The 2018 Southern Exposure Basketball League title games closed out the season this weekend at the JH Morgan Gymnasium in Cartersville.
Brighter Days took the SEBL Metro A-League championship with SH-Baseline 2 winning the City Conference B-League title. RAK Outfitters won the women's championship.
Brighter Days claims 2018 SEBL Metro A-League title
Fifth-seeded Brighter Days captured its first SEBL Metro Conference A-League championship in dominating fashion Saturday, after breaking away from third-seeded Wood Elite Training late in the first half.
The teams traded leads early on, but Brighter Days, who turned things around after the mid-way point of the summer schedule, began utilizing its superior size and deft shooting from Kevin Hobbs to open up a 45-32 spread at the intermission. Hobbs downed 20 in the first half alone.
In the second half, the seeming weary-legged WET struggled to mount any meaningful run, as Brighter Days began also getting production from bigman Dominique Harper, along with the sure-shooting Marcus Dortch, as the duo tallied 17 and 15 respectively in the final stanza. Levi Hatcher was doing what he could to keep Wood Elite in a position to possibly strike, scoring at a consisent and varying clip, both inside and out. But, Isaac Thomas and Al Mateba were unable to get on track offensively on this night. Quinton Wood was finally able to get a few perimeter shots to go in the latter minutes to make things look interesting, at one point, but it was too little too late, as the Niagel Curtis and Vic Beasley Jr. coached Brighter Days team would make every adjustment need to seal the deal.
Hatcher would finish with 20 for WET, while Wood had 19 points, six boards and six assists. Jonathan Mason and Isaac Thomas also had 15 and 10, respectively. For Brighter Days, Hobbs and Dortch shot a combined 19 of 28 on the night, while the both notched 26 points. Harper would collect 17 of his 19 in the second half, as Cory Warn also contributed 10 in the win.
For their season-long efforts and helping their respective teams navigate the tough regular season and reach the finals, Hobbs and Wood shared Co-League MVP honors. Marcus Dortch picked up Tournament MVP recognition, as he averaged 20 points and 10.5 boards per game during the Brighter Days tournament run.
SH-Baseline-2 wins SEBL City Conference B-League championship
Top-seeded SH-Baseline-2 used an 11-0 run late in the second half to overcome an upset-minded SH-Warriors in a nail-biting 75-73 win on Sunday afternoon at JH Morgan Gym to claim the City Conference B-League Title.
The two evenly matched squads took turns making runs in the first half, with SHB2 making the first behind, Jeremiah Shaw, who came out hot from the outset, draining five treys within the first eight minutes of the game. SHB2 led by 10 quickly, but the Warriors fought back, Mello Hicks and JR Davis, eventually taking a slim lead. But, Korley Grier got an and-1 to close the half and end SHB2 into the break with a 41-40 lead. In the second half, the Warriors retook the lead early and held it for good portion, as Cody Henderson and Cade Archer took turns generating buckets. But, SHB2 would make their deciding run after falling down 58-54. After the Henderson lay-in putting the Warriors up four, they miscued on consecutive trips to increase their lead, but Shaw would trigger an 11-0, by capitalizing with two strong power moves to the cup following those ill-advised Warrior shots. Later, in the crucial stretch for SHB2, Kam Whitfield would get a bank shot, sandwiched by two Markel Williams' stick-backs. In a two-minute dry spell, the Warriors were suddenly down 65-58, before JR Davis finally answered with two free throws. The damage was done though, as time was winding down and the Warriors could not bounce back.
Henderson and Archer led the Warriors with 13 each, while a cold Davis was held to 12, but did manage 13 boards. Hicks also had 10, as Jalen Mckeller got nine points and nine rebounds. DJ Garnigan also had nine points. For SHB2, Jeremiah Shaw had a League MVP-deciding performance with 28 points and 11 rebounds, while Markel Williams was named Tournament MVP in averaging 19.5 points and a whopping 17 rebounds. Shaw averaged 24 points in the playoff run.
RAK captures 2018 WSEBL title
Number two-seeded RAK leads from wire to wire, exacts revenge over top-seeded Elite-77 in impressive 75-58 win on Sunday afternoon at JH Morgan Gym to claim back-to-back WSEBL Championships.
Back on July 29th, Elite-77 came back from a seven-point half-time deficit to force an overtime, where they clipped RAK for a 51-50 victory to claim first place in the standings. RAK, on that day was missing a few key pieces, but the script flipped for the Championship game, as Elite-77 didn't have their usual deep roster. Elite-77 was able to keep things close deep into the second, with several opportunities to make a push, as they cut their deficit to six on multiple occasions - even as late as around the five-minute mark. But, RAK's Tess Wright and Ashton Sutton both got free for transition lay-ins, followed by a Bethany Headrick power move in the lane, in which she made the bucket and drew a foul. Her free throw to complete the old-fashioned 3-point play seemingly broke Elite's spirit in the closing minutes as RAK pulled away for a winning margin that wound up actually being closer than the score indicates.
Tanisha Woodard scored 18 for Elite-77, while Taya Gibson tallied 17. Bethany Headrick showed why she took home the League MVP honors, downing 23 points and grabbing nine boards, while the sister duo of Carrie and Becca Cheeks combined for 24 points and 30 rebounds, which created a huge advantage in the paint for RAK. JessAnn Nix also came up big, scoring 12 points for RAK while shooting a perfect 5/5 from the field on the afternoon. Carrie Cheeks was also named the Tournament MVP for her commanding play in the interior, averaging 13 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks in tourney play.