Vipers Make Major Changes in Preparation for Rochester Battle
Florence, SC – January 26, 2015 – The Carolina Pee Dee Vipers (8-1) have made mid-season roster changes to prepare for a tough schedule ahead. Pee Dee has released three players and signed two new stand out players.
Jamal Francis, Antonio Bumpus and Alex Phillips were all released due to lack of performance and failing to meet contractual obligations. Bumpus has been moved down to the Vipers feeder team, the Georgia Kings.
The Vipers have signed Wendell Faines from the NBA D-League’s Los Angeles D-Fenders and D’Montre Edwards from the Georgia Kings (TRBL). Faines, a 6 foot 8 forward, played in college at the University of Idaho before signing with the D-Fenders. Edwards is a former SEC player from the University of Tennessee and played the beginning of this season with the Kings. Edwards, a 6 foot 6 guard, scored 27 points against the Vipers on January 10.
Pee Dee must continue to put the best product on the floor for a run at this season’s Premier Basketball League (PBL) championship. “We decided to change out a few players for the rest of the season in order to make a deep run into the playoffs. We need key role players and these two guys coming in can fill some gaps,” general manager Sharone Wright says. “I feel very strongly about our team as a whole, but felt we needed to get bigger and rebound better.”
The Vipers are on a nine game winning streak (including one exhibition game) and hope to add another “W” against the Rochester RazorSharks on February 5. Pee Dee is coming off three big wins on the road against the Buffalo 716ers, Erie Hurricane and Lynchburg Titans. The Vipers are currently second in the PBL and in the Eastern Conference behind the RazorSharks.
Titans Come So Close Yet Fall So Far in Loss to Vipers
Lynchburg, VA-The Titans were looking to land their first victory of the season, while the second place Vipers were trying to continue their winning streak.
With 5:21 left in the third quarter, the Titans trailed the Vipers 47 to 57.
At the beginning of the 4th quarter, the Vipers opened up a 15-point lead with a score of 74 to 59. At the 7:51 mark in the fourth, the Titans were able to cut the lead to 10 points 78 to 68.
With five minutes left in the game, the game was tied up at 84 all. The Titans ran out of gas and out of time as they fall short on the comeback with a score of 100 to 94.
Damien hubbard prove to be on fire as he scored 21 of his 37 points in the 4th quarter, fueling the Titans on their comeback run. He also added seven rebounds and five assists.
Kenny Hunt had 20 points, five rebounds and six assists. Joel VanderPol contributed with a double double hitting 11 points 13 rebounds and four blocks.
The Vipers were led by Tate who scored 25 points and had six rebounds.
Lake Michigan Adds Cushion to Their Lead in Midwest Division Battle
Lake Michigan needed one quarter to put away Grand Rapids for their seventh win, a 37-16 run in the third quarter.
The Admirals outscored the Cyclones 134-107, Saturday before a full house at the Admirals home facility.
Grand Rapids took a first quarter 26-21 lead, taking advantage of several ball-handling miscues by the Admirals. Lake Michigan used a balanced attack in the second quarter, jumping in front 65-60 at halftime.
The Admirals continued their offensive showing in the third and finished with a 32-31 edge in the fourth quarter. Lake Michigan, 7-2, remains in first place in the PBL Midwest Division. Grand Rapids fell to 2-7.
Troy Franklin Jr. led Lake Michigan in scoring with 30 points followed by Courtney Blackmore's 23. Graciano Negron came off the bench, recording a double-double, 19 points and 12 rebounds.
Nicholas Waddell also had a double-double for the Admirals, 14 points and 15 boards. Lake Michigan out rebounded Grand Rapids 67-40, while shooting 49 percent from the field and 87 percent from the line.
Benjamin Cumbo led Grand Rapids with 25 points with four of five starters scoring in double figures. The Admirals are home January 31 against the Lima Ohio Express.
Racine Rallies Past Diesels for Comeback Victory
By: Nathan Pace
In a miraculous rally the Racine Storm played brilliantly in the final 18 minutes of action to defeat the host Indianapolis Diesels 121-119 Sunday.
The Storm trailed by as many 25 at 87-62, with just under six minutes to play in the third quarter. Racine would outscore Indianapolis 59-32 the rest of the way to steal victory.
The comeback was born late in the third quarter when the Storm closed the margin to 14 at 99-85. Racine would outscore Indianapolis 35-17 in the fourth quarter. A transition lay-up put the Storm ahead with two minutes remaining at 113-112.
Forward Brandon McGee would regain the lead for Indianapolis off of two free throws but Racine would regain the edge thanks to free throws of their own.
Guard Harry Marshall would score in the paint to give the Diesels a 116-115 lead but the Diesels turned the ball over the following possession allowing the Storm to score a dunk in transition. The Storm would never relinquish the lead after that as they scored off of another Diesel turnover seconds later.
Robinson (27), Cobbs (25) and Bunch (24) would go on to lead the Storm in scoring.
McGee led Indianapolis with a game-high 32 points thanks to 5-7 from three. Marshall scored 22 with 9 assists and Corey Wickware scored 23.
The win keeps Racine in second place of the Midwest division at 5-2 and snapped the home winning streak of Indianapolis, who fell to 4-4.
