Adult league linked to Josh Howard crowns champions

Photo by Alphonso Abbott Jr.- Akia Pruitt of W.U.P.U.G.B goes up for a reverse layup in the championship game against Team Finesse.

Adult league linked to Josh Howard crowns champions
June 22
05:16 2017

The Adult Summer Basketball league at the W.R. Anderson Community Center ended with a bang.  Team Finesse matched up with W.U.P.U.G.B (Wake Up Pray Up Get Buckets) in the championship game Monday night.  Down the stretch, W.U.P.U.G.B pulled away and came away with the trophy, winning the game 92-72.

W.U.P.U.G.B came into the game with a significant height advantage over its opponent.  To counteract the height differential, Team Finesse players used the outside shot as their strength to gain an advantage.  In the end, it wasn’t enough as they fell victim to the old cliché “live by the three and die by the three.”

Team Finesse began their playoff run facing off first against Team Nothing Easy. They were able to scrap out a victory in double overtime to move on.  In the next game versus Rise Above, Team Finesse easily dispatched their opponents.

W.U.P.U.G.B came into the playoffs as the Number 5 seed.  They faced off against Team Supreme in their first game and came out with the win.  They then defeated the Elite All-Stars to make it to the championship game.

The game was a tight one to begin with.  Each team used its strengths to the best of its abilities, keeping the game close.  Jawaun and Derek Griffin carried most of the scoring load for Team Finesse.  Fatigue seemed to be an issue for the Griffin brothers late in the second half, but they both gave maximum effort all during the game.

“Today I thought I played decent, but I am disappointed with myself because I feel like I could have played better,” Derrek Griffin said.  “I like to try and get off to a good start at the beginning of the game, but I kind of struggled to begin the game.  It was a blessing to play in this league, and I appreciate Josh Howard and everyone that put it together.  You win some and you lose some, but we will take this on the chin and come back next time and hopefully get us a trophy.”

W.U.P.U.G.B used their height advantage early and often.  They dominated inside to begin the game.  With the game still close, Bee Jay Pittman came off the bench and immediately began to light it up.  He finished the game with 23 points and hit many big shots in clutch moments.

“I thought we played great today, especially on the defensive end of the floor,” Pittman said.  “We sort of started off sluggish but we picked it up at the end of the game and came out with the win.  When I came in, I tried to be aggressive at all times and get out there and do something positive.  My teammates gave me space to score, so I can’t take all the credit.  I am just very happy that we came out with the win, honestly.”

Josh Howard attended the game.  He says he was very happy with the way the league turned out.  He says seeing a game like this makes him want to lace it up and get out there.

“I thought tonight was a great game with great competition,” Howard said.  “The losing team just needed a little more height but overall both teams came to play and played hard until the end.  Many of these guys had to give up their dream at a young age, so for me to be able to put this platform out here for them and some of the college guys who don’t get the opportunity to show what they have during the game is great.”

“I just wanted to give them a chance to have fun and bring the city out,” Howard continued.  “The city is growing and people are always looking for things to do and basketball is always something fun people like to come out and watch.”

Steve Nivens of the Josh Howard Foundation said he thought the league turned out great.  He said he was happy with the teams, style of play and the crowds that came out to watch.  He says he has heard nothing but good feedback from all involved and can’t wait until they bring the league back this fall.

Bryant McCorkle, director of the W.R. Anderson Community Center, said the league went the way he anticipated.  He says with the great play of the teams along with the enthusiasm of the crowd, he can’t wait to do it again.

“Everything turned out great and I am looking forward to the next time,” he said.  “It was a great league with great competition because any team could have won the championship.  I want to give a thanks to the Josh Howard Foundation and the employees of the W.R. Anderson Community Center for all their hard work.”

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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