The RCBL opened its 2009 season Monday at the Boys & Girls Club leading off with a reunion of the two teams that reached the finals of last year’s playoffs, the Bulls and Lakers.
The Bulls, who won the best two of three series last April, started where they left off by besting the Lakers, 91-79.
Ten Bulls showed up for the game and all contributed to the win. Ryan Murtha had the team-high 25 points including five treys. Sam Berlow (14) and Jay O’Donnell (13) also reached twin columns. O’Donnell and Clark Agnew led the Bulls in rebounds.
Only six Lakers reported for duty. Jeff Label’s 26-point effort was the game and team high. Heath Estrella finished with 20 and John Healy, the league’s senior citizen, 16. Rebounders Estrella (16), Karl Kallinich (14) and Healy (10) provided board strength.
Although the final score was not that close, the game itself had a bit of the seesaw to it. The Bulls led after the first 12-minute period, 21-18, and at the half they were up 46-41.
The Lakers began the third quarter running off 21 points to the Bulls seven and took a 62-53 lead. At the end of the quarter the Lakers were still – but barely – ahead, 69-68.
In the final frame the Bulls made short work of the fatigued Lakers, scoring 15 unanswered points and coasting to the 91-79 conclusion.
The second game pitted the Heat against the Warriors, who won by 17, 106-89. The first quarter was close enough: Warriors 27-Heat 24. The Warriors followed Matt Rivers to the hoop and went ahead 43-30, only to see their lead evaporate as the Heat warmed to the task and all but evened the score, 44-45. But the Warriors recovered and led by 10 at the break, 54-44.
The Warriors lengthened their advantage in the third period, 86-67 and finished in comfort, 106-89.
Warriors in double digits were Matt Rivers (26), Brandt Silvia (20), Jade Cash (19), Patrick Rolston (15), and Monte Bizzarro (10).
Heat point leaders were Sterling Bishop (25), Damon Mello (17), Nick Viera (12), Caleb Costas (11), Jason Dyer (10).
Wearing striped shirts for the occasion were Greg Rollins, Pete Lambos, and Richie Roy.
Next Monday the Knicks take on the Warriors at 6:15 and the Bulls face the Heat at 7:45. The Lakers have a bye.