2019 FALL  |  SEASON 45
WEEK 1


 

By: League Analyst
Contributing Writer

 

Outlawz vs. United
GOLD DIVISION
8:30 a.m.

 

Outlawz were led by the scoring duo of Fernando Ruiz and Frank Morales - two players who were part of the original Outlawz roster. The duo had strong season debuts for United GM Daniel Donato, a former teammate who is retiring as a player at the end of the season.

United GM Daniel Donato finished with just 3 points as United suffered their first loss of the season. Chris Avila, an All Star last season, finished with 21 points on 53.8% shooting while Jorge Parrales finished with 14 points, 3 rebounds, and 4 assists. The former MVP has been in and out of Superstar with an injury and he finished shooting 38.5% from the field en route to 3 three-pointers. Omar Caro finished with 12 points, 3 assists while Chris Duran added 3 points, 6 rebounds.

Outlawz GM Fernando Ruiz was on fire finishing with 21 points and going 7-for-10 from 3-point range. Ruiz shot 63.3% from the field and finished with 1 block, 2 rebound and 1 steal. Frankie Morales led Outlawz with 4 assists and he finished with a team-high, 22 points on 47.1% shooting. Melvin Segovia also returned to the line-up, finishing with 12 points, 6 rebounds while Juan Rodriguez made his Outlawz debut with 4 points. Elias Ayala, Assistant Coach, finished with 4 rebounds while Rudy Hernandez made his Outlawz debut with 2 points. Notably missing was another Original Outlawz and former Daniel Donato teammate, David Munoz. Munoz, expected to join Gold Division team Bullets, is questionable on his return to Outlawz.

 

Public Enemy vs. IHOB
BRONZE DIVISION
9:15 a.m.

 

Public Enemy, Finalists last season, started the season with a huge win over IHOB as Noel Marquez led all scorers with 32 points, 4 assists and 6 three-pointers. The Player of the Week shot 66.7% from the field as Public Enemy defeat IHOB, 63-47.

Tim Austin made his Bronze Division debut finishing with 13 points, 13 rebounds and 2 steals. Jeremiah McCants added 6 points, 5 rebounds while Regis Bell added 4 points. The team used a commanding 37-25 run in the 2nd half as Noel continually played like chess while his opponents played checkers. Noel's herky jerky moves produced several open shots to the basket and it is becoming tradition that Noel wins Player of the Week in the Season Opener, much like he did last season when he was a rookie. The challenge now is for him to be consistent all season and if Game 1 was any indicator, Noel appears to be ready for the challenge.

"He's reading the floor well, the experience he had playing in Gold last season is paying off for him," said a league stats-keeper. "You can tell how confident he is now, Noel and Tim should be one of the top duos in Bronze this season."

IHOB isn't one to make excuses but IHOB's scramble to get players to play this season was evident as team chemistry looked questionable in their first game of the season. This isn't last season's IHOB and only GM Arvin Delapaz remains. Arvin led the team with 13 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 steals while Justin Antonio, a 100 point scorer, finished with 11 points, 3 rebounds and 1 assist. Justin, a former Adoboys All Star, has been a Crossfit athlete after taking a break from Superstar and his shot was a forgettable 1-for-10 from 3-point range in his return to Superstar. Antwon Blocker added 10 points while one of last season's best players, Alex Ochoa, finished with 7 points, 9 rebounds. IHOB has a lot of talent and for all their players to have bad games is rare so look for IHOB to bounce back on Week 2.

 

Buckets vs. Bullets
GOLD DIVISION
10 a.m.

 

All Star Sal Escandon was in mid-season form as Bullets beat Buckets, 70-42. The All Star guard was 5-for-12 from 3-point range (41.7%) as Bullets combined to shoot 11-for-35 (31.4%) from beyond the arch. On the flip side, Buckets were a dismal 13% from 3-point range with only 5 players showing up in the season opener.

Kevin Levingston led Buckets with 11 points while David Ward made his Buckets debut with 11 points, 16 rebounds on 62.5% shooting (team-high). Kris Dick made his return to Gold Division finishing with 9 points, 16 rebounds, and 2 assists. GM Jonathan Wynn struggled from the field with just 2 points while Glenn Payne added 5 points. It was a forgettable season opener for Buckets as GM Jonathan Wynn explained the team's dismal start.

"We had 6 players not show up all of a sudden, we got talent but man, they just couldn't show up this weekend," explained Wynn.

One of those players were David Munoz, a former teammate of Wynn who is playing for Bullets this season. One of the leading scorers for the team last season, Munoz is now playing for Bullets this season. Rick Gutierrez and Angel Romero contributed with 12 points, 3 rebounds while Eric Valentine finished with 9 points. Valentine led all players in Superstar with 8 assists and he finished with a game-high, 3 steals.

