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August 9, 2011

Pro City Final is a 2OT slugfest

August 8, 2011 - The Nike D.C. Pro City final thrilled a packed house at Georgetown's McDonough Arena on Sunday. Pitted against each other were Clyde's and Tombs - bragging rights and revenge were both on tap. After two bonus periods, Clyde's set The Tombs back, 105-101.

Both teams sported Blue and Grey family members: Tombs was populated by G'Town's entire freshman class of Jabril Trawick, Mikael Hopkins, Otto Porter, Greg Whittington and Tyler Adams (who was hurt and didn't play). Clyde's boasted current National Basketball Association professionals Greg Monroe and Jeff Green, plus European league pro Austin Freeman.

Resultantly battle lines were drawn along age, with past warriors taking on the up and coming 'Puppies', both sides wanting to one-up each other. Such competition is common within basketball programs.

Serving both the ability to trash talk and a sense of reprisal was the 72-46 dismantling Tombs evidenced on Clyde's the previous weekend. After that game, Clyde's players were clearly unhappy, Tombs' overtly seemed satisfied.

With such an impassioned setting on tap, there was no wonder emotions became raw: Whittington and Hoya redshirt freshman guard Aaron Bowen were ejected with 7:14 remaining in regulation for pushing. Monroe jawed with Whittington and others, as did Green, with neither veteran or rookie willing to cede ground. Adding to the mix were several calls greatly questioned by the vets.

But this game was about more than talking and physical play, it saw professionals stepping up when necessary. Case in point was Monroe, who scored 32 points for Clyde's. His work was done all over the court, including down low isolation situations, finishing on fast breaks, creating steals/deflections and sinking foul shots. Monroe's miss, subsequent defensive deflection which allowed Freeman to finish and created an 85-84 Clyde's lead with under three minutes to play, is a prime example of his work. The current National Basketball Association Detroit Piston was clearly inspired.

Green, an NBA player with Boston's Celtics was as well, defending, running the floor and shooting, scoring 26 points himself. One of the best players in Pro City this summer, Green has had a penchant for playing well but not necessarily focused - he has used the league to work on his outside game and have fun. Sunday was different, it was clear he was dialed in.

Clyde's went up 24-17 early, Tombs 60-51 in the second, but for the most part the contest was nip and tuck. With the youngsters up nine, it was obvious Clyde's was unhappy with the officiating. They subsequently went on an 11-2 run with Green and Monroe doing the scoring, while Dwayne Smith (18 points) took a charge.

The Puppies of Clyde's subsequently went on a 20-15 run themselves. Both teams made plays, including Green's jab step and dunk on Porter, Trawick's and-one opportunity earned by attacking Green, and Freeman's steal leading to a Smith dunk.

For the remaining 4:15 and six minutes of overtime, Clyde's tactics became evident; with Monroe playing inspired ball and his primary nemesis in the post Hopkins saddled with seven fouls (which under Pro City rules didn't disqualify him but afforded Clyde's a technical foul each time he was cited for another). During a timeout, several team members chanted the mantra "Stay wide", meaning maintain spacing that ensured the Monroe isolation.

The strategy prevailed until the double overtime session, at which time Monroe dunked, Smith scored on a put back, Greg found Freeman on a nifty inbounds play set up during a timeout, and Green hit a three.

Though outscored 12-7 in the second overtime session, the Puppies didn't stop fighting - Trawick (19 points, 13 in the second half) , while Porter (21 points) created offensive opportunities via steals and snagging rebounds. For the game rugged forward Jamal Wise scored 22 points, while Hopkins chipped in nine points.

Freeman, the Clyde's guard well known for his scoring prowess, finished with 14 points, but did not bemoan his relative lack of offensive production or opportunities. "I didn't want to shoot, I wanted to get them the ball" said Austin of his performance.

He also expressed the thrill of winning, in the manner they did: ""There's nothing like it…It happended just the way I like it".

See Premium Court for more on this emotional game, including comments overheard, the play of G'Town's Puppies and the calls.


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