schedule for 3/19/17:
(#4) No Conscience v. (#1) Get Buckets - 10:00 a.m.
(#7) Falcons v. (#3) Slamma Jamma - 11:00 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.