Never take anything for granted at the Drew League—even in the final week of the regular season, when it seems like teams’ identities are set ahead of the playoffs. That might be the big takeaway from Week 10’s explosive finish, which saw both huge blowouts and stunning upsets all the way down the schedule.
Not only did lower-seed, struggling teams like Pandas, L.O.S., and Jaguars overturn much higher seeds—Jaguars doing so in spectacular fashion over incumbent champs Redemption in Saturday’s closer—but even Baxter’s Legacy, who have had a resurgent season so far, despite a late-season slump, found a way to defeat their competition, the seemingly unstoppable Public Enemy, in a show-stopping, marquee performance.
Justin Stommes won Player of the Game honors, but perhaps no one on Legacy felt the victory more deeply than Jarrell Tate, who revenged himself against his former team by guarding Franklin Session as Stommes went to work on the boards.
Meanwhile, Problems’ Garrett Nevels and Tuff Crowd’s Brandon Jennings turned in vintage shooting performances, with Problems coming back from down 17 points to defeat Reapers Black Ops by 17 themselves.
Another marquee matchup saw the vaunted No Shnacks taking on CitiTeam Blazers, with Ervin Ware, listed as standing all of 5’9″, accepted the challenge of guarding 6’8” LaMelo Ball and proving himself more than capable of acquitting himself against the longer player, matching him shot-for-shot from three-point range and racking up the assists.
Elsewhere, AJ Gasporra turned back the clock against Team Watson and Marcus Williams put in a classic “Mr. Iso” performance against I-Can All-Stars, while Stephaun Branch filled up the box score during All In’s faceoff against Black Pearl Elite. The last week of the regular season saw star-making performances, highlight-reel dunks, and showed the weaknesses of mighty teams that play down to their competition or fold under pressure.
When the playoffs begin, those will be the weaknesses that teams look to exploit, while those star players will begin to feel the pressure as defenses key in on them. Let’s all hope they’re ready because now that slogan means more than ever: “No excuse, just produce.”
Game 1: Pandas 83 vs. Prodigy 82
Player of the Game: Charles Buggs (13 PTS)
Game 2: MHP 85 vs. Panthers 73
Player of the Game: Victor Rudd (18 PTS, 11 REB)
Game 3: Problems 105 vs. Reapers Black Ops 88
Player of the Game: Garrett Nevels (56 PTS, 7 REB)
Game 4: Tuff Crowd 87 vs. Young Citi 69
Player of the Game: Brandon Jennings (44 PTS, 11 REB)
Game 5: Nationwide Blue Devils 79 vs. I-Can All-Stars 77
Player of the Game: Marcus Williams (25 PTS)
Game 6: Jaguars 108 vs. Redemption 105
Player of the Game: Stephon Carter (31 PTS, 10 REB)
Game 1: L.O.S. 82 vs. BB4L 67
Player of the Game: Mike Ojo (26 PTS)
Game 2: Baxter’s Legacy 80 vs. Public Enemy 73
Player of the Game: Justin Stommes (21 PTS, 12 REB)
Game 3: CitiTeam Blazers 103 vs. No Shnacks 87
Player of the Game: Ervin Ware (18 PTS, 7 REB, 8 AST, 4 STL)
Game 4: CABC So. Cal 98 vs. Team Watson 87
Player of the Game: AJ Gasporra (16 PTS, 7 REB, 3 AST)
Game 5: All In 84 vs. Black Pearl Elite 76
Player of the Game: Stephuan Branch (17 PTS, 6 REB, 5 AST)