By Aaron Brown –
It was the Celtics versus the Lakers without Kobe and Pierce, but it wasn’t without excitement.
A Lakers’ shot made at the buzzer sent the tense game into overtime, but it was not enough momentum to push the Lakers past the Celtics Monday night. Uh, not the NBA, it was the always popular Penn Manor Rec Championship game.
“First Rec Championship, you tell me how I’m feeling,” said Cody Straub.
Straub, the Celtics first-round pick, was flying high after the win. It was Straub’s final year in the Penn Manor Recreational League, and it was a sweet note to end with a first place trophy.
But he was sure to spread the credit across his squad.
“We won the game thanks to Ian Noll heating up, clutch free throws made by Ian Toomey, and solid defense,” said Straub.
The Lakers, were hot off beating the number one seed Rockets and were hoping to keep their ‘Cinderella Story’ alive, but the Celtics were waiting to close the book on that fairy tale.
The bleachers were filled with fans from both teams, much like a famous Hempfield vs. Penn Manor duel, but it was just the Penn Manor Rec Championship game.
But it wasn’t “just” a game.
The Celtics got a contribution from every member on their team, whether it be points or assists.
Although the Lakers scored the first four points, they could not score the last three to give them the win.
This game may be remembered for many years to come because of all the ties and lead changes. Also, ‘The shot heard around the gym,’ Austin Watson’s made three at the end of regulation to send it into overtime erupted in screams from the crowd on both sides of the gym.
“There is nothing better than rec basketball,” said Nick Tulli, a fellow rec player who watched from the stands after his team, the Sonics, were eliminated in playoffs.
This game was always close, with no team ever winning by more than seven points.
“It was a nail bitter all night long,” said Tulli.
At halftime, the Celtics were winning, 19-17, thanks to Bobby Goss’s shot made seconds before the half was over. The MVP at halftime was Jake Shiner, although his team was losing. He scored 11 of his team’s 17 points.
During the sixth period-eight periods in a rec game- Ian Noll drained a three in two straight Celtic’s possessions to raise their lead to seven points. The Lakers roared back, on behalf of Jake Shiner and Dougie Taylor.
Then the real drama began. In the last minute of the eighth period, Ian Toomey made two free throws to give the Celtics a one-point lead. The Lakers hurried down the court, but missed the shot. The Celtics sunk two free throws at the hand of Noll. With the Celtics up by the three, Watson caught the ball a couple feet behind the three point line, raised up and ‘swish’, the shot went in to send the game into O.T.
The crowd didn’t get their money’s worth in the three-minute overtime period because the Celtics only scored three points and the Lakers only had one. Good thing admission was free.
The momentum from regulation time was not enough for the underdog, Lakers. They lost to the Celtics 48-46.