VBL Week 4 Recap

Written by Alex Semerjian and Sydney Imus


Fabletics vs. Woodies

VBL Week 4 tipped off with a matchup between two winless squads, Team Woodies and Team Fabletics. The game would end in a 63-56 win for Fabletics, who have looked better in the past weeks and have gained momentum going into Week 5. Team Fabletics continues to be led by player of the game and league rebound leader Allex Austin (16 pts, 15 reb), who’s putback dunk was an electric way to kick off the weekend. Fabletics received key contributions from two debut players, as Mel Holden (13 pts, 4 reb) and Nez (9 pts) made key plays for the win. Nez’s powerful left-handed slam off of Mel’s assist showcased the potential partnership between the two newcomers that Fabletics will hope to capitalize off of. For Woodies, Juice the Athlete (13 pts, 5 reb) had a nice dunk and one of the league’s best iso moves thus far. Jamaican J (16 pts, 7 reb) came into the game with a scoring mentality, but it was not enough for Team Woodies to get their first win. Additionally, JJ put in work for Team Woodies, finishing with 15 pts and 4 asts.


The Mecca vs. New Jersey Sets

Week 4’s matchup between undefeated The Mecca and New Jersey Sets was the lowest scoring contest of the year thus far, ending in a 33-31 win for The Mecca, moving them to 4-0. This game was a true slugfest, with points being hard to come by and physicality defining the contest. Both teams missed easy buckets at the rim and at moments it was hard to watch. By the third quarter, emotions would boil over, resulting in ejections for Jiair (8 pts) for New Jersey Sets and Malik “Slim” for The Mecca. Drewski “Savage” would hit a clutch and-one late in the fourth for The Mecca, putting them ahead by 5 points. After a miraculous three from AG for New Jersey Sets put them down by 2, they would miss a game-tying tip-in at the buzzer. For The Mecca, Josh “The Buffet” would earn player of the game with 10 pts, 6 reb, 2 ast, and 2 blks. Mecca’s ability to win close contests in the last minutes of games will prove pivotal in the next few weeks, as they boast only a +15 point differential in their four wins. There’s no doubt The Mecca will continue to perform throughout playoffs, though this matchup should serve as a warning to remain tempered next week.


In the Lab vs. Urban Necessities

Saturday’s game of the week was between In the Lab and Urban Necessities, who both came into the game at 1-2, looking to move to .500 on the season. In The Lab got out to an early lead behind coach Devin Williams, controlling the first half behind their dynamic duo of DJ and Darae. Urban Necessities would go on a 17-0 run, taking a lead late into the fourth quarter. The last minute of the game was a hectic back and forth, with DJ hitting a layup to tie the game and Damjan (10 pts, 8 reb) hitting a layup to take a lead late into regulation for Urban Necessities against his former team. With 5 seconds left and down 3, DJ would get fouled on a three. After missing the first and making the second, DJ intentionally missed the third shot and scored an acrobatic buzzer-beating layup to send the game into overtime. Overtime would begin with a thunderous poster slam from Darae resulting in a sit-down. After a coaches challenge, the refs determined that the dunk was over two people, leading to a double sit-down and ruling two Urban Necessities players out for the rest of the game. DJ would score an and-one layup with a second left to take the lead, which was followed by an iso-call by Urban Necessities, putting the ball in #1 draft pick Omari’s (24 pts, 5 reb, 6 stl) hands against Darae. Omari would drive left and elevate for a layup, which Darae (14 pts) would send flying out of bounds with an athletic block to seal the victory. DJ and Darae both made pivotal plays in crunch time, solidifying themselves as In The Lab’s dynamic duo. DJ’s line of 29 pts, 5 reb, 4 ast, and 3 3s would earn himself player of the week for Week 4 of the VBL, placing his name in the conversation amongst the league’s best hoopers.


Crenshaw Coffee vs. Prototype 81

Sunday’s first VBL matchup between winless Crenshaw Coffee and Prototype 81 x Sunblock (1-2) was full of VBL veterans on both sides, and ended in a narrow 46-44 win for Crenshaw Coffee. Crenshaw Coffee missed too many layups throughout the contest, putting them in an early hole. Ultimately, a third quarter run and stellar defense put Crenshaw Coffee in a position to close out the contest. Prototype 81 was down one point in the closing seconds, when Fudge got fouled. After a long stint in Courtney’s Corner medical tent, it was determined that Fudge broke his nose. In his own Willis Reed moment, Fudge came back on the floor and knocked down the game-tying free throw. AJ “Chosen One” (16 pts, 6 reb) would seal the game for Crenshaw Coffee, with his last second iso card bucket as the deciding factor. Juice had an off-game for Prototype 81, with the team desperately needing more from their star in the 4th. VBL vet “The Mute” had his best performance of the season with 14 points and 6 rebounds for Prototype 81, while Corey Hall had 11 points before his early foul-out for Crenshaw Coffee.


