Four teams walked into Baruch College’s ARC Arena last night, but by the evening’s end, only two were left standing. After a pair of back-and-forth semifinal contests, the Nike Pro City championship matchup is now set: tomorrow evening, Sundiata Gaines and The Franchise will look to defend its title against Dyckman/NYAC.
Both squads’ road to the finals was far from easy with The Franchise having to battle back from an early 14-point deficit and Dyckman/NYAC pulling out the win on a last-second basket.
The evening began with a matchup made in heaven for fans of strong guard play. In a fast-paced contest that would have made Mike D’Antoni proud, Franchise’s Gaines and Andre Barrett lined up against United Brooklyn’s Gary Ervin and Eugene Lawrence. After 12 minutes of running and gunning, the squads combined for 60 points, and United Brooklyn was on pace to go for 148.
But it quickly became clear that only one team could keep the pace for 48 minutes.
Entering the second quarter down 14, The Franchise began chipping away at the deficit, thanks in large part to the arrival of Florida guard Erving Walker. With Walker, Gaines, and Barrett all starting to heat up, The Franchise wore down United Brooklyn, grabbing its first lead midway through the second quarter.
After a slow start, Gaines started to show why he deserved an NBA contract, hitting an array of jumpers. Fueled by Gaines’ game-high 38 points, the Franchise cruised to the 120-107 win.
While the second matchup may have been lacking in NBA star power, it certainly made up for it in excitement.
With Marshon Brooks and Ryan Gomes absent, it looked like Dyckman/NYAC could be in for a long night against Primetime. But relying on its deep frontcourt of Jeff Foote and Ater Majok, Dyckman stayed in the contest, trailing by seven at the half. By the end of the third quarter, it was a one-point game, and when the final buzzer sounded, Dyckman came out on top.
Tomorrow evening, Dyckman’s talented frontcourt will take on Franchise’s guard-heavy lineup to determine the league’s champion. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at ARC Arena on 55 Lexington Avenue.
Tomorrow, will you be there?
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