Danny’s Boys 82 vs. Rip City 63

They’re back! Danny’s Boys has earned the right to defend their title and seek a second straight PGBL Championship! What a game it should be against the division rival Kings, who Danny’s Boys have already beaten twice this year. Will they be able to make it 3 in a row?

Pete Kathopoulis is in full playoff mode, scoring 16 first half points and 22 second half points for a total of 38, a playoff high so far this year. Kathopoulis was doing it from all over the court last night and got other players involved as well. Pete scored 3’s, shot well from mid range, drove to the basket for layups and also got to the free throw line where he shot 12-13. The scoring for DB was rather lopsided today as only one other player got into double figures and that’s Tom Poulos, who had an excellent second half with 16 points to keep Rip City at arms length. Rebounding, defense and explosive scoring is the strength of Danny’s Boys and that’s what got them into the finals. Lets see if they can beat the Kings and repeat as Champs!

A short handed Rip City team came into this game with a David vs. Goliath mentality but the beast couldn’t be tamed. There just wasn’t enough help, not enough offense for Rip City to keep up with DB. With a short roster, of course Jim Armenakis was the first option offensively. Jim started out the game sluggish with a couple turnovers but soon woke up and played like the leader he is. Armenakis finished the game with 21 points and so did Chris Sarianos. Chris stepped up last night and was hitting the long ball in the second half but it just wasn’t enough. Give Rip City credit, they trailed this game 12-0 to start, then came back to tie it and make it a battle until they ran out of gas. Interesting to see what the future holds for this team. Great season, tough loss.

Game ball: Pete Kathopoulis.

Kings 93 vs. Wolfpack 84

Whoa, that game was intense! The Kings jumped out early and controlled the first half, jumping out to a 17 point lead and maintaining a double digit lead into the break. Up 14 points at halftime, it seemed like the Kings were going to cruise to victory, but then the Pack came back to erase the deficit and take a small lead of their own! The Wolfpack’s run started after halftime as they regrouped and made some adjustments. George Vlahos led his team with 32 points, and over 10 rebounds. His effort was one of a champion and his 22 points in the second half showed that clearly. His points came however he could get them, and he was doing everything to help his team win.

The Wolfpack had come all the way back to take the lead late in the 2nd half. The score was 81-78 when Bill Zonios stuck a long range 3 pointer to tie the game and ignite the Kings bench. The Wolfpack would be next to score and take an 83-81 lead when the unthinkable happened. Foti Giannopoulos made a dive to the basket, getting fouled on his way to the hoop as he tossed up a circus shot over his head that climbed to about 25 feet high before it dropped perfectly into the basket for an and 1 play. The crowd and the Kings bench erupted! Foti would then sink the free throw and the Kings would take the lead and never look back. Although the Wolfpack wouldn’t regain the lead, it was Nicko Papatsaras who was keeping hope alive for the pack. He hit 3 straight jumpers from the corner to keep things interesting and showed his clutch gene in the process.

Everybody from the King’s team contributed to the win last night. Starting with the defense and intensity of Bill Zonios who would keep George Vlahos to a modest 10 points in the first half. Zonios has been in this league since its inception and actually started the PGBL along with John Vasiliou, but still hasn’t been able to get over the hump for his first ring. Other contributors for the Kings were Chris Kourelias who drained some huge 3 pointers in the first half, Alex Veronis who also made some big shots and finished with 14 points, Laz Kalemis who came off the bench and despite his age, played young and energized, especially on the defensive rebounding front. Chris Pilarad serves as a second ball handler for the Kings and is a leader on and off the court. And of course Niki Veronis who led the team in scoring last night with 30 points. Niki’s energy and speed is what puts the Kings over the top as a contender but last night the game ball goes to Foti Giannopoulos for his amazing second half filled with clutch free throw shooting and the miracle shot of the year.


Game ball: Foti Giannopoulos.