OJ played NF in the IM Basketball Championship on Tuesday May 4th, 2010. The event was attended by 40 members of NF and 15 members of NJ, including die-hard basketball fan, Professor Tom Nicholas. In an HBS Instant Classic, defending champions OJ, led by Co-Captains, Nii Amaah Ofosu-Amaah and Mike Derse, overcame a talented NF team. NF commenced the game shooting well and led early in the first five minutes 10-4. The OJ Lions came roaring back lead by solid defense from Larry Estrada and Lief Haniford, offensive rebounds from Gordon Radney, who handled all matters within the paint, strong inside play by Peter Baldwin, and 8 big points from Phil Marxen. The score at half was OJ up 34-25.
After much anticipation from NF fans making their maiden appearance in the IM finals, the NF squad looked to turn the momentum. And turn the momentum they did indeed. Carlton “The Floor General” Weatherby, exposed OJ’s porous defense with his penetration and multiple assists to Andrew “Why Not” Holmes to keep NF close to OJ as regulation came close to an end. However, it was Dan “Majerle” Blumenthal who stole the show in regulation hitting a three-pointer off the glass to tie the game at 68 with 19 seconds left. OJ had one last chance, Ofosu-Amaah and Derse ran a screen and roll into a play that resulted in 2 shots for Ofosu-Amaah with 2 seconds left. The Co-Captain who had helped lead the team to their first championship last year came up short on both free throws, the 1st in-and-out, the 2nd, falling short. Overtime!
It was all NF! NF stormed out to a 75-68 lead on a Weatherby 3-pointer, a Blumenthal 3-pointer, and a drawn foul. OJ would not go down without a fight. First Luke Long was able to draw a key foul inside the paint to move to 75-69. Ofosu-Amaah hit a three to narrow the gap to 3 points (75-72). With 21 seconds, OJ found themselves still down 3-points. Ofosu-Amaah and Derse again ran the screen and roll, this time Derse stepped up and drained a three-pointer with 6 seconds left to tie the game. Max de Groen found Holmes for a last second shot which unfortunately rimmed out. Overtime 2!
After a treacherous swing of events OJ and NF continued to battle. With 2 minutes left, OJ found themselves up 81-75 on the efforts of the seasoned co-captain, Mike Derse, who hit a three-pointer followed by a layup. NF would simply not die, Weatherby hit a contested three-pointer, next captain Max De Groen sunk a jump shot to put the score at 81-80. After two more possessions OJ scored four more points from Ofosu-Amaah and Baldwin layups, respectfully. OJ moved to a 85-80 lead with 34 seconds left. Two more free throws from Ofosu-Amaah sealed the deal for OJ. In a thrilling 87-80 victory, OJ defend the IM basketball title and is the first section in recent memory to repeat championships in the same sport, winning over Staff in 2009.
Note: The game was officiated by Mark Englen (OI) and Luke Owings (NJ).