Panther Hoops: CMWK takes the championship

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Calvin Prenkert, Staff Writer/Photographer

The 2018 Panther Hoops playoff tournament ended Sunday night with Ca$h Money White Kids being crowned champions. CMWK faced a shorthanded Air Jordan squad in the title game and emerged victorious, 64-56. This year’s playoffs was riddled with injuries and missing players, which created many of upsets. One of the upsets came in a final four matchup, with Air Jordan’s knocking out the championship favorite Semi-Pro. CMWK was missing their star player and MVP favorite Jackson Moore for the entire tournament run but had other players step up to pull of their impressive postseason run.

CMWK coaches, Wil Stockman and Anthony Leal, were ecstatic after the game. When asked if they were proud of their players, Leal said, “Oh yeah, very proud.”

Interim assistant coach Scott Grabowski was also very pleased with the team’s ability to step up during Moore’s absence. Things weren’t always easy for the coaching staff, especially when CMWK fired its head coach, Noah Jager, at the beginning of the season, but Stockman felt that the firing ultimately helped the team come together.

“It made our team better,” Stockman said.

CMWK forwards Charlie Abel and Alan Morris shined in the final games, with both actively rebounding and sharing some of the ball handling duties and scoring load that Moore had normally provided. Former sixth man of the year and current CMWK guard Giovanni Alicea felt that Morris stepped up for the team.

“Morris really filled the hole that (Moore) left,” Alicea said.

Guards Colton Bex and Alicea were also praised by their teammates for displaying their shot from behind the arc. Additionally, big man Nate Taylor brought consistency and a post presence that was vital to the win.

Abel was very happy to get the championship. “It feels fabulous,” Abel said. “‘I’m gonna celebrate with the boys.”

While the players celebrate and wait for the arrival of the coveted league champion sweatshirts, the organization and coaching staff will look to improve the team’s roster in the hopes of grabbing a second straight championship. The majority of the roster is set to return, and with a depleted league due to many players moving on to college rec. league ball next fall , CMWK looks to be the big threat for next season. Leal has his sights firmly set on next year.

“I’m guaranteeing a championship,” Leal said.