As the 45th season of the Drew League wound down this past weekend, each team in the Drew had to determine just what they were playing for. Some, like Foot Print, Optimus, Reapers, Prodigy and Jaguars, played for their playoff lives, for the right to challenge the best of the best for a dark horse shot at the Drew League crown. Others like BB4L and Problems played to determine seeding, which could become crucial later in the playoffs as the level of competition ratchets up a notch.
Still others had to be content with playing for pride. Would Hoops Legends end the season winless? Could LA Loop avoid being relegated to last place in their division? One team, Birdie’s Revenge, chased ghosts of Drew League records past in the hopes of cementing their legacy among the greats of an already storied league. In all, it was the most exciting week of basketball yet in 2018, with huge implications for the upcoming finale.
While Friday night’s triple-header held a few surprises—Jaguars edging Clozers on Chris Spencer’s buzzer-beating long two and Young Legends finally snatching their first win of the season by overturning Spider Webb—the real action began Saturday, as Legacy shocked Team Watson with a 19-point blowout to start the weekend in earnest.
Problems and Blazers turned out to be one of the most electrifying contests of the year as Blazers jumped out to a 23-point lead in the first half, only to see Problems chip away throughout the third and fourth quarters to force not one, but two overtimes. Unfortunately for Problems, the effort—which saw Jaylen Bland sink eight three triples in the second half alone—proved too taxing and they finally gassed out in the second overtime, leaving the door open for Blazers to complete their victory.
Later, reigning MVP Frank “Nitty” Session turned in the first of two 40-plus-point performances against Reapers in a thriller that saw Birdie’s Revenge narrowly defeated a balanced effort from the Reapers, who granted Nitty the honor of facing off with forward Taurean Prince.
On Sunday, the surprising Young Legends defeated the flagging LAUNFD, BB4L smacked a Nation Wide Souljas squad missing its heaviest hitters, and MHP routed the Pandas with help from new addition Rudy Gay, who praised the competition level in his first-ever Drew League appearance, but the matchup that had everyone talking—that featured the two-time MVP—was Birdie’s Revenge’s faceoff against Hometown Favorites and their secret weapon, Denzel Valentine.
Although Valentine vowed to become the Nitty-stopper that the entire Drew League has scrambled for all season, it was Session, aka Megadeth, who took control of the matchup early. The chip on Nitty’s shoulder has never stood out more than on Sunday, when he nailed jumper after jumper over the outstretched Valentine, letting him hear about it the whole time on his way to a monster 44-point, 11-rebound stat line and Birdie’s Revenge’s Drew League record-tying 26 wins. One more win will allow them to surpass the standing record of Problems’ 25-win streak, making them the winningest team in Drew League history.