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National Dashball League: A Fictional Sport, A Fictional Future - 2024 Finals

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16 minutes ago, TargetToad said:

Off topic but I just realized an easy way for the 2025 Dashball League to stay at 3 sensible divisions, taking a page out of the 1992 Arena League Season

 

Northern: Philly, NY, Chicago, & Toronto

Southern: Orlando, Miami, Nashville, & Atlanta

Western: Cali, Texas, Seattle, & LA

Yeah, it'll almost certainly be either that layout or the one with four divisions you posted before. I like the 4-divisions-of-3 alignment better in a vacuum, but three-team divisions have caused problems and the consensus seems to be that having larger divisions makes things a lot less wonky.

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Nashville Fugitives vs California Sea Lions
Watching Game 1, you probably wouldn’t think it was between a team that hadn’t missed the postseason ever and the last remaining team to qualify for the playoffs. The game was incredibly close throughout, with the largest lead of the game only reaching 12, by California early in the 3rd inning. F/C Michel Blanchard and B/C Sora Matsuѕhita were playing like the best players on the hardwood, but couldn’t overcome the Sea Lions’ depth on their own, and they weren’t getting a ton of help from their teammates. Lions B/ZB Joel Moth buried a 3-point kick to ice the game with 14 seconds left and give California the edge in the series.

 

Music City showed up in full force for Game 2, but their first taste of playoff dashball left a bad taste in fans’ mouths, and not just because some of them were dressed as trash-eating raccoons. California dominated early, avoiding the crease almost entirely and scoring 68 of their 88 first-half points into the end zone, and would take a 36-point lead into halftime. Nashville refused to go down that easily, though, and head coach Olivier Six had his team overload the sidelines and allow his star centers to lock down the middle of the field on their own. It worked spectacularly, and once the Fugitives had some momentum, they got back into things quickly. W/ZB Fred Stinson found Blanchard in the end zone to put Nashville up by 1 just 20 seconds into the final frame, and the building was ecstatic. Unfortunately, the Lions’ D-squad had other plans. B/ZB Kenton Snowberger and W/K Will Orleans combined for 14 points in the eighth inning to squash the hopes of a Fugues comeback once and for all.

 

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Orlando Orbits vs Philadelphia Row
For the second year in a row, the Orbits had to face off against the defending champs in the first round. Texas held them to 99 in last year’s Game 1, and they would face a similar fate this time around. F/K Ray Thomas was on another level, allowing just one goal for just two points all game, and put up 33 points to go along with 20 from B/K LaVarius McCargo. The Row would end up one-upping (one-downing? no?) last year’s Redbacks, limiting Orlando to 98 and taking home a comfortable 33-point win.

 

The series moved to Orlando for Game 2, and media wouldn’t stop talking about Philly’s road troubles from the regular season. Philly wanted to shut them up, and they did a pretty good job of it. They went up 46-17 after the first quarter, with Thomas and McCargo keeping up their performances from Game 1 and B/C Patrick Sanders Jr. playing almost impossibly well for a 40-year-old. Things would even out a bit after that, but the Orbs just never had a chance to get back in the game. Orlando would fall to 0-4 in the postseason, while Philadelphia would earn their first road win of the year against a playoff team, and of course, move on to the semifinals.

 

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Sorry to leave y'all hanging with those boring games for a week and a half; a lot of things were due all of a sudden and I got hit with a really bad case of writer's block to top things off. Hopefully, these series will be worth the wait:

 

Philadelphia Row vs. Seattle Sawyers
Game 1 would go down as an instant classic. Seattle and Philadelphia would go back and forth for much of the game; the Row would go on a run occasionally only to see the Sawyers pull themselves back into it. The most memorable of these by far came in the last minute of regulation, when B/ZB Horace Yazzie found W/ZB Curtis Blue for 5 points, got a steal on the next possession, and turned it into 5 more points with a long bucket to tie the game at 144. Philly couldn’t get anything done with their final possession and the game would go to overtime. B/ZB James Terry’s squad outdueled F/K Ray Thomas’s in the top half of overtime to take an 8-point lead into frame 10, but B/K LaVarius McCargo brought the Row back into it and put them up by two with a strike to B/ZB Howie King with just four seconds left. Yazzie’s long-distance heave landed harmlessly, and Philly would swipe home field advantage with a thrilling overtime win.

