Crush Sports Cafe wins Woznick basketball title

Crush Sports Cafe defeated top-seeded Pop’s Restaurant, 47-42 in overtime, to capture the Ken Woznick Memorial Post Season Men’s Basketball Playoff Championship at the Parsons Complex on May 7.

“We’ve played together for two or three years now,” Crush player/coach Matt Cook said. “One of the great things about Pop’s is they play together. They all played together in high school, they’re fundamentally sound and they know each other... Now we have two, three years under our belt. Now we are finally playing like a team, no more selfish basketball... I couldn’t be prouder of them.”

Crush guard Danny Powell poured in 19 points, all coming in the second half and overtime, to help Crush rally back from a 10-point second-half deficit and win its first Milford men’s league championship.

Powell’s driving layup was the only basket of the three-minute overtime, but Powell and Tristian Shields combined to make 5-of-6 foul shots to secure the victory for second-seeded Crush.

“We had the momentum,” Powell said. “It was key for us to score first to keep that momentum.”

Shields chipped in with 10 points, while Zach Davidson added eight and Matt Binder six. For Pop’s Restaurant, Matt Woods scored a team-high 13 points, Fred Payen added nine and Matt Mezick eight.

Pop’s led 26-19 at the half — with Kumail Zar knocking down a 3-pointer from beyond NBA range at the buzzer.

But, the second half was an offensive struggle for the regular-season champions as it made just three field goals over the next 23 minutes.

Woods sank a 3-pointer from the top of the key to give Pop’s its largest lead of the game, 33-23, with 15:14 left in the second half.

Binder answered with layup underneath and Payen’s runner restored the 10-point edge with 13:20 remaining in regulation.
Powell’s 3-pointer from the left wing tied the game at 37 at the 3:37 mark, capping a 14-4 Crush run.

“Danny took control,” Cook said. “That’s what you want out of your star point guard.”

Payen hit a pair of free throws to provide a two-point Pop’s cushion with 2:42 left, but Shield’s drove the lane for a basket to tie it up at 39.

That was the final field goal of regulation, as Zar hit the front end of a one-and-one with a minute left. After empty possessions for both teams, Shields drew a foul with 11 seconds left. He missed the first but made the second to force the three-minute overtime.

Pop’s made just 9-of-19 foul shots in the second half and overtime, while Crush was 8-of-12.

After Powell took it inside for a 42-40 Crush edge 15 seconds into overtime, Pop’s faced its second deficit of the game. The first came when it trailed 4-2 early in the first half.

Crush never looked back, cruising to its first ever Woznick playoff title.

“Playing last year we lost early,” said Powell, who as an assistant coach helped guide Fairfield Prep to state basketball title this winter. “We clicked at the right time this year and had a good streak going.”

Crush Sports Cafe team members include: Matt Cook, Billy Buckman, Matt Binder, Mike Binder, Matt Ramos, Brian Roach, Danny Powell, Tristian Shields, Tim Cook, Zach Davidson, Kevin Blake and Solomon Bramble.

Tier 2 title

In the Tier 2 Championship Game, Subway beat Rap’s Heating and Plumbing, 62-48.