2015 FBA Season/15.05.11/[email protected]/Capsule

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Was there ever a more subterranean canine than the Hawaii Kahunas? Sneaking into the playoffs on the very last day of the regular season, with a win that cost them one of their best players (Alphonse Norwich IV (Street Rat, F))? Only to face the winningest team in the entire league in the first round?

The Kahunas and the Spectrums could hardly be any more different. The Spectrums are 1 mustelid and 2 felids away from violating the Atwood Rule; the Kahunas have 3 mustelids and no more than 1 of any other species family. The Spectrums are stacked with proven veteran talent; the Kahunas have eight players with two or fewer full seasons of experience. The Spectrums are regimented and disciplined; the Kahunas bicker and tease each other constantly over Tweeter.

As much as the Hawaiian fans love their young franchise, and as sunny as their islands are, one could hardly forgive them for clouds of pessimism. It seems all but given that the Spectrums will advance to the second round. “Honestly, I’ll consider the Kahunas successful if the series ends 4-1,” said Kahunas fan Henry Arlow (hyena) outside E Komo Mai Arena on Monday evening before Game 3.

But with the series shifting venue from Santa Ana to Honolulu, and the promised return of team captain Gerry Cross (Mink, F/C), Game 3 seemed to be the Kahunas’ best chance yet to prevent the sweep.

Meanwhile, rumors circulated that 15 large sausage pizzas were delivered to the Spectrums’ hotel a few hours before game 3, a tongue-in-cheek ‘welcome to Hawaii’ to the all-male rainbow-hued team.

Unfortunately for the Kahunas, the catered dinner did nothing to slow the Spectrums down.

The Kahunas did not go down without a fight. Self-proclaimed “Emergency Backup Alfie” Tanya Feckle (Gerenuk, F/G) has stepped up to the role of starter with vigor, earning the title of “Big Kahuna” in both of the series’ first two games, and the sharp-witted antelope continued her dominance over her opposite, Ain Iannizzi (Cougar, F), twice stripping the ball right from his paws. Sopohomore center Scoonie Barrett (Otter, F/C) meanwhile took over the title of Big Kahuna as the only player on either team to break the 20 point mark and outrebounding 2013 Defensive Player of the Year Justin Destrier (Stallion, C) by one. Teo Masalia (Black Panther, G), the only veteran on the Kahunas’ starting line, and troubled rookie Julian Cross-Kiraly (Saluki, G) each also had strong performances, both scoring in double digits.

The Spectrums nevertheless dominated the first half, jumping to a twelve point lead by halftime. Stephan Soro (Red Fox, G) led the visitors in points, sinking shot after shot from his stylish white paws, and backed up by the triple feline threat of Iannizzi, L.V. McDyess (Black Panther, G), and Daius Aurelias (Lion, F/C). Where the Spectrums really shone, however, was in their depth. The Spectrums bench and reserve outscored their Hawaiian counterparts by 36 to 25.

Strong bench performances by Aurora Goldshine (Yellow Cobra, G) and Charles Burgh (Polar Bear, C) helped the Kahunas outscore the Spectrums by eight in the second half, but when the final buzzer sounded the hometown crowd was sent away disappointed.

The Santa Ana Spectrums now lead the series three games to none and have pushed the Hawaii Kahunas to the very brink of elimination. Game 4 is Wednesday night in Honolulu.

-S. St. James


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