The Fall 2017 season of our Pistons Academy Prep Division came to a close on Saturday as we completed a highly-exciting and entertaining playoff schedule! Saturday featured 4 Prep Division games that were decided by a combined total of 9 points (average margin of victory – 2.5 points)! Here’s a look back at Saturday’s action:
Saturday, December 2nd
Quarterfinal: #4 Chargers 23, #5 Blackhawks 19: Our first game of the day was a battle for a spot in the Prep Division Semifinals. These two teams went at it with everything they had. The Blackhawks were looking to pull off a minor upset, led by Lance Kukes’ game-high 8 points and Most Improved Player Bryan Pohl’s 7 points. Jonathan Schwartz also added 4 points, but the Chargers were able to squeak out the narrow victory, eliminating the Blackhawks from the Playoffs. Overall, the Blackhawks improved as a team throughout the season and gave themselves a real chance in the playoffs. However, as you’ll see below, the Chargers were on an absolute mission. Drew Heckman led them with 6 points in this one, followed up by Wally Ulmer and William Fedor’s 4 points each. With the win, the Chargers booked themselves a spot in the Semi’s against the top-seeded Ravens.
Semifinal: #3 Falcons 18, #2 Raiders 16: After trailing 10-6 at the halftime break, the third-seeded Falcons used a 9-2 run in the 4th quarter to storm back and shock the second-seeded Raiders. Ethan Watkins and Michael West were instrumental in fueling the comeback for the Falcons. They led a balanced scoring attack for the Falcons, as they scored 6 points and 3 points, respectively. Elijah Watkins added 4 points for the Falcons to go along with Ari Blank and Alex Valentich’s 2 points. The Raiders were paced by Nathan Hendrickson’s 6 points and the McKinney brothers, who combined for 8 points (4 points each).
Semifinal: #4 Chargers 20, #1 Ravens 18 (OT): Myles Rontal’s put-back bucket late in the final minute tied the score at 16, forcing overtime in this Prep Division Semifinal. The raucous crowd was treated to another fantastic game, as this one came down to the wire. The Chargers jumped out to an 8-4 halftime lead as they looked to shock the world and knock off the top-seeded Ravens. However, showing the toughness and grit that earned them the #1 seed, the Ravens battled back in the second half, forcing OT. The Chargers, unfazed by the late-game heroics of the Ravens, regained their composure. Wally Ulmer scored a contested bucket in overtime, the eventual game-winner, giving his team a 2-point advantage. Drew Heckman (7 points) was solid again in the Semis, William Fedor added 5 points, and Jack Kutinsky, Wally Ulmer, and Brandon Gottesman each added 2 points. The Ravens received strong performances from Most Improved Player Daniel Cockroft (4 points), Joseph Hesano (5 pts, 5rebs, 2stls), Gabriel Alami, Zackary Kozouz, Luca Spadafore, and Myles Rontal (6 points). The Chargers’ incredible run continued as they advanced to the Championship Game.
Championship Game: #4 Chargers 17, #3 Falcons 16: With each team coming off upset victories, it was anybody’s guess as to who would have the hot hand and come out on top in Saturday’s Prep Division Championship Game. It was the Falcons who had it going early, as they jumped out a 9-4 halftime lead thanks to a 7-point 2nd quarter. However, the Chargers completely flipped the script in the 2nd half as they came roaring back. Trailing by one with under 20 seconds remaining, Chargers’ star Drew Heckman passed it over to an open teammate, Wally Ulmer, who knocked down a mid-range shot to give his team the lead (17-16) with 2.4 seconds remaining. The Falcons were unable to get off a shot, and the Chargers completed their Cinderella story. The #4 seed had done the unthinkable, winning 3 straight games, and earning the top spot in the Prep Division! Elijah Watkins (6 points), Ethan Watkins (4 points), Ari Blank (4 points), Michael West (1 pt, 3ast) and Nicholas Ishak (1pts, 2ast) paced the Falcons. William Fedor (5 points) led the Chargers, with Ulmer and Heckman each adding 4 points, followed by Devin Young and Brandon Gottesman’s 2 points each.
Congratulations to all of the Prep Division teams on a fantastic season of Pistons Academy basketball!
Winter Season: Registration for the winter season is open! For more information or to register for the winter leagues, please visit: Birmingham Leagues