Every sports league was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic last year, but few more so than the BIG3, which had to cancel its 2020 season altogether. The basketball was back this summer, however, and on Saturday Trilogy defeated 3 Headed Monsters, 50-45 to win the 2021 BIG3 championship.
Jarrett Jack, who finished with 29 points, five assists and three steals to lead Trilogy to victory, closed the show with a game-winning 3-pointer right in Rashard Lewis' face. (BIG3 games are first team to 50 wins.)
Jack admitted during the postgame interview that he shed some tears in the aftermath.
"Got a little emotional," Jack said. "To be honest, man, this was crazy. This was my first time hitting a game-winner in front of my son. I'm happy for him to be a part of it. Our coach stuck with us through and through every week. We had a hell of a group man. I just want to shout out these guys, my teammates."
The game looked like it was going to be a blowout early, as 3 Headed Monsters jumped out to a quick double-digit lead and went into the halftime break up 26-13. But with a title on the line, Trilogy were never going to go down without a fight and came storming out of the gates in the second half. They quickly tied things up and then it became a grueling back-and-forth affair.
Neither team could gain much separation down the stretch, and by the final few possessions they were battling fatigue as much as each other. Finally, though, Trilogy did enough to get across the line thanks to Jack's shotmaking and some tough work in the paint from Amir Johnson, who finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
"I'm the first coach to play and coach in the BIG3 championship, and I'm glad I was able to win one," Trilogy head coach Stephen Jackson said. "Shout out to my team. I got a great group of guys, great group of professionals. Shout out to Gary Payton and 3 Headed Monsters, they got a great team. But I knew when I did the draft I wanted some professionals. I wanted some guys that wanted to play the game and loved the game, and that showed tonight."
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After missing the playoffs in 2019, Trilogy revamped both on and off the floor, adding NBA veterans Jack and Amir Johnson as captain and co-captain, respectively, while Stephen Jackson took over as head coach. The moves paid off, as Trilogy won it all for the second time, becoming the first team in BIG3 history with multiple championships.
For 3 Headed Monsters, this was more heartbreak. They've made the playoffs in every single BIG3 season -- the only team to accomplish that feat -- but haven't been able to lift the trophy. Even worse, the two times they've gotten to the title game, they lost to Trilogy. Reggie Evans led the way with 20 points and 15 rebounds, while Rashard Lewis added 13 points and eight rebounds. It wasn't enough, however, as they faded down the stretch and simply couldn't generate enough offense.