The Blue Cross Arena was alive for Game Two of the PBL Championship matchup between the RazorSharks and the Lake Michigan Admirals. The stands were packed and the crowd was wild in what turned out to be an incredible game that came down to the final seconds. Coming into the game, Rochester had a 1-0 lead in the best of three series, so with a win, the Sharks would be champions for the third consecutive season. After a great battle in Lake Michigan last week, Coach Iversen and his team knew this win would not come easy, as Lake Michigan never gave up, even after being down by twenty at one point in Thursday’s game.
From the first whistle, everyone in the arena knew this would be a hard fought game by both sides. Neither team really got going at any point, resulting in a score of 40-40 at the half. At one point in the second quarter, the Admirals led by eight points, which was quickly caught by Rochester, on the back of big man Ayodele Coker. Coker finished the half leading the team with 10 points and 3 blocks. He was a man on a mission down in the paint and he proved to be a problem for Lake Michigan, even with their depth in the post.
Going into the second half, tensions were high as both teams played well, but neither could find a groove. After a quiet first half, veteran guard Jerice Crouch went to work. All of a sudden, Crouch was everywhere: scoring, dishing out assists, and even pulling down some rebounds. Despite his excellent play, the Sharks still weren’t able to stop the Admirals from scoring. Throughout the third and fourth quarters the lead changed nine times and things got crazy as Lake Michigan had two players foul out and Rochester kept missing free throws.
Coming down to the final minutes of play, Crouch’s leadership elevated the team’s level of play. The RazorSharks began to fight back and take control of the game. In the final stretch Crouch and Allmond continued to make shots and battle with the Admirals. After two missed RazorSharks free throws, the Admirals got the ball back with less than ten seconds left. Great defense by every Shark on the court forced the Admirals to take a wild shot from the corner that never reached the basket. Crouch finished the game with 26 points (22 in the second half) and 7 assist to lead the RazorSharks. He also pulled down 6 rebounds in a spectacular second half performance.
Ayodele Coker continued to dominate both offensively and defensively in the third and fourth, finishing the night with 16 points and 5 blocks. His post presence limited the Admirals play in the paint, forcing the Admirals to take outside shots. The RazorSharks also received help from all-star guard, Corey Allmond who made some clutch three point field goals, including one deep in the corner with only a minute left to light a fire under the team. Despite a quiet night, Melvin Council was named playoff MVP for his outstanding performance in the post season.
Tonight was a very emotional game for the RazorSharks. Experience played a major role as they were outscored all game until the fourth quarter. Greatness occurs when adversity strikes, and tonight the RazorSharks responded to the call, conquering the Lake Michigan Admirals for the second year in a row with a 93-92 victory. With the win, first year Coach Chris Iversen receives his first trophy. This was Chris’s sixth championship as a member of the RazorSharks team, but this one will surely be his most special. Hopefully this will simply be the beginning of an era under his outstanding leadership.
Melvin Council Earns 2016 PBL Playoff MVP
Melvin Council was crowned the 2016 PBL Playoff MVP after the Rochester RazorSharks defeated the Lake Michigan Admirals 2-0 in the best of 3 championship series.
In Game One on the road in St. Joseph, MI, Melvin Council was a force off the bench for the RazorSharks sparking a tough and hard fought 6-point victory. Council shot 8-17 from the floor with 23 points, two rebounds and two assists off the bench.
Council provided the much needed scoring punch and energy boost off the RazorSharks bench as the Admirals continued to stick around. Council was the leading scorer for Rochester in 28 minutes off the bench. This victory made it easier for Rochester to protect home court in Game Two and reclaim their PBL Championship.
Council was a compliment off the bench once again in Game Two, giving veterans Jerice Crouch and Corey Allmond some much needed rest in this tick-for-tat contest.
In the two games of the PBL Finals, Council averaged 14.5 points and 2.5 assists off the bench. This is Council's first ever PBL Playoff MVP Award.