It'll take a lot for Week Two to live up to the high-stakes pressure-packer games of its predecessor, but these match-ups might do the trick.
8:15: Team 2 (0-1) vs. Beast of Burden (0-1)
In the early game, both teams will be looking to rebound from a close loss in week one. Team 2 will be bolstered by the return of Kyle Ervin, their captain, and will look to add an element of quickness and movement to their game. Last week, after going up 20-10 against Dunk-a Schoen, a vigorous man-to-man defense exposed their offensive set as somewhat stationary and predictable. They'll be turning to Ervin and guard Chris Bonastia to spark fast breaks with aggressive defense, which should, in turn, free up sharpshooter Andrew Weiner (14 points in week one) to hit from the outside. Zach Smith, a strong presence for Team 2 and a legitimate swingman, will continue operating inside and outside the lane, while Trista Sordillo and Allison Cline provide harrassing defense from the perimeter. Team 2 will be missing David Saie.
Beast of Burden, meanwhile, have quickness in spades. Unlike Team 2, their offense lacked some stability in week one as they suffered a narrow loss to Team 5. Ismael and Rafael Rodriguez lead the Beast of Burden attack, and along with guards Robin Luna, Brian Love, and Kieran Valla, may find an easier time converting against the smaller Team 2. Pat Waldo and Kyle Pilkington, who had workmanlike performances against the significant size of their last opponents, should find more freedom in the lane. On the flip side of that coin, Team 2's ballhandling skills should keep their turnovers to a minimum, and Beast of Burden's success will depend on how well they can create opportunities from the offensive set without relying on fast break points.
Favorite: Beast of Burden (-1)
9:00: Dunk-a Schoen (1-0) vs. The Hospital Bombers (0-1)
The 9pm game showcases two of the stronger post players in the league, as Zach Heinzerling and Bob Van Kolken get set to do battle in the painted realms. Heinzerling, who led Dunk-a Schoen to an inspiring victory in week one, will be joined by Whitney Warren, a born slasher who can score from anywhere on the floor. He spent the first part of last week's game finding his rhythm, but the kinks are out, and The Hospital Bombers can expect the offensive theatrics the league witnessed in Warren's championship run from a year ago. Tom Fleischman, Ben Weitmarschen, and Katie Stokien, all above 6 feet, give Dunk-a Schoen the distinct size advantage, while Katie Kinsey and Mark Lee have the unenviable task of slowing down the opposition's guard play.
Geoff Nelson, Nate Purinton, and Avi Kent provided no shortage of fireworks in last week's loss to The Cray's Nest, netting 6 3s in their comeback effort. Their task this time around is to prove that they can muster the same hot streaks against a man-to-man defense, which Dunk-a Schoen is likely to employ. Despite the presence of big bodies like Van Kolken and Forsythe, and the energy of captain Jake Berkowitz, they'll need to find success from beyond the arc against their larger opponents. Slick passing and ballhandling will be the necessary catalysts, and how well they manifest may determine the outcome of this game. Newcomers Steve Friedman and Kerry Brown will provide an unknown element off the bench.
Favorite: Dunk-a Schoen (-5.5)
9:45: The Cray's Nest (1-0) vs. Team 5 (1-0)
The Cray's Nest are riding high after a 61-point performance in week one, the highest production by any GABL team. Team 5's defense provides an interesting conundrum for their system. While they may find more room on the perimeter, it's likely the inside will be clogged with size as Team 5 tries to limit the second chance points that proved so valuable in TCN's first victory. Lars Rasmussen, week one's high scorer, will again make his bones on the offensive boards, where he was able to find easy baskets and draw fouls. Putting Rasmussen on the line is a dangerous proposition; he's 8-8 on the year. Vance Tucker, a star of last year's league, continues to provide a scary offensive threat, and the shooting of Jordan Glickson, Gene Walsh, Jane Rizzo, and Shane Ryan will be crucial.
Team 5, in last week's victory, used court smarts to triumph at the end. Against the Cray's Nest, however, they'll need to top their previous total of 33. Assuming the brunt of that task is Keith Gormley, post-player extraordinaire, who knocked down 17 against Best of Burden. Captain Greg Wyrick, Colby Hall and Matt Brinkmann provide additional size, while guards Steve Reiter, Steve Krakauer, and Amy Hauck should experience a nice sense of relief in the absence of fierce defense from the Brothers Rodriguez. Scoring will not be as difficult against The Cray's Nest, who have not made a secret of their offensive priorities, but the question for Team 5 is whether they're capable of becoming truly prolific. If they can maintain a steady scoring pace, eliminate easy shots on defense, and contend with Tucker and Rasmussen on the boards, victory is a real possibility.
Favorite: The Cray's Nest (-1.5)