Mercury Morris and the 1972 Miami Dolphins popped the cork on their champagne Tuesday night, as the Fighting Harbaughs became the last undefeated team to fall, ensuring for now that the 1972 Dolphins will remain the only undefeated team in the history of the NFL or Wharton Basketball League.
Los Verdugos 37, Fighting Harbaughs 36
Like all great things in life, the Fighting Harbaughs’ undefeated season has come to an end, as the squad’s offensive firepower proved insufficient to penetrate the aggressive defense of Los Verdugos. In an epic Wharton basketball league thriller, a pair of clutch Zeeshan Hyder free throws put Los Verdugos up by 1 point with 30 seconds left. Four blown calls later, Los Verdugos had successfully slain the Harbaughs and were celebrating at midcourt. Matt “Scratch Marks” Bradley had a particularly gutty performance, overcoming a costly turnover (to be fair, he was form tackled on the play but received no foul call) to drive the lane for the go-ahead layup.
In other news, there are questions floating around the Verdugos locker room about whether Mike Meng is turning out to be a draft bust, given his proclivity for starting his weekends on Tuesday. He is currently 87th in the league in games played, ahead only of Chris Oosterhuis, who has been on leave at the Kennedy School all semester.
Taking My Talents 61, Animal Spirits 58
In the highest-rated game of Week 6, the Talents (4-2) extended their winning streak to four games in defeating the Animal Spirits (2-4). The Spirits got off to a hot start, led by their top scorers George Schultz (17 points) and Rich Martin (14 points), and finished the first half up by a dozen. Things looked particularly grim for the Talents when their captain and emotional leader Shern Frederick suffered a painful ankle injury.
But the Talents kept grinding away and starting chipping into the lead. While star forward Brian Darcy supplied his usual 20 points, it was an unexpected flurry of 3-point shots that put the Talents on top, led by season-high totals from Jon Aisenberg (17 points) and James Han (12 points). The game ultimately came down to free throws by Brian McCoy, a guy better known for his devastating soccer skills and a sweet party house than for his jump shot. But McCoy stepped up and banked in 2 free throws to ice the game and cap an impressive comeback victory.
The Jimmers 75, The Dreamliners 65
Through 5 games, more and more people around the league were questioning The Jimmers. With just one victory separating them from the winless Ankle Breakers in the standings, the team needed to show that they were more than basement dwellers. This moment was not lost on the team, and they showed on Tuesday night that their record may be more a function of recruiting-related absences than a lack of talent. Playing against a strong Dreamliners squad, Captain Brig Wilson led the Jimmers to a 75-65 victory.
The Jimmers won with a strong team performance, with Aaron Royston and Grant Smith knocking down clutch threes, Dennis Norman controlling the paint, Kathryn Schledwitz stroking jumpers, and Sangeen Zeb pulling down clutch rebounds. For the Dreamliners, Schiffner carried the offensive load but was called for a costly technical foul late in the game, on account of his creepy mustache. Mike Van Pelt was strong on the boards, but ultimately the Dreamliners came up a bit short.
Beast Mode Ballers 69, Ankle Breakers 57
George O’Garro proved too much for the Ankle Breakers to handle, as the Beast Mode Ballers won their third straight contest to improve to 4-2. After recording a career-high 2 blocked shots earlier in the season, The Breakers’ Derek Sutta was feeling confident about his defensive prowess and decided to challenge O’Garro at the rim, but George posterized him with a 2-handed slam in his face. The Ballers also got strong performances from Curtis Ofori, who dominated on the offensive glass, Amish Tolia, who confidently ran the point, and Matt Henley who displayed a nice inside-outside game. The squad even got a cameo from Captain Greg McBroom, who came straight from his recruiting dinner to support his team in the final minutes.
For the still-winless Breakers, the gritty performance sparked hope that this team will, in fact, win a game this year. Phil Dodyk led a balanced scoring attack that featured at least 5 points from every Ankle Breaker in attendance. If the team chemistry continues to improve, I think this team has the talent to make a run.