Summer League basketball is winding down in the Omaha Metro area. The Metro Summer Basketball League tournament concludes Thursday night at the Omaha Sports Academy, featuring four teams that could walk away league champs.
Creighton has little representation in tonight’s semifinals. Among the final four teams, only current walk-on Ross Ferarrini and grad Brody Deren remain. Meanwhile, schools such as Bellevue University and Nebraska-Omaha are represented well in the remaining field.
The semifinals start at 6:00 p.m. We hope to see you there!
6:00 p.m. (Court 1) #1 UNO Alumni vs. #4 Zurlo’s Pizza
Both of these higher ranked teams made their way through their first two round games last week but in different ways.
UNO Alumni played solid like they have all summer, extended their lead to about 10, and kept their opponents from making a comeback. Last week the UNO Alumni received a little help from Minnesota Timberwolf Anthony Tolliver, but they are more than capable of playing without the extra help. This team has been together now for a couple of years and all are UNO graduates except for Deren.
Zurlo’s Pizza had a little different path. The team featuring the Ferarrini brothers (Steven and Ross) along with Benny Valentine and former Husker Bruce Chubick ran into some challenges last week. They had to hold off a veteran Chris Carder Agency squad and then come back from being 20 points down in the second half to knock off the Creighton alumni team of Paragas Law. Zurlo’s has its own set of veteran players including former Hastings College star Chad Spady and former Nebraska-Kearney player Scott Abels.
With summer league basketball not being known for defense, UNO Alumni has the edge scoring almost 86 points a game while Zurlo’s scores a little over 83 points a game. Watch for this one to be pretty close.
6:00 p.m. (Court 4) #3 Bellevue University vs. #10 Bellevue Alumni
A large contingent of Bruin fans should show up for this one, as the current Bellevue University roster takes on a bunch of former Bruins for a chance to play for a championship.
Bellevue University has quietly played some good basketball this summer, losing their only game on a last second shot. But their trip through the tournament has been one of determination and desire for respect. Jelani Johnson, James Parrott, and Ousseynou Diop have been carrying this team likely enticing more casual fans to make a trip down to Bellevue later this winter to see the Bruins in action. They easily took out Leach Camper Sales in the first round 84-68, and beat Walentine O’Toole McQuillan & Gordon 99-73 in the quarterfinals. The games were not even close.
The Bellevue Alumni have been on a similar mission. In their case they started last week as the #10 seed, but then blew through the EQ School of Hair 106-79 and the #2 seed John Higgins Weatherguard 97-79. Their summer season had a lot of ups and downs. After starting 0-2 and then getting their first win in week three, they gave up a late 8-point lead in the final 27 seconds to lose by 2 to Paragas Law in week four. Since then, they have outscored their opponents in the last three games 303-243 which brought them to Thursday’s semifinal. Hannibal Cofield and last season’s Bellevue Male Athlete of the Year Avery Tyler lead the way for this team of former Bruins.
If it comes to a scoring contest, the Bellevue University team could be in trouble, but a defensive battle may take the younger Bruins to the title game. Either way, some form of Bellevue basketball will be in the finals.
7:00 p.m. (Court 1)
None of the final four teams have played each other this summer, so whoever makes it to the final game does not have an advantage of playing each other.
Prediction: Expect to see a cross-town rivalry as the UNO Alumni face Bellevue University in the finals.