Warriors 73 Kings 54
The first game of the 1st set of matchups following the Holiday Break saw a surprise result, further proof that there are no easy wins in the PGBL. The Warriors have played well and consistently against their opponents the entire season up to this point, but I don’t think many fans expected this type of win from them, as the Warriors dominated the Kings for an upset victory. This dominant team win from start to finish truly was a synergized effort, as 5 Warriors (nearly 6) scored in double figures during the game, moving the ball quite well on offense and effectively neutralizing Bill Zonios and his hot scoring touch. Sotiris Deliopoulos led the way for the Warriors in a breakout game, scoring an efficient 16 points, while Elias Kaltsidis exerted his will on the low post, getting several big rebounds while scoring 14 points himself. Both Deliopoulos and Kaltsidis contributed greatly to aid their team leading scorers Will Galiatsatos and Niko Papatsiaras, allowing both to contribute more on the defensive end. However, what made this win for the Warriors most impressive is that their team defense suffocated the Kings into their 2nd lowest scoring total of the season. That is definitely quite a feat, holding the high powered Kings to a low scoring figure, and if the Warriors continue to have great all around games like this one, they’ll be a dark horse team to make some noise in the playoffs.
As for the Kings, Jimmy Kemmerer was one of the few bright spots, scoring 19 points, while the always steady Chris Kourelias dropped double digits. Unfortunately, however, Bill Zonios had an off night, and both Veronis boys were out again for this one, thus sinking the Kings in this game. The Kings had their first stinker of the season. It was just one of those days where nothing was going in. It happens. It’s a make or miss game, and the Kings just had some bad luck. Shouldn’t be a big deal going forward, as the Kings still have the talent to make another run at the championship and get a 3-peat.
Sotiris Deliopoulos: 16 points
Elias Kaltsidis and Niko Papatsiaras: 14 points each
Will Galiatsatos and Aris Haritonidis: 11 points each
Jimmy Kemmerer: 19 points
Chris Kourelias: 13 points
PAS Giannina 66 Tune Squad 59
The second game was a great, competitive battle that nearly went down to the wire, as 2 of the top 4 teams in the league squared off. Both teams traded buckets in a razor tight first half, and much of the same continued well into the 2nd half. Unfortunately, the Tune Squad got into some significant foul trouble as a team, with both Yioti Kasapis and Alexi Topalidis fouling out towards the end, which allowed PAS to ever so slightly pull away, while making clutch free throws down the stretch to pull out the win. Evan Tsiklidis once again came to play for PAS, scoring his 27 points via his typical methods: driving to the bucket while hitting his midrange and free throw shots. He also got some solid offensive support from teammates Niko Dinoulis and Costa Angelis, who both went for double digits in points. As for the Tune Squad, Ben Voudouris continued his impressive run of games, pouring in 31 points via a variety of different shots in a losing effort. Voudouris’ current excellence in his play will certainly come up big in the postseason, as the Tune Squad now have 3 legitimate scorers (Voudouris, Louie Karapanagiotides, and Demetri Zanikos) that can be used to challenge the firepower of both the Kings and the Outlaws. Unfortunately for this game, the Tune Squad played slightly shorthanded, as they were missing both Demetri Zanikos (PGBL Rookie of the Year favorite) as well as PGBL vet Chris Voutsakis. Had the team fouls not caught up to them, the Squad could have perhaps forced overtime and squeaked it out, but PAS did an excellent job as a team in hitting their free throws went it counted the most. With the Tune Squad still having to play the Outlaws a 2nd time at season’s end, PAS Giannina could even have an inside track to the all important #2 seed in the league, so long as they win out and secure their tiebreaker scenarios.
Evan Tsiklidis: 27 points
Niko Dinoulis: 13 points
Costa Angelis: 11 points
Ben Voudouris: 31 points
Outlaws 75 Revolution 52
The holiday break seemed to provide almost no rust towards the Outlaws and their winning streak, as they came out and took care of business against the Revolution, leading from wire to wire in this game. Both Jimmie Armentani and Laz Makrides did their thing for the Outlaws, as they both scored 23 points each. It was evident in this game in particular that both players love to share the ball, and despite currently competing against one another for the scoring title, seem to love playing together for their 1st year, and feed off of each other very well, as they are both willing to step back in the offense and assist for the other. The Outlaws have now extended their regular season winning streak to 17 games, and will secure the #1 overall seed for the PGBL playoffs if they secure 2 more victories before season’s end.
As for the Revolution, they fought hard and played well for the most part in this game, as they kept it somewhat close within the 1st half, but did not manage to provide enough scoring power to compete with the 1st place Outlaws. Both Vangeli Carabeses and Jake Sotiros were the only ones to score in double figures for the Revolution, as they continue to battle with offensive inconsistency. Fortunately for the Revolution, they still have some time left to secure a win that’ll give them safe passage into the postseason. Their final game against PAS Giannina could prove to be crucial.
Jimmie Armentani and Laz Makrides: 23 points each
Jake Sotiros and Vangelis Carabeses: 14 points each