 

Fire Squad vs. Public Enemy
GOLD DIVISION
11 a.m.

 

Former Champions, Fire Squad, was supposed to come in to Season 45 re-loaded with former All Star, Marcus Eggum, joining the team in the off-season. Public Enemy flipped the script by beating Fire Squad by 39 points, 110-71.

Keise Champion, Player of the Week for Public Enemy, did not miss a field goal until the 3rd quarter as the rookie made his debut with 38 points, 8 three-pointers, and 6 assists. Keise shot 70% from the field and was 8-for-13 (61.5%) from beyond the arch. Center DJ McGee made his franchise debut for Public Enemy and he had a double-double with 30 points, 13 rebounds on 52.4% shooting. Noel Marquez, Jeremiah and Nick Da Quick each scored 10 points apiece for Public Enemy.

It's not how you start, but how you finish, and historically, Fire Squad is an awful team in the beginning of the season. Fire Squad has a history of slow starts but when post-season comes along, that's when the former Champions gets it going. Brandon Ortiz made his return after sitting out of the Final Four with a hand injury. The former Finals MVP finished with 23 points, 7 rebounds on 36.8% shooting while GM Otto Guillermo added 11 points, 5 boards. Marcus Eggum made his Fire Squad debut with 15 while David finished with 8 points, 5 boards. Shout out to Brandon Ortiz for sticking around after his game to work on his free throws, an area he uncharacteristically shot 36.4% shot from.

 

Smokin Aces vs. Blazers
BRONZE DIVISION
12 p.m.

 

Both rookie teams, Smokin' Aces and Blazers, dueled in a high tempo match-up that had Blazers ahead at the half, 45-39. Depth and execution gave Blazers their first win of the season as Blazers beat Smokin' Aces, 81-70.

Julian Chavez and Justin Chavez led the way for the Boyle Heights team as Blazers had 2 players score 18 points apiece to lead the rookies. Salvadar Gaseon rounded off the top leading scorers and he finished with 13 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists. The team shot 56.7% from the field and forced 15 turnovers as 3 players had 2 steals apiece (Julian, Justin Chavez and David Lujan).

Jacob Horan led Smokin Aces with 23 points while Joseph Santana added 16 points, 9 rebounds. Jorge Caldero added 11 points while John Yang added 8 points and team-high in assists (2) and steals (4). The biggest takeaway from Smokin Aces is that their opponents were young and in basketball shape while Smokin Aces were out-ran by younger legs.

 

Heat Check vs. Spirits
GOLD DIVISION
1 p.m.

 

Heat Check was on fire from the get-go as Sophomore Kyle Smith had the team's first 8 points. Kyle went on to finish with 26 points, 11 rebounds and 5 three-pointers as Heat Check defeat Spirits, 63-62.

Spirits may be a rookie team but the team showed experience, grit and defensive tenacity. Three players led the team with 14 as Darius Spates, Lawrence and Moses Quan scored 14 points apiece. Quan led the team with 13 rebounds while Spates grabbed a team-high, 4 steals. Spirits out-rebounded their opponents, 43-34 and had 9 steals while their opponents committed 14 turnovers.

"They're a middle of the pack Gold Division team," said a league stats-keeper. "Once they start figuring it out, they should climb to the upper half but Spirits is built on defense and they were impressive in their rookie debut despite the loss."

Heat Check was missing Isaiah Watson but Kyle Smith made sure Heat Check had enough scoring power. Kyle was 50% from the field while shooting 41.7% from 3-point range. He was double-teamed several times down and based on his season opener, Kyle is looking at another break out season. Ryan White was the second leading scorer with 19 points, 13 rebounds while Gabriel O. finished with 8 points. GM Chris Plantillas finished with 7 points, 4 rebounds, and led Heat Check with 3 assists.

 

Fuerza vs. Relentless
BRONZE DIVISION
2 p.m.

 

There are teams that thrive in the beginning, and then there are teams like Fire Squad, Relentless, and Tune Squad that thrive late in the season. The defending Champions, Relentless, started their title defense with a loss as Fuerza surprised Relentless, 65-59.

Andre Walker made his franchise debut for Relentless and he finished with 28 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 steals. Joel Contreras added 10 points, 10 rebounds while Finals MVP, Fabian Garcia added 8 points, 5 rebounds. GM Ruben Ramirez finished with 5 points, 3 assists while All Star Tony Gonzalez had 4 points, 3 assists. With a new scorer for Relentless in Andre Walker, the team will go through periods of adjustments and figuring out what their new roles are. The trio of Joel, Tony and Fabian had plenty of shots last season but with Andre leading the team with 21 field goal attempts, many are wondering if the original Relentless players are content to see their shot attempts go away.

