And the Hawaii steamroller just doesn't seem to end.
Even after the very publicized league affair Dylan Redfield (Red Deer, F) had, which had put him off commission for several games, the top team of the Plains division was still a force to be reckoned with, and it was its turn against the current top dogs from the remote islands. While the great prowess of Scoonie Barrett (Otter, F/C) and the defensive skills of Zack Tate (Zorilla, C) dominated the headlines, the turn of strategies tonight was pretty unforeseen, as the teams shown that potential wasn't an exclusive quality within the team.
As the first quarter progressed, the visitors seemed to trail up towards the win, with stellar debuts of Fenruss Brylee (Black Wolf, F/C) and revelation talent Matthew Silvius (Long-Tailed Weasel, G) managing to snatch the lead. But just as things were looking up, the worst case scenario loomed over: After a bad landing after a rebound, Ryan Malone (Kangaroo, G) went down, clutching his big left footpaw in pain, ruling him out of continuing the game. As the Bikers went in crisis mode, the bulb went lit in a certain Julian Cross-Kiraly (Saluki, G)'s mind. As Barrett recapped in a post-game interview, what the canine said to him in half-time was few in words, but loaded with conviction: "I saw gaps, keep passing."
What followed was insanity: After two successful shots in succession by Cross-Kiraly, the team clicked and kept feeding their shooting guard; those faraway shots kept coming and coming, some connecting, some straight up blocked by Brylee. And while Catherine DeMille (Palm Cockatoo, G) managed to swipe the ball twice from the painted otter's oily paws, the islander cohesion struck, with their Forward and Center power focusing on defending their own basket, while the sophomore French guard kept the scoreboard lit. The real bone-chilling, crowd-crazing moment of the match was the last second steal the saluki made against Charles Burgh (Polar Bear, C), dashing to the empty Dakotan half for a flawless three just before the third quarter ended, to the delight and cheers of the arena.
Silvius and Brylee tried their hardest to recover that first advantage, but as JCK kept with the threes, Tate kept blocking and Barrett closing with a logo-flashing signature dunk with the aid of Alphonse Norwich IV (Street Rat, F), the team was content in closing with a win before flying to the mainland in hopes of keeping their beast streak up. While the Bikers still show they still had quality plays, the absence of Malone will no doubt affect them in the longrun.
There was no doubt who was the celebrated player today, as reporters flocked in on tonight's Player of the Game. "I'm still digesting it all!" he jested. "But one thing's for certain, this game isn't mine, this is of all of us. I guess tonight was the best night to show my game drive and professionalism, be the best for my team and..." he pointed at the scorebox up high, showing his name. "That's what I did." he closed, panting his signature split tongue.
The islanders start another journey to the mainland against the Texas Lone Stars, while the plains team try to gather up their mojo as they take on the San Jose Thrust. One thing is for certain after today: The Kahunas sure went all their way in bid them a bon voyage.