Marist Intramural Basketball playoffs have begun

This semester’s intramural basketball season at Marist began with 30 teams split up into two conferences. 15 teams played their regular season out on Monday nights while the other 15 played on Wednesday nights. Each team plays one game per week over the span of the semester, but do not play every team in their conference. They also do not see any of the teams, which play on the opposite night until the playoffs.

Intramural basketball is definitely one of the most competitive intramural sports here at Marist College. There is an abundance of talented basketball players in this league who most likely played high school ball, and maybe are even capable of playing at the Division 2 or 3-college level. Most of the more talented players in this league, with a few exceptions of course, are upperclassmen. Over their years at Marist many students spend some time trying to put together a team that has a chance to win a championship. What ends up happening often is that players jump around from team to team through a few seasons and find themselves matched up against friends, housemates, and former teammates. This makes for great competition. There may not be glory and fame that comes with this championship, but what does come is bragging rights and a pretty sweet t-shirt.

“I spent a lot of time this offseason trying to get a group of guys together to make a run at that title,” said senior Peter Alloca in his seventh intramural season. “I got a pretty good team together, but there were one or two of my buddies who decided to play with another team instead of sticking with their close friends. These decisions were made over the summer and it motivated the guys I did get to play with us to beat those teams we lost some good players to. I think this formed somewhat of a rivalry with one team in particular months before the season even started.”

Alloca is on a team made up of eight seniors named the Fly Boys who finished the season at 8-0. The other team that he mentioned is called the Sideline Story, made up of four seniors and two juniors. They finished their season with a record of 6-2. Troy Kavana is a senior who had the choice to play with his friends on the Fly Boys or to play with the Sideline Story.

“The guys on the Fly Boys are my friends but I had to give myself the best chance to win,” Kavana said. “The Sideline Story guys are guys that I play on the club basketball team with and went to a national tournament with last semester. I’m trying to win a championship before I graduate and I think this team gives me the best opportunity to do that.”

There are twelve players on this year’s club basketball team, and they are spread out among four teams across the league. All of the seniors on the club team play on the same intramural team but there are some very talented underclassmen on these other three teams. You can see how this can make for some more good rivalry games around the league.

“We looked forward to playing the other teams with club players on them ever since we had tryouts and the team was picked,” noted Conor Williams, a freshman on the club team. “We know they’re going to give us a competitive game and obviously we want to beat the upperclassmen to prove we belong.” Williams plays for Brick Squad who finished the season undefeated at 8-0.

Also on this team is a transfer student named Nick Arnold. Arnold played division three basketball at Vassar College. He is a big body who can also handle and shoot the basketball, easily making him a top three player in the league. He is not an easy cover and he made some real noise in his second semester playing Marist Intramurals. He too is on this year’s club roster.

There is one more team with three club players that have made a little bit of noise this season. Led by 6’4 transfer student Donovan Johnson and 6’5 senior Adam Jackson, Team Showtime finished their season at 6-2. Despite their two losses this team knew they had a chance to go all the way going into the playoffs.

Playoffs began last Monday night at the Grey Gym in the McCann Center. The playoff basketball atmosphere was in the air and teams were showing up early to make sure they were stretched out and got some warm up shots in. For playoffs both leagues merge and the top 16 teams are in. Seeding is decided based on record, strength of schedule, and point differential. Brick Squad and Fly Boys locked up the one and two seeds respectively, while Showtime landed the five seed followed by Sideline Story at six.

There was a big upset in the first round where the four seed lost to the 13 seed. The team in the four spot is called Forgetting Kendall Marshall and they have a senior walk on Marist Basketball player, Turron Whitfield. Marist Basketball happened to have an away game on Monday night, so Turron had to travel and was unable to make the game. His team missed him as they lost by two points. Joe Cahill missed a tough three point shot at the buzzer to win it.

In round two, Brick Squad was tested, matching up against the Green Team, who made it all the way to the finals two semesters ago. It was a hard fought, physical game that got a little chippy at times. There was some shoving and a lot of complaining to the refs, but it all came down to the last 3 minutes. Conor Williams and transfer student Nick Arnold showed some chemistry and took over the game sending them to the final four after a 10-point win.

Showtime, Sideline Story, and Fly Boys all took care of their second round matchups without much difficulty. Each team won by a convincing score, Sideline Story in particular winning their game by 40 points. It turned out that there were two great matchups in the final four. Sideline Story would play Fly Boys, and Showtime would play Brick Squad.

“I’ve been waiting for this game all year,” said Alloca of the Fly Boys. “I didn’t get to play Troy’s team during the season and we’ve been talking smack back and forth all season about who would win this game. Not to mention my housemate is on his team too.”

Sideline Story got off to a hot start against their friends and rivals going up 15 points at halftime. The second half was a different story. Senior Mike Nappi caught fire hitting five three pointers in the second half, three of them coming with under three minutes to play. They got the game to within five points when Alloca missed a crucial shot down the stretch forcing the Fly Boys to foul. Sideline story took the game 65-60 and would advance to the championship game.

As for the other side of the bracket, we had a really interesting matchup. There was a lot of talk beforehand about who would win this game and it seemed that most of the referees and players around the league were leaning towards Showtime. Some guys watching the game settled on a three-point spread in favor of Showtime. Well Showtime came out and had one of the worst games of their season. Donovan Johnson who was their leading scorer all season missed every three-pointer he took and ended the game with a subpar 10 points. Brick Squad took this game 70-59.

Brick Squad vs. Sideline Story will be the championship game. Brick Squad is a younger team with talent and a lot of quickness. Sideline Story is made up of upperclassmen, who are seasoned intramural veterans.

“I think it’s going to be a great game,” said Arnold of Brick Squad. “This is probably going to be our toughest matchup of the season and I think it’s going to be a tight one. I’d really like to beat these guys because I would never let them live it down.”

The championship game will take place on Wednesday December 10th at 9:30 pm in the Grey Gym in the McCann Center. If you want to see some competitive intramural basketball get out there and get a good seat.

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