"Not trying to start drama, but it's a natural observation," said a league analyst. "New guy comes in, takes more shots than the original players, how happy are the original guys that the new guy takes all the shots?"

Fuerza played with nothing to lose because in the off-season, they pretty much lost all their talent. The new look Fuerza lost key players (college) in the off-season but the team played team ball as four players scored double-digits in scoring. GM Abner Rodriguez scored 18 points on 46.2% shooting while Gerardo Sanchez added 15. Jesus Rios scored 13 points, 10 rebounds while Jonathan Sirait added 11. Veteran Geo Bonilla scored 8 points  as the team combined for 8 assists.

 

Prodigy Plug vs. Stay Up
GOLD DIVISION
3 p.m.

 

 

Former teammates linked up as Prodigy Plug took on Stay Up. Playoff P arrived fashionably late against his former teammates but that didn't stop him from scoring a game-high, 17 points as Prodigy Plug defeat Stay Up, 51-39.

After taking 2 seasons off, Playoff P brought his original team back and he led Prodigy Plug with 4 three-pointers, 2 steals and 2 assists while shooting 42.9% from the field. Playoff P was in playoff form getting into it with a rookie player from Stay Up. All Star Kevin Price finished with 11 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists while James Magaway added 9 points, 2 assists. Bo Madut led the team with 15 boards while Nephi Tofiga added 2 points, 3 rebounds. Missing were Marcus Carter and Garrison Deshay, two Prodigy Plug players that can score, rebound, defend, and fill up the highlight reel for Prodigy Plug.

Stay Up was led by  rookie, Phil Aguninga who finished with 16 points on 46.7% shooting. Phil, a referee last season, led Stay Up in efficiency shooting 46.7% from the field while dishing for a team-high, 2 assists. James Harris added 7 points and led the team with 17 rebounds while Burch Farrell finished with 6 points and 6 rebounds. Stay Up has been called out by  numerous teams including Below The Rim and FOE but GM Ty Su has managed to distance himself from the call outs as Stay Up plays in the early morning games for the rest of the season.

"That's a good way of ducking us," said Below The Rim GM, Darryl Alexander.

 

Team Winners Only vs. Try Hards
GOLD DIVISION
4 p.m.

 

"America's Best Shooter" had a decision to make. Would he commit to Winners Only, a team he chose to play for after East LA Dream Team lost to the Champions in Season 44 or will he choose to play for Try Hards, a team he won a Championship with in the Labor Day Tournament?

Derrick Tamanaha led all scorers with 25 points, 4 three-pointers as Try Hards fall to the Reigning Gold Division Champions, 71-63. Derrick faced double-teams and was defended all night as Team Winners Only felt disrespected after Derrick chose to play for his new team, Try Hards. It didn't seem to phase Try Hards as they played without All MVP, Ryan Carter. Fernando "Brodie" Ramos finished with 17 points, 3 rebounds and 2 three-pointers while GM Rudy Hernandez added 9 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists. "Memo" Guillermo Lopez added 7 points, 2 steals as Try Hards impressed their peers playing without their go-to scorer.

"They can actuall play," said a player from Team Winners Only. "Ryan takes a lot of the spotlight but we saw first hand that the players from Try Hards can shoot and they're more than just a 1-man team."

Team Winners Only unveiled their new pink unis in honor of National Break Cancer Awareness Month and the team is dedicating this season to Sue Newton, Brock Newton's mother who passed away from cancer. The Reigning Champions are playing with a purpose as newcomer Angel Rivas led the team with 22 points on 72.7% shooting. Angel led the Champs with 6 three-pointers and was 66.7% from beyond the arch. Larry Dew added 20 points, 5 rebounds while Braxton Taylor finished with 9 points, 3 boards. Assistant Coach, Jeriko Santos finished with 5 boards while GM Isaac Berliner added 3 points, 1 block and 1 assist.

 

Below The Rim vs Wastemanz
GOLD DIVISION
5 p.m.

 

Below The Rim already had a 3-point assassin in All Star Jason Fisk but add another 3-point assassin in Mike Peters and you got an AUTOMATIC Finals appearance for Below The Rim this season. Below The Rim defeated rookie team Wastamanz, 76-65.

In the last 4 season, All Star Mike Peters' resume speaks for itself.

