Still there was early drama. In just the fourth game of the morning, Quenton Clements beat Marcus Barnett with a left-handed runner that rattled in at the buzzer. Barnett could only let out an exacerbated smile. And SpongeBob barely made it out alive in his first game, beating Jerome Stokes, 6-5. With time running out (every game was played with a five-minute running clock), Stokes fouled SpongeBob, his fifth and final foul, and Washington immediately dropped the basketball, started waving his hands in the air, yelling, “Five fouls! Game over! Five fouls!” He had survived. That’s all that mattered.
Dennis Ameyaw, who is legally deaf, also found enough in the tank to advance with a win.
As the tournament advanced, we were closing in on the matchup that everyone wanted to see: SpongeBob vs. Baby Shaq. In the Sweet 16, Baby Shaq dominated Bausys, running away late to a 20-9 win. Even Bausys, who at 6-4 had the size to contend with Baby Shaq, couldn’t stop him once he got into the lane. SpongeBob survived to advance as well. The two friends met up in the Elite 8, and Baby Shaq jumped out ahead 12-4 as SpongeBob missed a couple of five-foot bank shots that would come back to haunt him. Even a late run by SpongeBob, including two threes, couldn’t bring him all the way back. As time ran out, his fate was sealed, losing by two.
But Baby Shaq’s gauntlet run wasn’t over yet. In the Final Four, he met Do Dirt, a ying and yang game: Do Dirt with his jump shot, left-to-right crossover and perimeter game against Baby Shaq and his size, power and body control inside. As Do Dirt jumped ahead 8-4, the MC cracked, “Stop crying over here lil’ man! You need a pacifier?” when one of the locals was yelling for Baby Shaq to turn it up. But as time went on, he did turn it up. Do Dirt’s stamina weakened, his jump shot started missing, and Baby Shaq went right at him play after play. By the end, Do Dirt gave up an uncontested layup, frustrated and tired. Baby Shaq scored eight straight points, and won 14-10, forcing himself into the finals.
In the other half of the Final Four, Redz took out Greg Eatmon, setting up the monster championship. While Redz would lose to Baby Shaq in the finals, he had still earned himself a trip, along with Baby Shaq, to Alcatraz in September for the national finals and the chance at $10,000 dollars.
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