CHARLESTOWN - Valley Forge Christian College has served as the host team and venue for its men’s basketball league that has been in existence for 13 years.
However, as a team, VFCC had never advanced to the league finals in the playoffs until 2013. This year Mishock Physical Therapy sponsored the VFCC ballclub that was the third seed for the playoffs but upset nine-time league champion and No. 1 seed Bella Napoli Pizzeria, 99-80, July 31 at The Pit to claim the league diadem.
“We really added a couple players through alumni and recruiting,” said Mishock forward Mike Stum, who contributed 19 points in the victory. “We had energy collectively and we played well as a team.”
Southpaw guard Jerome Monroe topped Mishock in scoring with 28 points, including five 3-point field goals. Latrell Alford had 21, Kevin Mack 15, James Fulton 10 and Jean LeBlanc six with a pair of treys.
Mishock held a 52-38 halftime advantage.
Bella Napoli Pizzeria got 20 points from loop scoring leader Tai Crutchfield and 19 from Spring-Ford product Chris Talley. Phoenixville Area High School graduates Jon Hogga and Mike Gary each canned 15, point guard Matt Kurtz, another Spring-Ford grad, seven and Andrew Zale four.
“The key was our defense,” said Stum. “We got stops. When they hit two or three baskets, we ended up coming back and extended our lead.”
Mishock opened a 15-2 lead with 15:05 left in the first half with Stum scoring five points and assisting on a three-point play by Fulton. Monroe tallied 16 first-half points, including a last-second basket to conclude the first half.
Bella Napoli trimmed the lead to 61-51 with 15:01 showing in the second half as Gary nailed a jump shot from the top of the key off a pass from Kurtz and Gary sank a trey from the left wing. Talley buried a jumper from the right corner that led to a Mishock timeout.
Kurtz made a triple from the right wing at 14:03, but Mishock went on a 7-0 run to keep control of the contest at 68-54 with 12:59 showing. Monroe dropped home a trey from the right baseline, Alford made two free throws and Monroe converted a steal into a layup at the other end of the floor.
Bella Napoli Pizzeria 65, Dave Hoffman’s Auto Repair, Inc. 40: Leading No. 1 seed Bellan Napoli to its quarterfinal win was Tyler McGrath, who ended up with a game-high 23 points. Tai Crutchfield followed up with 16 markers. In the loss, Dave Hoffman’s Matt King finished with 19 and Jon Crabtree had 10 for the No. 8 seed.
Bistro on Bridge 70, Chris Meszaros of Countryside Realty 59: Will Furey paced No. 4 Bistro on Bridge with 18 points. Teammates Justyn Mitchell, Nick Brundage and Kevin McGarvey each ended the night with 11. No. 5 Countryside Realty was led by captain Andrew Meszaros, who finished with 17. Nick Quigley and Corey Gordon added 14 apiece.
Metro Med, Inc. 65, Crown Trophy 49: Mike Sturdyivant, Jose Ortiz and Lou Dominique led No. 2 seed Metro Med with 12 points each. No. 7 Crown Trophy got 19 points from Patrick McGee, 14 from Demetrius Muse and 12 from Marcus Turner.
Mishock Physical Therapy 57, Phoenixville Federal Bank and Trust 55: VFCC graduate Mike Stum led all scores with 20 points as No. 3 Mishock moved into the semifinal round for the first time in three seasons. Kevin Mack and Jerome Monroe each added 10 points in the victory. No. 6 Phoenixville Federal got 18 from captain Mike Handley and 15 from TJ Klinger.
Bella Napoli Pizzeria 70, Bistro on Bridge 53: Jon Hogga led all scorers for Bella Napoli with 25 points, followed by Tai Crutchfield (20) and Mike Gary (12). Jimmy Connolly (16), Sean Butkus (15) and Mike Furey (13) paced Bistro on Bridge.
Mishock Physical Therapy 56, Metro Med, Inc. 45: Mishock held on for the upset win to advance to the finals for the first time in league history. Latrell Alford led Mishock PT with a game-high 21 points, followed by Mike Stum (14) and Kevin Mack (11). Lou Smith and Jose Ortiz each finished with 12 for Metro Med.