Sure Shot didn’t have enough players to start this game, so they added two players from the previous game of the night and their game with Core went down to the wire. Neither team would budge, both using their own specific styles to get the job done. What started off as just an up-tempo wound up being a highly contested close finish. Sure Shot would pull it out at the end, using the free throw line to make the difference in their season opening 91-82 victory.
Core got out to a good start before Sure Shot got hot, Chris Howard was big for Core all night long. He along with Vernon (23 points) and Diamond (14) played a huge role in keeping Core in this game. Especially after the start by Sure Shot, J.R. was feeling himself tonight. The guard showed a little bit of maturation in his game tonight, really not forcing the issue. Definitely a contrast from his past summer performances, not that he didn’t play well at times, but last night’s contest showed that some work had been put in between the end of the summer and the start of the winter league. He scored 14 points in the first half, which would have been a team high if not for Boo Jackson. After earning a win with his designated team in the first game of the night, Jackson was asked to play with Sure Shot due to their shortage of players. It wasn’t a bad acquisition for the team as Boo went on to score 20 plus points in the half, he and J.R. combined to score all but five points with four minutes left in the half.
Jackson was far more assertive during his play with Sure Shot as he wasn’t on the floor with the bevy of scorers from his actual team. He got into a bit of a verbal sparring session with an opponent and proceeded to go off. Sure Shot was able to grab the lead at the half, but they trailed by just seven points behind the strong inside play from Vernon. He was making a living cleaning the glass and business was good.
One of the most interesting part of the matchup between the two teams was how each team tried to deal with Boo and Chris. Howard (36) is a guard, but is comfortable sliding over to the two at times to create mismatches. His size also allows him to post up on the low block, channeling his inner Mark Jackson, Chris was facilitating his team’s offense from the low block. The ball was moving well and his teammates were hitting shots, there were also times in which he used the size advantage to spin inside and get the easy layup. Jackson has been known to do damage from the block, but he was really shooting well from outside and continued to take and make open triples as his team needed.
The offensive spacing wasn’t great from Sure Shot, especially as the teams traded leads. Down the stretch the spacing was leaving much to be desired. Still, they were able to hit shots. J.R. (23) and Boo (34) couldn’t do it all, especially down the stretch and they got much needed help from their teammate Chris. He hit a couple of tough, off-balanced shots while driving. Both of which went off the glass and dropped to extend what was once a one point lead. A technical foul on Chris Howard of Core didn’t help matters, from there on out it was the foul game and Sure Shot hit them all to generate the margin of victory.