The beginning of November started in an exciting way for XvsX Sports with two very competitive, nail-biting basketball games in the valley!

The lights were an NBA “80s dimmed yellow” at the Van Nuys YMCA in a packed house as both teams were introduced to the fans in the bleachers. These games were higher stakes “Balloon Games” – otherwise known as money games – with all four teams were competing for the cash award, but at the end of the day it was really about the love of the game and the desire to win.

For the first basketball game, the ladies held down the court as always. This competition started off with the undefeated Team Ariel in the black n red VS Team Zenith in a flashy flamingo pink.

Everyone in the building knew that Ariel was looking to push the pace, but could anyone stop her and the great basketball team she has? Ariel, aka @MermaidMulaa, could get anywhere on the court with her fast skills as the leading guard but after a great performance last week for Team Ariel, the game started off slow. Ariel’s team collectively missed some key opportunities and tried to move the basketball too fast, resulting in some missed layups and silly and unnecessary turnovers.

Both teams looked nervous, starting off hesitant and unsure, however the game would quickly pick up and move into a very fast paced event. This particular VERSUS event turned into a 3 point contest with both teams getting hot throughout the game. Ms Jackson for team Zenith was cutting in and out of the defensive, dazzling with her footwork and stunning pink and white sneakers. Ms Robinson was also making great plays finding back cuts throughout the game. Team Ariel’s Ashley Samson @ashleysamson was ON FIRE, making it rain with 3 point shots, going 3-4 at a certain point and almost literally taking the life out of Team Zenith.  Ariel was finding everyone with her aqua Nikes on the floor, facilitating ball flow, defense, hitting her own shots. Team Ariel is undefeated for a reason and that reason was good ball movement and finding the open player. And ultimately, Team Ariel won the money game and came out Undefeated for the women’s VS games that have truly been a highlight for XvsX Sports’ women’s Los Angeles basketball games.  Ariel Temple @mermaidmulaa, Ashley Samson @ashleysamson, Shakeena Benton @keenasworld, Chantal Dooley @sungaudess, Jayda Bovero @miss_bovero, Charmaine Nelson @buildwith_char and Destiny Melton @destiny_antionette looked like the young Golden State Warriors making the 3 point shots and fast footwork look easy. Congratulations to both teams and our still undefeated Team Ariel.

XvsX Sports player Ivan

The second game was even more of a thriller. You could literally feel the energy of anticipation rising up from the floor of the basketball court while the teams got ready for this contest. This second match up, which was also a Balloon Game, featured Team Ivan wearing black VS the undefeated Team Hezi God wearing white.

This basketball game was filled with intensity, exciting dunks, some fundamental step backs, Euro steps, Russel Westbrook-style fast breaks and passionate plays in the first stretch. The referee had some missed/bad calls that had the crowd and some of the players on edge.

Several of the players brought strong and physical basketball to this fight, making shots and creating easy jumpers for the rest of the team. Team Hezi God @thehezigod had the momentum during the 3rd quarter and was really hooping with his skills, ball handling and overall swagger on the basketball court.

He was smooth like Jalen Green this week, you couldn’t guard him! What an event!

Marcus Bell @godsgift2409 on Team Hezi really set the atmosphere on the court and had a great double pump dunk.

Both teams held leads in the final 5 minutes and it was a back and forth battle for the whole 4th quarter. This game gave us the excitement we could have only wished for, and the showdown was like watching a movie in Hollywood. The competition was a hard-fought game and even went into overtime with an epic buzzer beating 3-pointer from Brandon Wade @bodybywadeb, Team Ivan, that tied the game, bringing the competition into overtime and had the entire YMCA gym on the edge of their seats. In overtime the basketball game kept going up and down and no one could guess which team would win.  The game was intense!

When the game is on the line, teams can get chippy at the end of the game and lose focus.

Brandon Wade, who hit the game tying buzzer beater

It became a free throw contest towards the end of the game.

Great game going into the late night here in Van Nuys. Team Hezigod got the win at the end of the night and his whole team celebrated the victory and left fans with a battle to remember. 

Hezi going for the bucket with Juice on defense

Metta got the chance to interview some of the key players after the games and got real connections with some of the superstars in our XvsX Sports basketball league.

Tune in next week as our sponsors, fans and XvsX family take on another basketball journey here in the valley.