2020 FBA Season/20.05.30/BAL@PLY/Capsule
Welcome to Roots Garden here in Plymouth, Massachusetts, for Game Seven of your Eastern Conference Semifinals, between the Baltimore Spirits and your Plymouth Taproots! I'm Arun Jamison, four-on-the-floor reporter with Snowhoot Media, and today promises to be an exciting matchup! Plymouth forced a seventh game after dropping a home contest in Game Five, breaking Baltimore's three-game winning streak in the process. Can the Spirits bounce back and knock off the Taproots one more time, or will a suddenly rejuvenated Taproots squad hold their ground and advance to their second straight conference finals? Let's find out.
Q1: Plymouth starts the afternoon off right, winning the jump ball thanks to their goliath of a center, Jake Turner. And Goliath is the perfect name for him in the opening twelve, as he manages to hit double-digits in rebounds before the first quarter is even over! Kinny has dished out five assists, three of which find Michael River running circles around Harrison York, who despite leading the Spirits with a pair of assists gives up nine crucial points to River. Though Alessandro Serra matches that total, Tavares and Serra can't gain any rebounding ground on Tallfox and the edge in boards leads to a six-point lead for Plymouth after one.
Q2: After a relatively tame first quarter, Trevor Cruz has shown his wings, the pink-dyed bat finding a fire deep down and getting hot from, surprisingly, inside the arc. He's also surprisingly physical today, drawing a foul from Lindsey Morrison on a deep ball which leads to three free throws. Calmly, Trevor buries them all, and though he struggles a bit on threes, he's finding more openings and ways to hurt the Spirits defensively. Coffee Husky Rodger Umaechi gets his shooting touch back, and he picks up some rebounds to keep Baltimore within striking distance. But Trevor's scoring push keeps the Taproots on top, and as Kinny DeMarcus dishes out the dimes and Jake dominates the boards, it's a nine-point advantage for the home team going into the locker room.
Q3: Baltimore has decided to prove that they're not out yet, making a strong and balanced team push forward. The bench gets involved, with Alohi Korenzo and Jerome Swimmer each banging home a three-pointer to cut the deficit and keep it a close game. The balanced approach seems to be working, and while Trevor counters with two more treys of his own, Cruz's final shot of the quarter rims out, leaving him at a game-high twenty-six, but fans begin to murmur and wonder if that's a sign for shots to come. Baltimore owns this quarter, and a deficit that at multiple points pushed twelve-plus in this frame shrinks to a single point by the time the buzzer sounds. But it's coming at a price, as both York and Morrison are in foul trouble with four each, leading the Spirits to wonder, how much floor time will they get in a crucial final frame?
Q4: The final quarter is upon us, and we've got ourselves a game, folks. Baltimore opens the quarter with Morrison plucking the ball from Trevor and dropping in a three to give the Spirits the lead, 89-87. The boos begin to rain down... until the bat, with a devious smirk on his face, drives in on the next possession and finds DeMarcus all alone for a three to respond right back, dropping a picture-perfect pass into the viper's chest that somehow weaves around both Morrison and a lunging Serra. Plymouth takes back the lead, and on the next Spirits possession, York is called for a charge on River, waving off the go-ahead layup and sending the crowd into raucous cheers. The eagle has to hit the bench with five fouls, and the Taproots take gleeful advantage, scoring the next sixteen points. Yesina Selas caps off the run by spelling Trevor briefly and making a mind-bending three to beat the shot clock, putting the score at 106-89, Plymouth. York comes back onto the court but promptly picks up foul number six on an illegal screen, sending him to the showers and negating a Morrison three. River loses the handle and Gary Elsinore replies by buring a three, and then another! But the Taproots don't let them get any closer; with two minutes left and Plymouth leading by sixteen, Trevor takes the ball up top for a deep, deep three, hitting from just outside of the logo with a swish that you could swear was heard throughout the entirety of New England.
Baltimore called timeout to draw up a play, and Trevor perfectly read a pass intended for Morrison in the corner, poking it forward and outrunning everyone. At the free throw line, he threw down a hard dribble, caught the ball, then leapt high in the air spinning in a complete 360 degree rotation, smashing the ball through the rim with a two-handed flush as he rotated back towards the rim. Roots Garden almost exploded from the cheers and screaming, and Coach Boyd had clumps of feathers in his hands as Trevor released the rim, coming down and waving goodbye to the Baltimore bench with a twinkle in his eye. It was the final basket Cruz made, as he sat down to a standing ovation. Thirty-five points and two beauteous moves later, Cruz was undoubtedly the player of the game for Plymouth, and the Taproots have moved on to face Biloxi. Jake led the way in rebounds, and Kinny dished out the most assists. Consternation on the Baltimore sideline, as Umaechi led the team in all three categories. Their team effort wasn't enough today, as the Spirits' season ends in a disappointing fizzle in the final quarter. ~by Kyuji