- Finals appearance, Ball Broz (Summer 2018)
- Finals appearance, Sick Pick Ups (Fall 2018)
- 1st Round exit, East LA Dream Team (Winter 2019)
- Finals appearance, East LA Dream Team (Summer 2019)

Mike led all scorers with 30 points and he was 7-for-14 (50%) from 3-point range and finishing with 3 assists, 4 rebounds while shooting 52.6% overall. GM Darryl Alexander added 9 points, 9 boards while Raven King added 12 points, 10 boards. Tony Ardison finished with 16 points, 5 boards while Tim Austin added 7 rebounds, 3 assists. The team's combination of size, speed, shooting and tenacity on defense makes Below The Rim a Final Four favorite this season.


GM Warren Forbes led rookie team, Wastamanz in scoring finishing with 27 points, 7 three-pointers and 2 boards. Dean Lewis added 14 points, 3 rebounds while Wesley Forbes finished with 10 points, 8 rebounds. KC Cyprian scored 9 points, 9 rebounds and led the team with 3 assists. It's too early to see where the rookies will fall in the standings after the Regular Season but one thing is certain - they couldn't stop Below The Rim's newest acquisition, Mike Peters.

 

Concrete vs. Entourage
PLATINUM DIVISION
6 p.m.

 

After taking several seasons off, Concrete returned to Superstar Basketball as Entourage rookie sharp-shooter, Keith Shamberger, welcomed Concrete back into the league. Keith, named Player of the Week for his weekend-high, 46 points, led Entourage to a 80-63 win.

Keith was on fire from beyond the arch as Entourage used a 42-25 run in the 2nd half to put the game away. Keith was 12-for-17 (70.6%) from beyond the arch and was 72.7% overall hitting 16-of-22 shot attempts. Martin Darrell finished with 10 points, 3 assists while GM Joey Cejudo added 4 points, 10 rebounds on 40% shooting. Anthony Fitzpatrick added 6 points while CJ Cooper finished with 9 points and 2 steals.

Concrete had 3 players score in double-figures as Brian Carter led the way with 18 points, 5 rebounds on 57.1% shooting. Aesh Dabbas, former MVP, made his return finishing with 14 points, 8 rebounds while GM Kimorlay Williams added 17 points, 9 boards. Paul finished with 9 points, 4 boards while Drew added 5 points, 2 assists.

 

Beast Tribe vs. Undisputed Division
PLATINUM DIVISION
7 p.m.

 

Undisputed Division made a huge statement against former Champions, Beast Tribe, as Undisputed cruised to a 86-69 victory.

Beast Tribe must not have gotten the memo that the season started on October 6 with several guys calling out last minute including Jason Harris, Prentice Harris and Michael Cox. The team was led by CJ Johnson who finished with a double-double, 26 points, 11 rebounds and 4 steals. CJ had the #1 Play of the Week, blocking 2 shots and finishing the play with an alley oop. Trone Jackson added 14 points while Chris Elliott scored 12 points, 2 rebounds.

Undisputed coasted throughout the match-up as five players scored in double-figures for Undisputed Division. Ryan Nitz led all scorers with 16 points while Jarrell "Bama" Tate, Finals MVP from last season, finished with 12 points, 3 rebounds. Shoney Brown added 16 points and led Undisputed with 4 steals while Tone Biglow added 9 points, 3 assists. Undisputed Division was matched up with one of Inland Empire's best teams in recent seasons and it was a shame that several guys called out last-minute making this match-up a 1-sided affair.

 

Crusaders vs. Undisputed Division
PLATINUM DIVISION
8 p.m.

 

Crusaders showed up with just 4 players as the rookies got dunked on, 94-70, in favor of Undisputed Division.

Five players scored in double figures for Undisputed Division as Brandon Towns scored 20 points, 7 rebounds. AJ Harris finished with 14 while last season's Finals MVP, Jarrell Tate, led Undisputed with 24 points on 80% shooting. Shoney Brown had arguably the best dunk of the season dunking on Crusaders' William Hill to set Instagram on a frenzy on Monday morning. In a match-up that was Undisputed throughout, the only debate was which play was going to be the Play of the Week.

"That facial by Shoney should be #1 but CJ had 2 blocks, the first one was big time, then he finished the play with an oop," said a league editor. "You had players from Japan (Sean Marshall) commenting and re-posting CJ's play."

James Dean finished with a team-high, 29 points, 4 rebounds on 48% shooting. William Hill added 17 points, 2 steals while John Garvey finished with 17. Crusaders learned that you can't show up to Superstar Basketball unprepared and teams are ready to put you on posters. Will Crusaders show up with a full roster on Week 2?

 

Goons vs. Powerball
PLATINUM DIVISION
9 p.m.

 

Stats sheet turned up missing as of Sunday. Whoever took it, turn it in. Thank you.

Powerball defeated Goons.

Now turn in that stats sheet.

 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

 Game Previews and Recaps are written by league analysts on Saturdays and Mondays. If there is a typo on your name, please e-mail commish@superstarbasketball.org. Thank You.