 

Game 2 was more of a defensive battle, the type of game the Row should have been able to control. They could never really put Seattle away, though, and the Sawyers very nearly forced another overtime, but Ray Thomas made two incredible saves in a row to rob F/K Chris Gray of a game-tying goal, and the Row would head back to Philly up 2-0. Game 3 would be a must-win for the Sawyers, but they didn’t seem to realize it at first. Seattle’s offense simply couldn’t get going, and the Row would take a 14-point lead heading into the final quarter of the game. Finally, James Terry came to life in the seventh, finding W/ZB Will Mitchell and F/ZB Walt Duncan twice each for 16 points assisted and adding a 5-point bucket of his own late which cut the Philadelphia lead to 4. When Blue beat Thomas to give Seattle the lead with just 30 seconds to go, the crowd was silent. They wouldn’t stay that way for long, though. McCargo lofted a high-arcing pass toward the end zone and F/ZB Elenio Field muscled his way up to catch it, giving the Row the win and a 3-0 series lead. Seattle finally picked things up and won the next two games, including giving Philly their first road loss of the playoffs in Game 5, but the Row were finally able to close out the series in Game 6 to head back to the NDLCS for the second straight year.

 

 

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California Sea Lions vs. Texas Redbacks
The Sea Lions went into Texas for Game 1 as pretty heavy underdogs, but they came out looking like championship contenders. The Redbacks had lost all of two games so far, one by 30 and one by 1, and both to Seattle, but California would add a stunning 57-point loss to that list. B/C Jasper Jansen had a big game after a quiet first round, scoring 44, assisting on 36, and having a great day on defense in front of rookie B/K Rick Delaney, who was quickly making a name for himself as well, earning 13 saves and scoring 19 points of his own. California hung 173 while holding Texas to just 116. The Redbacks would come back and earn the split with a 10-point win in Game 2, but the narrative hadn’t changed; the Sea Lions were still here. Texas took back home court in Game 3, but even then, the consensus was still that the series was even, and the Sea Lions would come out with another strong showing in Game 4 to make it so.

 

Back in Dallas for an all-important Game 5, the Redbacks once again disappointed their home crowd. It was B/ZB Joel Moth’s turn to have a big game for Cali, spreading the ball around and assisting on 41 of his squad’s 77 points, including 22 to his brother, W/ZB Jay. The American Airlines Center fans made their opinion known as their team walked off the court, and while they couldn’t respond for another two nights, respond they did. With the ‘Backs’ backs against the wall, California just couldn’t get their offense moving like they had been. B/K Semarias Garcia finally became his dominant self; he scored 51 points despite being double-teamed as often as the Lions could manage, and that almost always left someone else open to make a play. The 24-point differential at the end wasn’t indicative of just how much Texas controlled the game as they forced the first Game 7 since the 2017 Finals. They would carry that momentum to the decisive game and finally give their home fans something to cheer about, returning to their fourth NDLCS in five years.
 

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Pretty much all season, everybody was looking forward to the inevitable Redbacks-Sawyers Finals, but it turns out it wasn’t so inevitable after all. Philadelphia surprised everyone just by being there, and in Game 1, it looked like they surprised themselves, too. They came out flat-footed, and Texas held them to just 103 points, their worst showing of the postseason so far. W/C Elide Amigazzi was a terror on the defensive end, earning 6 blocks and 14 passes defended. Game 1 qualmed a lot of Redback fans’ fears after their tight series with California, but Game 2 ruined that again. It wasn’t a complete breakdown, but they got outplayed for 7 innings by F/K Ray Thomas and a host of roleplayers stepping up for the Row. They tried to make a comeback in the eighth, but the lead was too much. Suddenly, the Row had stolen home court advantage, and Philly was feeling pretty confident as they would host the next two games.

 

That feeling wouldn’t last long either. The script got flipped right back around, and it was Texas dominating once again. B/K Semarias Garcia scored 58 points to wrest home court right back, and then one-upped that performance with a 73-point showing in Game 4 in a pair of 30-point road wins for the Redbacks. Suddenly, Texas had a 3-1 lead and the First Trophy would be in Dallas for Game 5. That game would be the first one that was actually close, with the two teams staying within one possession of each other for most of the game. However, Texas would pull away in the final minutes, and W/ZB Larry Whitt hit a dagger 5-point bucket to make it a 12-point game, and a takeaway by B/C Tiziano Torres on the other end would seal it. For the third time in just four years, the Texas Redbacks were champions of the NDL.
 

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