By Alex Semerjian and Sydney Imus
VBL Legends Day was a historic day for Veniceball, featuring plenty of special moments which will become future VBL memories.
VWL Semi-Final 1
#1 Lady Sweat vs. #5 Mango House
League games on Legends Day kicked off with the VWL Semi-finals, with the first matchup between undefeated top-seed Lady Sweat and Mango House. Mango House impressed early, scoring past the stout Lady Sweat defense. Lady Sweat would take the lead in the second quarter and never look back, dominating the paint en route to a 46-33 win and a trip to the finals. Player of the Game was Lala, who’s 14 points, 8 rebounds, and paint presence steadied the ship for her squad. Helena provided a spark off the bench for Lady Sweat, scoring 11 points through a variety of nice moves and transition finishes. Ryan led the way for Mango House, using her strength to finish around the basket and draw fouls.
VWL Semi-Final 2
#2 B-Ball Beauties vs. #3 Dr’s Orders
B-Ball Beauties vs. Dr’s Orders was a unique matchup, as it happened on the OG Venice court. Vibes were high in the early contest, with the sun shining and the legends in attendance. League MVP Christina Ellis led the way for B-Ball Beauties, who cruised to a decisive 46-36 victory. Christina, who’s nickname is Walking Double-Double, proved true to her name by finishing with 14 points and 14 rebounds. Additionally, Venice Beach favorite Mae-Mae scored 13 points and new addition T had 13 as well, with both able to compensate for MJ’s absence. For Dr’s Orders, Olivia had 14 points and looked like the stellar player for the squad. After a strong start to the season, Dr’s Orders ended with a couple of losses and will look to recreate their form from the beginning of this season in their next campaign.
VBL Semi-Final 1
#1 Timeless vs. #12 B-Ball Junkies
The first semi-final was between underdog B-Ball Junkies and top-seed Timeless. From the tip, it was evident why Timeless was the higher seed, as they smothered B-Ball Junkies. After the first quarter, B-Ball Junkies did not have one single bucket, which Mouthpiece loudly claimed was the first time in history that a team had not scored in the first quarter. B-Ball Junkies would begin to score some buckets and keep the game somewhat respectable, led by star player Zach Hinton (15 pts) and Zay (10 pts, 5 stl). Timeless was led by VBL first teamer Elvin Rodriguez, who finished the game with 14 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 2 steals. Elvin would earn player of the game in the 58-43 win, earning a spot in the finals for his Timeless squad. Additionally, Bentley poured in 12 points, while Kwah “Philly Flyer” Gredic (10 pts) showed off a steady dose of his patented floater.
VBL Semi-Final 2
#2 Surf Club x Fentwood Hoops vs. #6 In the Lab
The second semi-final contest was between defending champs In the Lab and regular season stalwarts Surf Club x Fentwood Hoops. Surf Club would get out to an early lead, but In the Lab would quickly strike back. As the game went on, the coaching of Dev was pivotal for In the Lab, as the squad played like a cohesive unit on the defensive end, pulling away. With the 47-39 victory, In the Lab would move on to back-to-back finals games, and extend their winning streak to 7 games. Player of the Game was Darae (18 pts), whose strong performances and paint presence are relied upon by the young In the Lab squad. Surf Club will be disappointed to only put up 39 points considering the star power on the roster and their hot start. Tone (11 pts) and Mo (14 pts, 9 reb) had strong performances for Surf Club and have remained steady contributors throughout the season.
#1 Lady Sweat vs. #2 Basketball Beauties
The inaugural VWL final was between the two strongest regular season teams in Basketball Beauties and Lady Sweat. In the bright Venice sun, the two squads went at it from the tip, with Basketball Beauties using transition to get out to an early lead. Lady Sweat would use their depth and size to steady the ship and draw the game even. The second-half was a back-and-forth battle, with VWL MVP Christina Ellis leading B-Ball Beauties with 15 points and 4 assists. Star player MJ was not present for B-Ball Beauties, but Queen of the Court winner “T” filled in her shoes with 12 points for B-Ball Beauties. Coming into the final seconds, Lady Sweat held a 52-50 lead, and B-Ball Beauties was unable to connect on a long shot. With the win, Lady Sweat earned a much deserved championship, celebrating an undefeated campaign with champagne and a visit to the Hoopbus. Finals MVP went to Kendra “Blender” Williams, who’s 11 points, perimeter pressure, and captain’s presence were pivotal in her squad’s close win. Lala also had 11 points for Lady Sweat, with talented artist Toni Romiti contributing a further 10 points for the squad.
2023 VWL Champions: Lady Sweat
#1 Timeless vs. #6 In the Lab
VBL Legends Day finished off with a much anticipated matchup between top seed Timeless and defending champions In the Lab. The game had a tense atmosphere, with no lead ever being more than 6 points. In The Lab maintained a small lead throughout the early parts of the game and into the second half, with Darae looking unstoppable in the early going and finishing with 22 points. Down the stretch, Sek “The Viper” Henry (13 pts) would score three impressive isolation three-pointers to give In the Lab a 5 point lead with 3 minutes left. AJ (12 pts) would step-up for Timeless late in the game, holding down the paint on defense by slowing down Darae, and contributing putbacks and tough finishes on the offensive end. Timeless would tie the game with less than a minute left, prompting an iso from Coach Dev for In The Lab. Sek would get taken down from behind by Dame, in what was a play that got both sides into it. After shaking off the hit, Sek would hit one free throw to give his squad the lead. With 20 seconds left, Timeless would take down the clock, where Dame in the most pivotal moment of the season would spin and take a fadeaway jumper. The jumper was pure, giving Timeless a one point lead and creating a crazy buzz on the beach. After an improbable attempt past half court, Timeless would secure the win. The champagne was out and celebrations and hugs were in full effect for the Timeless squad, who parlayed an outstanding regular season into 3 playoff wins and a championship. Finals MVP went to Elvin “E5” Rodriguez, who scored 22 points in a variety of ways to lead his team. Moreover, Elvin’s defense was outstanding as it had been throughout the entire regular and postseason.
2023 VBL Champions: Timeless