NDL PLAYOFFS 2021: A & B Division CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES
By Kevin McCaskill Jr.
Sunday, June 27th was the final day of The 2021 NDL (Newkirk Draft League) Season.
Team PACE took on Dawgpound LLC in the B-Division Championship Game.
Team RBC faced Team VAZ in the highly anticipated A-Division Championship Game.
Both games were spectacular. There was a lot of energy in Scibelli Gym for the whole event.
Before I get to the games, here are the individual awards for both divisions:
MVP - Ty Nichols (Team RBC)
Defensive PoY - Chris Starks
6th Man of the Year - Shakim Grant (Team VAZ)
Sportsmanship Award - Kishawn Monroe (Team RBC)
Coach of the Year - Jordan Almore (Team RBC)
Rookie of the Year - Devonte McCall (Team VAZ)
MVP - DeVante Wardell (Dawgpound LLC)
Defensive PoY - Gene Miller (Dawgpound LLC)
6th Man of the Year - Ant Dowe
Sportsmanship Award - Chris Jackson
Coach of the Year - Tyrell Nichols (Dawgpound LLC)
Rookie of the Year - Josh Norris (Team PACE)
Congrats to those individuals.
Now, on to the games.
Team PACE vs. Dawgpound LLC
The game started great for Team PACE.
Dawgpound had one of the worst 1st half’s of basketball I’ve ever seen, at any level.
The game opened with a 3 by Josh Norris of Team PACE. Two minutes into the 1st quarter, TP was ahead 7-0. Dawgpound was having a difficult time creating shots in the 1st quarter. The shots they did get were well defended by Team PACE.
The first quarter ended with Team PACE ahead 18-1. Thats not a typo; Dawgpound scored 1 point in 10 minutes.
Dawgpound scored a few more points in the 2nd quarter but Team PACE was firmly ahead. At this point in the game, it looked like Dawgpound was done. They couldn’t score and they couldn’t stop Team PACE consistently on defense.
Team Pace led at halftime 28-11. Even though Team PACE was ahead and controlled the game, both teams scored 10 points in the 2nd quarter.
I thought the game was over though.
I stopped watching the game to talk to my friend. I haven’t seen him in years. We talked for the entire 3rd quarter.
When I got my focus back to the game, Dawgpound was only down by 7, 37-30 😳.
Team Pace was in a drought. Their offense wasn’t running smoothly any more. As Dawgpound closed the lead, people began to stand up and crowd the sideline, in front of the bleachers. The energy level turned up a few notches.
Dawgpound got the lead down to two, 37-35. They had scored one 1st quarter point. They were down by 20 at different points in the game.
Dawgpound fought all the way back and tied the game at 41.
Each team got a chance to win the game at the end of regulation.
Dawgpound turned the ball over on their possession. Norris recovered the ball for Team PACE off the turnover and dribbled up the court. He missed a 3, got his own offensive rebound and passed to a teammate. His teammate made a layup but - it was after the buzzer.
In the NDL, overtime is won by the first team to score 11 points.
Team Pace was ahead early in OT 4-1. Dawgpound fought their way back to tie the game at 6.
After trading baskets, Dawgpound was up 9-8.
Nelson Garcia of Team Pace made a layup to put them ahead 10-9.
After that basket, Jay Williams of Dawgpound dribbled the ball up the court. The defender for Team Pace reached to steal the ball and that gave Williams the opportunity to get a step on him. He took two more dribbles, two steps and put up a floater off the backboard,
Dawgpound made a miraculous comeback on a Sunday! They won the 2021 B-Division in OT 11-10.
They had a light celebration after the game for their accomplishment. Some members of Dawgpound also got instant 💵 for getting the win 🏆.
DeVante Wardell (DP)- 14 points
Chris Spears Jr. (TP) - 12 points
Team VAZ vs. Team RBC
I don’t know how I’m gonna type this part of the article; I’m distraught.
(HSC ‘03; Photo by Anthony Perez Sr.)
This game was controlled by RBC from the start until the end. NDL A-Division MVP Ty Nichols was great. He set the pace of the game. He got into the lane for layups all game. He got fouled multiple times on 3-pt attempts 😢. He was phenomenal.
(Ty Nichols layup)
(Ty Nichols fouled on 3-pt attempt)
(Ty Nichols layup)
Team Vaz struggled on offense all game. They were down 13-7 after the 1st quarter. The were down 26-16 at halftime.
At halftime, Devonte McCall and Shakim Grant had a combined 5 points.
McCall hit a fadeaway and two FTs before the end of the 3rd quarter to narrow RBC’s lead, 32-26.
The lead would go back up to 10 for RBC in the 4th. Team VAZ made a flurry of baskets at the end but it was “too little, too late”.
(Dunk by Devonte McCall)
Team RBC won the 2021 A-Division Championship 55-50.
Ty Nichols - 19 points
Devonte McCall - 18 points
After I collected myself 😭, I spoke to A-Division MVP & Champion 🏆 Ty Nichols.
How did you feel coming into the game?
“I felt confident in my team, man. We haven’t lost a game in 11 weeks, so I didn’t think today would be any different. We got Kenny back, that was a huge addition for rebounds and fast breaks. I was confident in my team that if we played how we played all season we would come away with a dub”.
How did you attack Team Vaz’ defense?
“We knew they have 4 athletes, the 5th one was kind of a weaker guy so we wanted to [use] the pick&roll. If they switched, we would attack the weaker guy. If they hedged, we were gonna hit the roller. Very simple game and we kind of did the same thing all game and it was effective”.
You were named MVP and you got “the Chip”, how do you feel now after the game?
“I feel amazing…its a blessing. I appreciate my boy Eric for putting me in the league and allowing me to do what I do. I just appreciate all you guys for the publicity on Facebook and all that, so thank you to you guys”.
Thanks, man. Did you go to the old Putnam or just the new one?
“I went to Putnam in 10th grade, so just the new one”.
Could you talk about your time at Putnam and being a Western Mass and State Champ?
“It was huge to get that first championship under our belt. Then keep it going the next year and then the year after that. Then becoming a State Champion - the first at Putnam in awhile - it felt amazing. The whole city was behind us; we had rival fans cheering for us. I feel like we brought Springfield together and that’s what it’s all about”.
Lastly, what’s the latest on your 🏀 career outside of the 🇺🇸?
“I just came back from Kosovo 🇽🇰. I’ll prolly be heading to Belgium 🇧🇪 in late August. Just continue my career and in 2 or 3 years, I’m hoping to get my call to the The League [NBA/G-League]”.
The guy made 7/8 FTs to end the game?