The Finals – Beach Warriors Back 2 Back champs on Ron Beals historial Day

FINALS – Recap by Brandon Harrisson

Sunday, August 18

City of Los Angeles honored the Venice legend at the conclusion of the VBL Playoffs.

The VBL finished off another hoop filled summer at the beach with a full slate of

games. The Kids VBL got it going in the am, then the VBL legends tipped off, and the

Celebrity game featuring Indiana Pacers point guard, George Hill finished off the

afternoon, but the showcase was the VBL Championship. Number one seed, Rise of

The Nation led by T-Will fell to the defending champion Beach Warriors and Michael

“Take A Picture” Blue, 76-75. The first quarter was tight ending a 17-17 tie. T-Will

lead Rise of the Nations with 6 points in the first, which included a fast break dunk

while wearing his trademark glasses. No Fear also chipped in by knocking down a

couple form long distance. The Beach Warriors used their depth and a balanced

attack that continued into the second quarter. Mike Jones, B-Train, and The Bay

knocked down threes, while Pop Champagne dominated on the inside.  T-Will took a

rest mid way through the second quarter and the ROTN offense ground to a halt.

Having only 6 players, it became clear that ROTN was dealing with some severe

fatigue issues, as the deeper Beach Warriors seemed to conserve much more energy.

No Fear and T-Will were responsible for nearly all of ROTN’s offensive effort. . The

diminutive Mani Love entered the game with four minutes left in the second which

was a clear opportunity for ROTN to make a run but the Beach Warriors stuck

around eventually taking a 41-38 lead into half despite an impressive performances

from No Fear and T-Will.  The second half kicked off with Mani Love having a major

impact on the game. Love’s ball dominant style resulted in a couple of nice dimes

that , will forever be known as Ron Beals’ Day at Venice Beach, as the

including a ridiculous alley-oop to Michael Blue that got the crowd on their feet. On

the flipside, ROTN quickly shifted their attack to an inside out approach that focused

on posting up Love. Although he was quiet in the first half, Donovan Plunkett was

able to capitalize easily inside with Love guarding him. Midway through the 3

Beach warriors had opened up a 6-point lead that seemed a lot larger. The full line

up swaps were keeping the Warriors fresh but ROTN was able to lean on the big

man Compton in the post and quickly go on an 8-2 taking the lead from the Warriors

58-56 going into the fourth. The Beach Warriors rarely played their best line up

during the third and it was clear that it would more difficult for the ROTN to get

easy buckets without Mani Love on the court.  The Beach Warriors went inside to

Pop champagne for their first 3 possession of the resulting in two easy buckets and

a smooth dish to the cutting point guard Mr. Fab. ROTN could not seem to get easy

buckets to fall as every layup rimmed in and out, and they settled for long threes.

They adjusted their strategy to a post up offense to get points off of second fouls and

things got chippy inside between Bigalow and Donovan Plunkett as they battled for

post position. The Beach Warriors had another five-man substitution at the 6-

minute mark, that looked bad for the exhausted ROTN, but their consistent pressure

driving to the rack kept them in the game on second foul points. The final minutes

were a crazy back and forth affair with neither team willing to give up the lead for

long.   A T Will fast break bucket gave the ROTN a one-point lead but the Beach

Warriors responded right back with Pop Champagne on the inside. With the Beach

Warriors leading 70-71 at the 2 minute mark, Plunkett attempted a wild one on one

take against Mr. Fab, despite being out of control he was able to draw a second foul

and give ROTN a one point lead. The Warriors were looking to capitalize off of the

same foul rule looking to Pop Champagne inside but after a scuffle under the basket,

ROTN leaked out on the break where Plunkett ultimately blew the layup despite

having No Fear wide open. With 45 seconds left, Pop Champagne was fouled and

given a 2 shots to take the lead. He missed them both but the Beach Warriors were

able to corral the board and Mr. Fab a far better shooter, knocked down both of his

free throws.  No Fear immediately called for an isolation against Pop Champagne

and broke him down easily getting to the free throw line knocking down both.  With

ten seconds left and the game slipping away Pop Champagne lost the ball to

Compton and the referees called a jump ball, much to the chagrin of the Beach

Warriors who felt ROTN was illegally double-teaming.  On the jump, Pop

Champagne was able to control the tip from Compton and guided it right to the high flying Michael Blue who laid it in. No Fear lost the ball on his way to the basket and  the Beach Warriors popped champagne claiming their second straight VBL title.

TWill of ROTN was named VBL MVP.

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