Timeless vs. Actively Black

Timeless and undefeated Actively Black faced off in one of the marquee matchups of Week 3 of the VBL, ending in a 43-41 win for Timeless, moving both squads to 3-1 on the season. In their previous match, Timeless was punished by New Jersey Sets for their lack of size and in response recruited Julien ”Built Different” Ducree. Julien (13 reb, 6 blk) would prove to be a difference maker for Timeless, controlling the paint and earning player of the game despite only scoring 4 points. Ducree’s defense on former Laker Zach “Bad Intentions” Andrews was key, as he held him to only 7 points. Actively Black was led by Rome Flynn (13 pts, 6 reb), who controlled the offense through his ball-handling. Actively Black will hope for more assists from Flynn as his offensive prowess draws attention from opposing defenses, leading to potential open opportunities for teammates. With the game on the line, Flynn was blocked and John Coffey (8 pts) missed a potential putback, capping off a back and forth battle between the squads. For Team Timeless, Elvin “E5” Rodriguez had 11 pts, 6 reb, an iso stop, and an iso bucket, while Malik had 10 points and 5 rebounds, with both players playing a key role in the narrow win.


Fentwood Hoops x Surf Club vs. dompen

The matchup of the week was between undefeated title favorites dompen and Fentwood Hoops x Surf Club. Early on, dompen looked like an unstoppable force with their flashy dunks getting the crowd off their feet. Brandon “Body Bag” Moss’ (19 pts, 4 ast) off-the-backboard alley-oop to Ty Glover (15 pts, 7 reb, 5 ast, 3 blk) is the play of the VBL season thus far, with Ty appearing out of nowhere to throw down the emphatic slam. Bodybag had a spectacular dunk of his own, making his windmill look all too easy. Despite all the flashy and momentum shifting moments, Fentwood Hoops remained within striking distance going into the second half. The turning point of the game was a third-quarter scuffle between Marcus “Monstar” Bell (4 pts) of dompen, and Jordan “J-Dubie” (11 pts, 8 reb, 4 ast, 3 stl) of Fentwood. After this moment, Fentwood would close the quarter out strong, capped off by a buzzer-beating 3 by Rob “Get It Out The Net” (8 pts). Fentwood Hoops trailed for most of the match, but hung around long enough to pounce on late 4th quarter mistakes by dompen, stealing the game in a 56-53 victory and remaining undefeated. With 16 pts, 3 3s, 5 reb, 3 blks, and game clinching free-throws, Tone Jennings earned player of the game for Fentwood Hoops, taking his total on the young season to 3. Tone continues to set the tone on offense and defense for Fentwood Hoops, placing himself in the conversation for league MVP. For Fentwood, Moe (9 pts, 8 reb) continues to prove decisive in key moments, with his clutch tough left-handed finish putting Fentwood in position to close out the win. Ultimately, the chemistry and continuity of Fentwood Hoops was enough to outlast the talent of dompen, but both teams should feel good about their season heading into Week 5.


Bball Junkies vs. Hamilton x Wilson

The weekend ended with a matchup between Team Hamilton x Wilson and Bball Junkies, ending in a 65-60 win for Bball Junkies. BBall junkies maintained a small lead through the entirety of the contest, never allowing Team Hamilton to go on a run and take control of the game. Former #1 draft pick, Vic Costa (16 pts, 3 stl) received player of the game for BBall Junkies due to his efficient shooting and smooth operation, making the game look easy with his variety of important clutch 4th quarter plays. Vic continues to prove his worth in crunch-time, hitting a game winner in each of Bball Junkies’s victories. 2022 MVP Zach Hinton (14 pts, 14 reb) dominated the boards as per usual for BBall Junkies, exposing Hamilton’s lack of size on the interior. For Team Hamilton, the young squad was led by VBL veteran (16 pts, 8 reb) Hood Jesus, who started out the game with 10 first quarter points. For Bball Junkies, Zay (13 pts, 5 reb) continues to improve his bag, showcasing dexterity around the basket on a weekly basis. Hamilton remained close through balanced scoring, with Grizz (8 pts, 4 ast), Zero Bounce(9 pts), and John Quall (9 points) all playing a key role. Next week, Hamilton will hope to improve on their 1-3 start, while Bball Junkies will have improved playoff seeding on their agenda.