January 2, 2012
Topballerz Retain Sole Possession of First Place
After splitting their first two meetings, the New Jersey Express and the Connecticut Topballerz met up for the proverbial rubber match to determine who would be atop of their respected division. The game was played in New Jersey and immediately, the New Jersey crowd let the Topballerz know that they were in for a long battle. As each Topballer was introduced, the crowd fervently booed while erupting into cheer when the Express starters were announced. To say the Jersey crowd was biased and a bit hostile would be putting it lightly.
The first quarter began with a flurry as the Express came out in a full-court press, looking to pressure the Topballerz’ guards and dictate the pace. However, through the leadership and poise of a true veteran, Bobby Moore attacked the press and reminded everyone there why his name is synonymous with “legend.” Bobby broke the press three straight times and hit a wide-open Kelvin Davis for several jumpers. Immediately, he knew that Kelvin was “feeling it” (14 first quarter points) and made sure that he kept feeding him the ball. Through Kelvin’s hot hand and some great defense by the team, the Topballerz established leads of up to 22 points in the first half. The game looked as if it were going to be a blowout as both teams left the court for halftime.
However, the Express came out with a vengeance, playing tough defense and hitting big shots. While Dexter Gray cleaned up the boards for the Express, guards Darnell Braswell and Frank Dunn got to the bucket while also hitting a number of contested jumpers. Before you knew it, the Topballerz lead had been cut to 5 late in the fourth quarter. With the poise and confidence of a professional coach, Coach Jim Cornish called a timeout, regrouped his troops and prepared them for the final minutes. As the Topballerz returned to the court, there wasn’t an ounce of fear in one of the player’s eyes.
Per the orders of Coach Cornish and the rest of the staff, the ball was inbounded to Bobby Moore who once more, put on a dribbling clinic, avoiding traps and breaking down the defense with his speed, athleticism and ball-handling skills. The Express threw everything they had at Moore and the Topballerz defensively, but the Ballerz responded each time. As the final buzzer sounded, the scoreboard read Topballerz 109 – Express 104! With the victory, the Topballerz not only earned bragging rights but more importantly, sole possession of first place in the Northeast Division. After a small bump in the road earlier in the season, the Topballerz look as if they are back on track with their third straight victory.
The Topballerz return home this weekend, January 7th, 2012 at Albertus Magnus College against division rival, NYC Thunder.