Written by Sydney Imus and Alex Semerjian
The Mecca vs. Fabletics
Week 3 of the VBL tipped off with a matchup between undefeated The Mecca and winless Fabletics. The Mecca remained undefeated with a close 58-55 victory, cementing themselves as an early season favorite. In his season debut, Drewski (20 pts, 5 reb) led The Mecca and was rewarded with player of the game. Fabletics has continued to improve and build team chemistry, giving themselves a good chance of picking up their first win in their next matchup. Allex Austin (10 pts, 13 reb) has proved to be a key pickup for Fabletics, and leads the league in rebounds with 31 in only two games played. Shoney put up 18 points for The Mecca, and Malik “Slim” displayed above the rim prowess with the weekend’s first sit-down and 3 blocks. Team Fabletics received noteworthy contributions from Greg (15 pts) and Jeremy (10 pts), who will hope to provide enough support to Allex Austin in the coming weeks for a potential first win.
Urban Necessities vs. Woodies
The next matchup was between two winless squads, Team Woodies and Team Urban Necessities. In a 53-41 win, it would be Urban Necessities that would end their losing streak, keeping Woodies winless. Led by #1 draft pick and player of the game Omari (11 pts, 5 reb, 5 ast), Urban Necessities played strong defense and limited Woodies offensively. Omari continues to prove why he’s one of the stars of the VBL, ranking third in the scoring leaderboards and first in assists. Urban Necessities got key contributions from fan-favorite Angel “Bubbz” (10 pts, 5 reb, 6 ast) and Gyles (11 pts), and will hope for similar performances in the coming weeks. The win was punctuated by a last-second alley-oop slam, with Omari on the receiving end from Angel’s dime. Woodies was led by JJ (12 pts, 2 3s), Jamaican J (7 pts, 8 reb), and Big Miz (8 pts, 6 reb). The lack of scoring for team Woodies was obvious, with the absence of brothers Mint Chocolate and Mocha Chocolate leaving them devoid of a creative spark. Woodies will need to make some key acquisitions in coming weeks to end their losing streak and compete amongst the league’s elite teams.
Fentwood Hoops x Surf Club vs. Prototype 81
Saturday finished off with a matchup between undefeated Fentwood Hoops x Surf Club and Prototype 81 x Sunblock, with both coming off week 2 wins. Fentwood Hoops would pick up a 59-43 win, moving to 3-0 and claiming the #1 seed in the VBL. With the most roster consistency early in the season, Fentwood Hoops has used their team chemistry and balanced scoring to deal with opponents. This week they were led by player of the game Moe (14 pts, 8 reb), Rashaad (13 pts), and Daniel Pugh (8 pts, 7 reb). For Prototype 81 x Sunblock, they were again led by Juice (18 pts, 3 3s) who ranks second in the league in scoring and first in three pointers made. Pop Champagne (12 pts, 7 reb) and Big Baby (10 pts, 7 reb) also had good games for Prototype 81, but it wasn’t enough to derail Fentwood Hoops. Fentwood Hoops will hope to carry this momentum into their marquee week 4 matchup against 2nd place dompen greenlights, with the winner remaining undefeated and claiming early season bragging rights.
New Jersey Sets vs. Timeless
Sunday’s VBL slate tipped off with a matchup between Team New Jersey Sets and Team Timeless, ending in a 53-41 win for New Jersey Sets. From the tip, New Jersey Sets controlled the paint and imposed their physicality on Team Timeless, dominating the rebound battle. New Jersey Sets was led by Jiair (20 Pts 8 reb), who’s tireless effort granted him player of the game honors. The tough shot making of Devin (13 pts, 4 ast) and highlight reel blocks from Estes (8 pts, 8 reb, 3 blk) gave New Jersey Sets a hold on the game they would not relinquish. Timeless was disappointed, only scoring 41 points, as the myriad of scorers on the squad should be able to get more buckets. Bentley Green (10 pts) became ice cold after a scorching first quarter, and Elvin “E5” Rodriguez (14 points) had a disappointing game for his standards, with both hoping to bounce back and get back in the win column in Week 4.
In the Lab vs. Crenshaw Coffee
The game of the day on Sunday featured two winless teams, In The Lab and Crenshaw Coffee. Both teams were desperate in the pursuit of their first win, leaving it all on the court. After an early flurry from DJ (19 Pts) for In the Lab, Crenshaw Coffee took the lead and held it into the fourth. Crenshaw Coffee’s stifling defense was led by the interior presence of Shelden Bailey (13 pts, 15 reb) and perimeter pressure from AJ “The Chosen One” (11 pts, 5 reb, 4 ast, 6 stl). “The Chosen One” had back-to-back steals on iso-calls, putting himself at the forefront of the conversation as the best on-ball defender of the league. The turning point in the match was Stretch (7 Pts) from Crenshaw Coffee’s poster dunk on Jeray, resulting in a controversial sit-down. Jeray (16 pts, 10 reb) checked back in from the sit down and instantly went to work, scoring 11 fourth quarter points, which included two ferocious putback slams. Ultimately, Jeray’s efforts were enough to complete a double-digit comeback for In The Lab and earn himself player of the game.
Actively Black vs. Hamilton
The penultimate matchup of the weekend saw undefeated Actively Black go up against Hamilton x Wilson. Actively Black showed the early evening crowd why they were undefeated, handling Team Hamilton in a comfortable end-to-end 60-45 victory. Actively Black was without star and week 2 player of the week Chris Staples, but Van Girard (15 pts, 10 reb) was able to make up for Staples’ absence in his season debut, earning player of the game. Hamilton was led by team namesake Anthony Hamilton, who had 16 points and 6 rebounds and Dom (13 pts, 3 ast, 3 stl) who applied a steady dose of on-ball pressure throughout the contest. In support of Van Girard, all other players on the Actively Black roster found themselves on the scoresheet, with notables being Stamper (11 pts), and Rome Flynn (8 pts). Team Hamilton is full of impactful guards, but the lack of size and a paint presence apart from Dre “Mt. of a Man” has seen them pick up two frustrating blowout losses this season.
dompen vs. Bball Junkies
Week 3 of the VBL was capped off with the performance of the season thus far in a matchup between unbeaten dompen and BBall Junkies. In an effortless display of disrespectful isolation moves, Ryan “Hezigod” Carter earned player of the week for dompen with a whopping 49 points. At one point, Hezi had 42 of his team’s 48 points, outscoring BBall Junkies by himself for most of the game. In a matchup against reigning MVP Zach Hinton, Hezigod looked more the part of an MVP, dominating the game and starting conversations among the crowd of Juice’s 63 point record potentially being broken. BBall Junkies made a late run, which was keyed by KJ’s (7 points) stellar defense on Hezi, which left him frustrated and earned him a technical foul. Vic Costa’s 11 point, and Zach’s 8 points and 8 rebounds were not enough to overcome Hezi’s stellar performance, ending in a 61-51 win for dompen. Hezi will hope for a similar scoring outburst in dompen’s week 4 matchup against Fentwood Hoops, which features the top two teams in the VBL.