Ty McGee (Denver, Colo.) returned from injury to propel the Wrath to much-needed wins over the Lava (66-61) and Gryphons (70-60) on Friday afternoon, amassing 65 points, 11 assists, nine loose ball recoveries and seven hits in the process. The Wrath improved to 5-3 and jumped the Slashers (5-4) for the third spot in the standings. The Gryphons beat the Rumble, 60-57, in the season’s first overtime to make their second Main Event of the season. KyShawn Jones (Danville, Va.) was the Gryphons’ heartbeat, piling up 66 points and 14 loose ball recoveries in their two contests. For the first session this season all three games were decided by 10 points or fewer.
Game 1 – Gryphons 60, Rumble 57 (Overtime)
In a highly-entertaining battle between 1-4 teams, the Gryphons and Rumble needed the season’s first overtime to decide the outcome. The Gryphons, who were 6.5-point favorites according to Circa Sports, escaped with a 60-57 victory when Justin Holmes (Roseville, Calif.) rejected Tamyrik Fields’ Face Off attempt and then dunked over Fields (Augusta, Ga.) when it was his turn on offense. Holmes is now a perfect 9-for-9 on offensive Face Offs and 4-for-5 on defense. Rumble handler Richard Washington’s fourth 4-pointer of the contest evened the score at 57 with 15 seconds remaining, sending the game to OT. KyShawn Jones was a force for the Gryphons, racking up 29 points along with nine loose ball recoveries. Washington (Williamsburg, Va.) finished with a personal-best 19 points while Kaylon Tippins-Hill (Fort Worth, Tex.) added 18. Fields contributed eight points and 10 stops. Gryphons stopper Connor Hollenbeck (Ontario, N.Y.) exited the game in the first half with an ankle injury and did not play the rest of the session.
Game 2 – Wrath 66, Lava 61
A healthy Ty McGee made all the difference in the world for the injury-riddled Wrath, who escaped with a 66-61 victory over the winless Lava, narrowly covering the 2.5-point spread. With McGee, the league’s top scorer, in concussion protocol last week, the Wrath lost two games. In his return against the Lava, he posted a game-high 34 points and dished out four assists as the Wrath improved to 4-3. The Lava, who were missing star gunner Bryce Moragne (ankle), have lost all their five games this season by five or fewer points. They made things interesting at the end when a Paxton Henry (Prescott, Ariz.) dunk cut the Wrath’s lead to three points (60-57) with 15 seconds left. But a pair of successful offensive Face Offs in the closing seconds by the Wrath put the game on ice. The Lava were led by Josh Shannon (Louisville, Ky.), who had a team-high 19 points, and Faysal Shafaat (Orlando, Fla.), who was credited with 11 rejections.
Main Event – Wrath 70, Gryphons 60
In the Main Event, the Wrath’s Ty McGee and Gryphons’ KyShawn Jones went dunk-for-dunk for much of the contest. While Jones outscored McGee 37 points to 31, it was the Wrath that emerged with a 70-60 victory, showing they won’t go away quietly despite a depleted roster. With 40 seconds left, a slam by Jones got the Gryphons within three points but Darion Slade, who finished with 19 points, put the game away with a rim-rattler of his own on the following possession. In addition to his third game with 30-plus points this season, McGee added seven assists, five hits and five LBRs. With Wrath stopper Shawn Stith (ankle) sidelined, Trey Landers (Dayton, Ohio) did the dirty work, grabbing nine LBRs and denying six shop attempts. Gryphons backup stopper Matt Wilkerson (Citra, Fla.) helped keep his squad close, making a 12 stops, tying for the fourth-most in a game this year.
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