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DIANE LEAGUE: Week 1 Recap: Muuvers Play Big, Jackson O’Brien Shows Out, and Novas Struggle Early

Written by Ben Ciuffetelli

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Muuvers Pose a Threat: MUUVS Muuvers are looking scary inside the paint, face little (get it?) competition…

Jackson O’Brien Supremacy: Phenomenal play from the Tier One superstar situates his team high in the rankings…

NSDC Novas Seem Lost: A team led by 6’7” Aiden Kiy struggles out the gate…

Week 1 Recap

Muuvers Dominate Stingers in a Gritty Early-Game Showdown: 40-32

The MUUVS Muuvers (1-1) came out strong against the SportsYou Stingers, winning decisively against Tier 1 talent Damien Bennett and outright menace Max Leonard in a well-fought game. For the Stingers and any Stingers fans, there was little to worry about other than player availability. Despite the absence of the team’s Tier 2 and Tier 4 players, the group remained competitive largely due to Bennett’s 28 point, 8 rebound, 2 block, and 2 steal performance that included plays such as this monster block on 6’3” Ben Ciuffetelli, the use of a fluid jumper from deep, or the assist of a tight handle on a crafty finish. Long story short, assuming the team gains back players, the Stingers have little to worry about.

The Muuvers came out of the gate looking stellar in their first game of the season. A 32-point, 17-rebound (!) performance from talented big man Anthony Follet combined with a single-game league-high 48 rebounds for the Muuvers is a recipe for success in any circumstance, but is especially appreciated against a talent like Bennett. The height of this team (avg. of 6’2”) will likely create matchup nightmares for the rest of the season, especially once the rust wears off of the Tier 2 star Robbie Mohring.

The Barbour Hooping Handymen Handle the Regatta Raptors: 40-30

The Barbour Hooping Handymen (2-0) contained the offense of the Regatta Raptors to become one of two teams to remain undefeated after the first day of play. The dual-headed threat of Tier 1 star Jackson O’Brien and Tier 2 counterpart Preston Appel would combine for 40 points, 17 rebounds, 7 assists, and 3 steals in this contest, cementing them as the best one-two punch the league currently has to offer. Whether it be the elite shot creation of Appel or the dominating, yet versatile playstyle of O’Brien, defenses seem to have no answer for the team as a whole. Special shoutout to Luke Birong, as well, who has appeared to be the top Tier 3 player through Week 1.

As for the Raptors, there should be optimism abound in any conversation surrounding this group. Tier 1 Anthony Stennet and Tier 2 Ian Alper seem to be a duo to rival most any (excluding O’Brien and Appel) in the league, for the slashing ability of Stennet when paired with the elite shooting of Alper will likely develop into an incurable mixture of talent for opposing defenses. While the team coordination has seemed a bit iffy at points, the sheer talent level of the roster elevates them to being one of the most interesting teams in the league, and one of the most threatening once their kinks are ironed out.

The Barbour Hooping Handymen Torch the NSDC Novas: 44-18

The Barbour Hooping Handymen controlled the pace against the NSDC Novas for the majority of the contest. Remember how the dynamic duo of O’Brien and Appel decimated the Raptors? Well, consider your bar raised. The tandem combined for 38 points, 22 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 block, and 2 steals in this one, doing so in their standard fashion. The unique skill set of O’Brien was in full display, with him throwing down dunk after dunk while continuing to stretch the floor. As for Appel, the elite guard skills remained, allowing O’Brien to work his magic throughout the court.

As for the NSDC Novas, their performance left much to be desired. They are currently ranked 6th in the league after Week 1, largely due to inconsistent play. Between Tier 1 Aiden Kiy and Tier 2 Alfrid Palagonia, the only thing that has remained constant through their first two games has been the end result. Marred by high numbers of turnovers, poor shot selection, and a lack of assertiveness by their Tier 3 and 4 players, the Novas will have to devise a stronger strategy if they wish to be contenders come Week 4, or frankly, if they wish to make the playoffs at all. The talent remains for the 6’7” giant and the crafty guard, but something must change in their system if they wish to achieve anything in this ultra-talented league.

The CWA Vikings Forge On

Despite their lack of appearances on Diane League coverage, the CWA Vikings have emerged as the team to beat. The artistry of Tier 2 sharpshooter Kyle Krammer has elevated the Vikings to 1st Place amongst the Diane League standings, setting an early precedent of the possible hierarchy to exist in later weeks, and their spot atop the pile.

Signing Off

That’s all for the Diane League’s Week 1 Recap! An incredible start to the league will precede only better moments in the coming weeks, so make sure to stay tuned to the Diane Fund’s summary of events.

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