Finally, after a long on-again off-again season due to COVID shut downs, the Intramural Basketball League held its championship game, and team Cookies won the “ring” over team Planet of the Apes 69 – 65.
In a close game that went to double-overtime, team Cookies’ triumph was in doubt, but its shooters stepped up in clutch times.
The road to the championship was a long one for team Cookies, even though they had some of the best players in the league. Three of them dominated on the court, including MVP Alan “Black” McCintosh, Abdul “Yahya” Malik, and Jamal “Dr. J” Green. Their game point averages (GPA) were 29.3, 9.0, and 8.3 respectively.
For Green, 46, the victory was long in coming. It took him more than nine years to finally get the win he wanted most.
“For the last four years my team had always come up short,” Green said. “I been chasing this ring for a long time and I finally got it.”
His face showed how pleased he was with the win. He spoke of having a championship “ring” as if he really had the most coveted ring in the NBA.
The six-foot power forward stood out in the game with his rebounding and defensive pressure. Green was coming off a meniscus surgery, but did not allow that to stop him from contributing to his team’s win.
The game started at a fast pace. Team Planet of the Apes was leading almost the entire first half. Commissioner Ish Freelon watched Planet of the Apes go up by over twenty points when nine minutes remained in the half.
The series was tied coming into the third game. Team Planet of the Apes held their space on the court, letting team Cookies know that they were there to win the title too.
Compared to team Cookies’ near perfect record, team Planet of the Apes was in last place. Miraculously, they fought their way through some of the better teams and earned their shot at the
Some of the dominate players for Planet of the Apes were; Byrant Underwood (GPA 18), Trevor “Dubbs” Woods (GPA 1), a last minute walk-on whose defensive presence was felt, and point guard Jamaal “Do it all” Harrison (GPA 4.6).
“Our team just went on one. We fought and found our chemistry when we picked up Trevor “Bad back” Woods,” Harrison laughs.
Harrison credits his facilitating skills for contributing to the design his team used for keeping his team in the lead.
“We played zone,” Harrison said. “We were trying to isolate their shooters with our two-three zone and play the middle. I barely scored because I was focused on my assist.”
Eventually, the game became a battle due to the three-pointers that Jamal Green put up near the buzzer, ultimately sending the game into overtime and then double-overtime. Harrison said that the team Planet of the Apes coach miscalculated a substitution that team Cookies took advantage of.
But for both Green and Harrison, competing against each other in the sport that they bonded over was more than just a Championship game to them.
“I met Maal years ago,” Green said. “We from two different parts of California. He from Oakland and I’m from Inglewood. But, we became real good friends. So, to play in the Championship against him, to me was special.”
The two bonded while playing against each other when their teams, the SQ Warriors and the SQ Kings, would square off on the court over the course of a few years.
Harrison said it’s a struggle for him to compete against his friend in a game that is so important to both of them.
“It’s a challenge for me to play against my bro. Because even though he play fair, he’s also competitive,” Harrison said. “And I don’t mind that we lost. Because if anybody deserve the win, he do.”