The Razorsharks are champions.
Rochester smothered Lake Michigan’s buzzer beater attempt and won 93-92 at Blue Cross Arena Sunday to sweep the PBL Championship Series 2-0.
Jerice Crouch made two free throws with 23 seconds left to give the Sharks a 93-91 lead.
The Admirals drew a foul, but made only one of two free throws. Rochester followed with a pair of misses, but Lake Michigan never got a potential winning shot off, despite having 15 seconds to take it.
Rochester trailed almost the entire second half, but Crouch and Corey Allmond hit three’s 30 seconds apart to put the Sharks in front 91-89 with 2:30 to play.
The Admirals hit one free throw to get within a point and then tied on a technical foul against Rochester coach Chris Iversen with 38 seconds left.
It was the sixth championship in team history and a PBL first third in a row.
Iversen has been a part of all six titles. In fact, he’s been a part of every Razorsharks season.
He’s been an intern, director of gameday operations, vice-president of basketball ops, general manager and assistant coach.
He was promoted to head coach exactly three months ago and four games into the season.
“He’s got six of them (championships), so he knows what it takes,” Allmond said. “He’s seen millions of players come through here. He knew what it took to get us there. That was the right guy for the top organization guys and front office to make that call.”
Iversen admitted to feeling the pressure of taking over a team that finds second place unacceptable.
“To win a few games is ok, but it’s not good enough. Good enough around here isn’t gonna cut it,” Iversen said. “We need to be better and winning is it.”
“To see us grow from when I first got here, from them changing coaches and everything… to still put a banner up, it’s a testament to this organization,” Allmond added.
Crouch is also celebrating his sixth championship in Rochester and he’s not ready to stop.
“Winning never gets old, man,” Crouch said. “To be a part of six championships with this organization, it’s tremendous. I’m just happy and it’s a blessing.”
Crouch led the Sharks with 26 points. Allmond had 17. Rochester native and Wilson grad Melvin Council was named series MVP.
The Razorsharks played in only five games decided by less than ten points, winning four. Two were the two championship finals games against Lake Michigan.
“This game had absolutely everything a basketball game could have in it,” Iversen said.
“That shows you what kind of fight we have in these guys,” Council said. “To come back in a tough championship game like that, it shows the courage and hard work and dedication that we did.”
“We don’t want a close game, but when you can have a close game like this and it really shows the testament of your team, as a player, you can’t ask for nothing more,” Allmond said. “That’s what you want. You want to be in a thriller like that where I got to hit a big shot to put us over the top.”
Over the top, for a sixth time.