Grebb league boys' playoffs wide open
One thing that is apparent going into tonight's fifth playoff season in the history of the J. Budd Grebb Memorial Summer Basketball League's boys' division is that there is no clear-cut favorite.
Unlike previous years, when Union Cleaners was cleaning up or last season when BeeGraphix was running through the league unbeaten, all four teams in the semifinals like to feel that they can be the last team standing after Thursday's title game.
Of course, defending champion BeeGraphix (8-2) would be considered a frontrunner for the title. After all, the team boasts the highest-scoring tandem in the league in Elijah Minnie (20.1 ppg) and Dayshore Majors (18.0 ppg).
Both players are expected to be back in the lineup tonight against Northwood Realty (5-5), which knocked off the defending champs in the regular season finale last week when Minnie and Majors were not available.
“BeeGraphix, with Minnie and Majors, are the favorites,” said league director Phil Pergola. “However, some people may feel that Campy's and Northwood are the hottest teams in the league right now. It's wide open and that's the way you would like to see it.”
Northwood has to feel a sense of confidence after knocking off BeeGraphix in its last meeting and winning four of its last five games.
Cole Novotney (17.0 ppg), Brandon Lawless (12.4 ppg) and up-and-coming youngster Kass Taylor (11.2 ppg) give Northwood a solid attack to go up against BeeGraphix, which has Luke Doptis (12.6) and Noah Rullo (11.8) also averaging double figures.
The two teams meet in the second game of tonight's doubleheader ( 9 p.m.) at the Mechanic Street Playground in California.
In the first game, Campy's Pizza (7-3) battles Farmers Insurance (6-4) at 7:30 p.m.
Campy's wrapped up the second seed in the playoffs by winning its final game of the season and watching Farmers come up short against Dairy Queen in the final game of Thursday's tripleheader.
The game will feature the top two guns in the league in Farmers' Noah Brown (22.0 ppg) and Campy's Charlie Scharbo (20.9).
However, both scorers have plenty of support in the offense department with 2012 overall number one draft pick George Prota averaging 17.0 ppg for Campy's and Lavelle Rush (15.7) and Matt Bernadowski (14.2) enjoying solid seasons for Farmers.
Like the other matchup, this one features two teams who split their season series.
Farmers nipped Campy's in overtime and then got crushed in the rematch, although Brown and Rush were both absent in the rematch.
Campy's, meanwhile, can lay claim to being the hottest team in the league having won four of its last five games. The only loss in the second half was a tight loss against BeeGraphix.
Conversely, Farmers has lost three of its last four games after a fast start that included a win that snapped BeeGraphix' 17-game winning streak with the only victory down the stretch against winless Union Cleaners.
BeeGraphix is trying to become the second team to go back-to-back with titles.
Union Cleaners captured the first two league championships and Northwood Realty won two years ago before BeeGraphix ran the table in 2012.
Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or firstname.lastname@example.org.