Created: 04/14/2014 11:29 PM WHEC.com
After losing in the championship series the last two seasons, the Rochester RazorSharks are back on top of the Premiere Basketball League by defeating the Indiana Diesels 112-84. With the win, this marks the RazorSharks fifth championship and seventh time in a row playing in the championship series.
“It feels amazing, I’m so proud of these guys. It took a lot of hard work, dedication and we never quit, it feels so good to bring another championship to Rochester,” Reggie Stallings said.
The two teams split the first two games of the finals series with the ‘Sharks winning the first one at home 100-99 and losing the second one on the road 103-99.
Rochester never trailed in the decisive third game as they pulled away from the Diesels down the stretch.
Indiana cut the lead to eight, 70-62, with four minutes to play in the third quarter off a Harry Marshall drove coast to coast for the lay-in.
MVP of the championship series, Jerice Crouch, stopped the momentum with a runner in the lane followed by baskets by Aaron Williams and Doug Herring.
“I wanted to take it upon myself to be aggressive, get in the lane and finish,” Crouch said.
RazorSharks Melvin Council jump-started the offense in the early going, scoring 14 points and making all five of his shots in the first quarter. Three of the shots made by Council were from behind the arc, which helped give Rochester a 24-10 lead with six minutes left in the first.
The Diesels wouldn’t go away as Jermaine Dearman made a nice low post finish to cut the lead to nine, 33-24, after one quarter of play.
In the second quarter the RazorSharks started to pull away, led by their effort on the defensive end, causing eight first half turnovers which led to easy transition baskets. Council was able to finish the two-handed slam off a steal, and Ryan Anderson followed with a deep pull up three off a steal from Chaz Crawford. This gave Rochester a 44-31 lead midway through the second quarter.
Aaron Williams brought the Blue Cross Arena to its feet with a dunk off a no look pass from Anderson. Crouch, off a steal, found Reggie Stallings in transition who would finish the lay-in, giving the Sharks’ a 50-35 with 3:15 remaining in the half.
Indiana’s Daniel Artest used his body to gain position down low and finish the lay-up, but Williams would answer for the RazorSharks with back to back put backs giving Rochester a 58-41 at the break.
“I wasn’t here all year, but to come in and help these guys get to this point its great,” Crouch said.
The Diesels were led by Marshall who had a team high 22 points followed by Dearman’s 13. Dearman came into tonight’s game averaging 26.6 points per game in the series leading up to tonight.
The RazorSharks stepped it up defensively causing 16 turnovers which limited Indiana’s offense to just 16 points in the fourth quarter.
“We played hard but today just wasn’t our day,” Diesels head coach Aaron Hogg said. “We cut the lead to single digits, but we had a couple bad momentum plays and had to many turnovers.”
Rochester was led by Council’s 24 points and Crouch’s 17 points and eight assists.
This is Crouch’s 4th championship with Rochester and Council’s 3rd championship with the organization.
After finishing as the league’s runner up the past two seasons, tonight marked the end of Rochester’s redemption season as they are again the class of the Premier Basketball League.