Eight screaming fans were on hand for the biggest upset of the B-league intramural playoffs thus far as 11th-seeded WetNation upset the sixth-seeded Cartel. The taps never ran dry on WetNation, as they were able to sustain their hot start throughout the game. Point guard Adam Taras had his best game of the season, and was the spark plug to start the game scoring 14 of his game-high 19 points in the first half.
After the game, team captain Reuben Rothstein applauded Taras’ efforts.
“He’s been dreaming about this for a long time. All the long hours he works on his jump shot and at the gym truly paid off.”
For the Cartel, the loss was quite difficult to handle. Having beaten WetNation twice during the regular season, it seemed as though the Cartel were expecting to waltz their way to an easy win.
Point guard, and captain, John Rotchtin acted with class even after the defeat.
“Looking up in the stands and seeing the three Cartel fans who came out to support us, I just had a nervous feeling in my gut. At the end of the day, we missed a major opportunity to make a run in the tournament, and even worse, we let down our fans.”
WetNation shooting guard, Steven Lampert, wasn’t surprised with the result.
“I knew we had it in us. We played our game and we came away with the victory. As my father once said to me, ‘never say never.’ I think we justified that saying tonight.”
It was clear that the Cartel was the more athletic team, as Marshall Slipp and Ross Burst are the catalysts for their fast break offence. However, they were unable to translate that into steady points, and their normally high turnover defence did not create the transition opportunities they are used to seeing.
With nearly six minutes left in the game, it seemed that the Cartel were finally making a push and narrowed the lead to five points. Yet, repeated missed shots from in close doomed the Cartel to an early exit. Cartel fans were dejected as they left Love Competition Hall, but were proud of their team nonetheless.
Cartel superfan Jeremy Schipper summed up the emotions of the fans.
“While we are definitely disappointed right now, we are so proud of what our boys accomplished on and off the court. They are an integral part of the community and we know they will come back strong next year.”
While WetNation’s Elite Eight matchup was scheduled for the next day, they did not hold back in their postgame celebrations. Several team members were seen quite intoxicated at local clubs and bars. It was a joyous night for the squad, as, in classic WetNation style, the drinks were flowing. Players were signing autographs, taking pictures, and interacting with fans throughout the night.
Power forward Ari Newman commented on the atmosphere.
“It felt like we had won it all. It was a great night for our team, the program, and our fans. It was great to celebrate with our followers and feed off their energy.”
Alas, it seems like they may have celebrated a little too hard. WetNation came out flat the next day in their Elite Eight matchup against the Beer Hawks and lost by 20 points.
Even though their season ended, the statement victory against the Cartel will be one that the players, and this program, will always remember.