2019 Rec Playoffs


The rec basketball playoffs… what a time to be alive for Katonah-Lewisboro school district student athletes. Let me start by telling you a bit about rec basketball. Rec is a league for athletes looking to have a lot of fun. Whether it is spending time with your friends, playing the sport you love, or just getting in a workout, rec is the place for anyone. The skill level ranges from complete and utter amature, to advanced varsity level.

At the start of each rec season a draft occurs between all the coaches, recruiting the best team they can to ultimately win a championship. Each coach selects a player in each round, and so on. “The teams usually end up pretty even” said Mike Giardina when asked how the draft usually goes down.

I’ve been following Mike’s team for most of the playoffs. His season had a tumultuous beginning of the playoffs, with his center getting hurt. He said “It all went down hill when we lost our big man.” But things started to look up for Yellow in the semi finals…

The semi final game between Green and Yellow was close all the way through. The Green team put up a brutal fight as Mike’s team strived to keep up. Truman Dunn continued to score for the Green team keeping them in the game. It came down to the wire in the end. Mike’s team was down two points with five seconds left in the second half. Luke Mercer drove up the court and passed to Mike. He took two dribbles, stepped back, his defender lost his footing and fell, and Mike nailed a three pointer to give his team the win with three seconds left on the clock. That was it. Mike lead his team to the championship finishing the game with ten points. But what really mattered was the play in the final five seconds. “I don’t even know how to describe it. All I know is I got the job done and did what I needed to do for my team,” Mike said, when asked about his buzzer beater.

On another note, Evan Schwartz also has a big scoring day. Evan is one of the amateurs just starting out at basketball, but he clutched up and had a whopping 12 points in the semis. For team Blue and Red, it was not such a great day. They ended up having to play 4 on 4 due to lack of players. Two players got technicals after losing their cool during the semi final game. Red game out on top to advance to the championship game.

Luke Mercer, the star point guard of the yellow team, also played a great game, scoring 23 points to contribute to the playoff win. Luke is a strong ball handler and can finish under the basket. I didn’t get a chance to speak to Luke after the game but I know he was content with his debut.

So now yellow team was off to the championship… Can Luke Mercer and Mike Giardina lead this team to victory in an exasperating underdog finish? Or will Joey Pink lead his Red team to a rec championship?…

The whistle blows and the championship game is underway between the Yellow and Red team. Yellow wins the tip off and Mercer scores a layup right off the bat. Joey Pink fires right back with a steal and layup for team Red. From the opening minute, everybody in the crowded stands could tell from the start this would be an intense game. The two teams battled it out all throughout the game. Yellow would score, and Red would be right back at them with a bucket.

It is now the end of the second half, and the Yellow team is up by five. It’s not looking too good for the Red team down by five with two minutes on the clock. There is always a chance though. The clock is ticking as the Red team fights to get back the five points with 30 seconds left on the clock. The clocked slowly dwindled down and as the buzzer sounded… the Yellow team came out victorious!

It’s all over. The rec season is finally complete and Luke Mercer and Mike Giardina finish the season with a 40-35 win over Joey Pink and the Red team.

I had a chance to speak with Mike again after the championship win. “What was the key to your success this season, Mike?” “Practice, and hard work, the other teams just didn’t want it as much as we did, it all comes down to who wants it the most, and we certainly did,” stated Mike after the championship win.

As the rec season finished up, the suspense was over. The elite competitive nature of rec basketball proved me wrong about it all being just for fun. Rec is true, competitive basketball at its best. I’m sad to see the rec season go, but I am excited to see what the spring rec league will hold for another exciting season.