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TOURNAMENT TIME! The end of 2017 City League

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The Ukiah City League Basketball Tournament for the high school boys division is put on by the City of Ukiah at the end of the City League season. Nine teams went head to head during the 2017 season to determine the seeding for the tournament, with the tournament winner being crowned City League Champions. Every team is invited to play in the tournament, but this year there are only 8 teams in the tourney as one team dropped out of the competition for some reason.   A traditional 8-team tournament is seeded so that the #1 seed plays the #8 seed, the #2 seed plays the #7 seed, etc. However, the City of Ukiah uses a “balanced seeding” format, which is done to create more even games in the first round.  So, the #1 seed plays the #5 seed, the #2 seed plays the #6 seed, etc.  The theory is the #1 versus the #5 seed will be more competitive than the #1 versus the #8 seed.  

The eight teams that have entered the 2017 tournament are:

  • South Valley Falcons (burgundy jerseys) — Has a pretty deep bench.  Nobody very tall, but a couple of bruising big men over six feet, no true point guard but a lot of players who can handle the ball.  The Falcons have some good shooters, but they all hustle and play good defense.
  • E&M Rentals (red jerseys) with the ex former Ukiah High school players. And they had one of the biggest and tallest player in the league and also they had really good shooters on the team like.
  • Next up were the Dragons-A (orange jerseys) team from the Buddhist temple. Keep in mind they had two teams this year — the Dragons-A and Dragons-B team. The Dragons-A team is small — none of their players were over six feet — them got talent and each and everyone of them can dribble and shoot pretty well — and a couple are great shooters.
  • Dragons-B team (yellow jerseys) has a great guard, one sort of big player and the rest are just hustlers, but they don’t have the basketball talent that Dragons-A has.
  • The Rorabaugh Earthmoving (black jerseys) is the team which most of the players originally tried out for the South Valley team, but they wanted to make there own team. This team doesn’t have any tall players, but they all can “ball up” and most of them are good shooters.They had one of the best players in the whole town, Marcus Ram, and he is probably the best individual player in the whole league this 2017 season.
  • Accelerated Achievements Academy (purple jerseys) which is another team that is a school team. They had a couple of tall players and one good guard, but the rest of the team is just average at best — with a few players who get really lost on the court.
  • West Coast Mufflers (light blue jerseys) had two really good big men — both over six feet, one of which who can also shoot the three.  They had a solid point guard who can shoot well, but outside of those three, they had some scrappy players, but nobody who could score consistently.
  • Trinafour Cellars was the last team.  They beat the Falcons in the first game of the season.  They have one very talented big man — about 6’3” tall, and another big who is a strong rebounder.  They have a couple of decent guards, but not a lot of scoring beyond the bigs.  Half of their points come from the bigs getting offensive rebounds and put-backs.    

The tournament bracket looked like this for the first round of games:

Top part of the bracket –

  • #3 Rorabaugh Earthmoving versus #7 Dragons B
  • #2 Dragons-A versus #6 Accelerated Achievement Academy

Bottom part of bracket –

  • #4 South Valley versus #8 Trinafour Cellars
  • #1 E&M versus #5 West Coast Mufflers

In the early games, Rorabaugh Earthmoving eliminated the Dragons-B team witch it was a good game. Then we had the Dragons-A team which also just blow off Accelerated achievement Academy. In the bottom half of the bracket, E&M rentals just blew out West coast mufflers. South Valley was down to Trinafour Cellars by eleven points early in the first half, but made a comeback during the second period and were up three at the half. The second half saw them pull away and win by over ten points. South Valley was helped out by the fact that both of Trinafour’s big men went down to ankle injuries during the game.  

Next up we got the semi-finals, which saw Rorabaugh Earthmoving face off against the Dragons-A team in the first game.  It was a very good game and the score was close at the half, but the Dragons locked down on defense and scored a lot in transition and took the win by over ten points. So the Dragons-A team is heading to the championship game. The next semi-final game has South Valley going against E&M Rentals, which is was all bad for the Falcons at the start. E&M took control the first half by playing a very aggressive zone defense and the Falcons kept turning the ball over.  Even when they didn’t turn it over, they were not making shots and E&M was getting out on the fast break. Going into halftime, South Valley was down by 20 points.  In the second half, South Valley made and epic comeback, closing the gap to eight points early in the 4th quarter, but it wasn’t enough as E&M went on to win by more than ten points and knock the Falcons out of the tournament.

So the championship game was set between E&M Rentals and Dragons-A. Keep in mind, when these two teams met in the regular season, it was the last game of the season and both teams were undefeated.  That game was close, but E&M won by five points. The championship wasn’t entirely fair for E&M because the championship game started immediately after they were done playing South Valley. Since South Valley made such a good comeback, E&M’s star players had to play most of the game, so E&M were already tired while the Dragons had been resting for the hour before the championship. This was a total contrast in team styles:  The Dragons-A are all pretty short, but very talented and they play together as a team all the time, while E&M has much taller players (including a 6’5” player) who are all individually talented, but they play more as individuals.  The Dragon’s jumped out to the early lead, using fast breaks to take advantage of an already tired E&M team.  E&M didn’t quit and used their size to get back into the game.  The game was close all the way, with the Dragons up by two at halftime.  E&M took the lead in the third quarter, but the Dragons didn’t quit either and kept fast breaking  every time they get the ball and the game was tied going into the 4th quarter.  In the 4th quarter, the Dragons kept up the pressure and E&M finally became too exhausted to keep up — getting really frustrated at each other, at the refs, and at the Dragons.  In the end, the Dragons took the win and became the 2017 Ukiah City League champions for the high school boys division.  It was the first time a Dragons team had been champions in over five years.  

I think it is great having a tournament at the end of the season and having the chance to play teams that have beaten you earlier.  South Valley was happy to play Trinafour Cellars, who beat them in the first game of the season. It was too bad that one of Trinafour’s tall players had to be taken out of the game with an injury, but it felt really good coming back and taking the win. It is also nice to play in front of a big crowd because the crowds at the tournament were much bigger than during the regular season. Still, it wasn’t fair for the E&M team to play back to back games without getting even a five minutes break, but it was still an exciting championship game. Other than that, it felt great playing in the tournament and just having fun with my fellow team mates. It was nice to really see how much better we had gotten during the year.  It will be the day from this season that I won’t forget.

 

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2 Comments

2 Responses to “TOURNAMENT TIME! The end of 2017 City League”

  1. Francisco Villegas on August 25th, 2017 1:30 pm

    I liked that the writing in the article is very descriptive and gives you a clear picture of what happened throughout out the tournament. I learned South Valley did not win the tournament last year that the Dragons had won. It was a good article but the start of it didn’t really catch my attention or pull me in.

    [Reply]

  2. tyson on September 20th, 2017 11:08 am

    what i like about this article if how you explain the tournament and how everyone is playing eachother. I like how you explained all the teams and a little about them. what i learned was how the city decided to make the matchups more even in the playoffs when i thought it was the other way u explained it in the article. what i liked about the subject was it is my favorite sport and because i was apart of that tournament.

    [Reply]

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