Riverhawks Fall Short in Late Surge Against the Express
DANVILLE, IL - The RiverHawks made a run in the fourth quarter but, fell short Sunday against the Lima Express 109-115.
The Danville RiverHawks (3-6) and Lima Express (5-3) traded baskets throughout the first quarter with the team’s knotted at 24 after one but, the Express would ride a 37 point second quarter to take an 11 point lead into the half.
Lima would continue to carry their first half success into the third quarter and push their lead to 21 over the RiverHawks, who at one point were facing a 19-point deficit entering the fourth quarter, the RiverHawks would go on a 16-5 run to cut the Express lead down to seven in the final three minutes of the game.
After a couple costly turnovers by the RiverHawks, the Express were able to ice the game on a pair of free throws by Cordaryl Ballard in the final seconds of the game.
Leading the way for the Cyclones was Cordaryl Ballard who finished with a game high 30 points and 14 rebounds. Kyle Myer also chipped 26 points and nine rebounds.
Lavell McDade led the RiverHawks in scoring for with 24 points on 6-13 shooting from behind the arch. Ayron Worthington also scored 19 points and Justin Childs 18.
The RiverHawks would finish the game with seven players in double figures
With the loss the RiverHawks remain in fifth place in the Premier Basketball League Midwest Division standings and will travel next Saturday, January 31 to take on the Racine Storm.
Buffalo 716ers sign Buffalo State College Standout; Jake Simmons
BUFFALO, NY- A Rochester, NY native and Buffalo State College graduate, Jake Simmons has signed a one-year contract to play professional basketball for the Buffalo 716ers of the Premier Basketball League.
Simmons graduated as the all-time scoring leader for the Bengals, with 2,079 points. With 17 games remaining in his senior season, Simmons only needed 33 points to tie the record that Randy Smith set in 1971.
Smith’s record has stood for 41 years. Smith was drafted by the NBA Buffalo Braves in 1971, and went on to play for the San Diego Clippers, Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Knicks, and Atlanta Hawks.
Simmons went on to score 43 points in a game against Central Penn College on December 14, 2012. Ultimately Simmons broke Smith’s record by nearly 400 points.
Simmons averaged 19 points per game, collected a total of 349 rebounds, 234 steals and 28 blocked shots for the Bengals. He is the first player in school history to score over 2,000 points.
Following graduation, Simmons played basketball in Greece for the Eurobasket Summer League Championship.
Simmons made his PBL debut for the Buffalo 716ers on January 17, 2015 against the Pee Dee Vipers.
“You don't find pure shooters in this game anymore, so the signing of Jake will change the depth of our team," stated Buffalo 716ers owner and head coach Slaughter.
Chicago, IL- Lewis Shine, owner and founder of the Lima Express, a member of the Premier Basketball League (PBL), was recently recognized for his efforts and dedication to his community at the 30th annual Ohio Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Celebration.
A second year owner in the PBL, Lewis Shine was awarded the Health Equity and Awareness Award for his impact on the Lima community through his professional basketball organization and his boot camp fitness program.
“I am blessed and honored to win such an awesome award,” stated Express owner Lewis Shine. “This is not an award that I receive, just for me, but for all of the people that have made having a professional basketball team in Lima possible, including the Premier Basketball League, our sponsors, everyone who helps me run the team, and most importantly Express Nation.
The PBL was notified of Shine’s success and they could not have been more proud.
“Lewis is an incredible man and we could not be more happy or proud of his efforts in his community,” stated league commissioner Dennis Truax.
The Express next game will be Sunday, January 25th when they hit road to take on the Danville Riverhawks.
To ready the original article on Mr. Shine’s award, click here.
BUFFALO, NY — The Buffalo 716ers fell to the visiting Pee Dee Vipers this afternoon 107 - 90 in front of a loud sold out crowd at the Thunderdome at Tapestry Charter School.
The 716ers fall to 3-5, remaining in fourth place in the PBL eastern division. This also marks the first home loss for the 716ers this season.
The 716ers started out quick, building a 15 - 11 lead early in the first quarter. This would be their only lead for the game.
The final three quarters resulted in a defensive battle, with the 716ers never down by more than 6 until the final 90 seconds of the game. That’s when the Vipers made three 3-point shots in a row.
“We played a good game, but couldn’t quite grab and hold onto the lead. We will review this game, make some changes that will help us win our next game,” said 716ers owner and head coach Tawan Slaughter.
Center Antonio Speed led the team in scoring with 18, followed closely by guard Devon Dawson with 16.
The 716ers travel to Lynchburg, VA, next weekend to take on the Titans.
Lynchburg Titans Lose to Visiting Flight
Lynchburg, VA- The Lynchburg Titans took on the Philadelphia Flight at the Lynchburg Armory tonight. The first half was very close as the with a 56-52 score going into half-time. In the second half the flight used superior three point shooting and a tightened up defensive approach to make a run in the third quarter.
The Flight were led by Swigget, who scored 15 of his 25 points in the 3rd quarter. The Titans attempted to rally a comeback in the 4th quarter and came close to giving their home fans hope when team captain Damien Hubbard scored 12 of his 24 points in the last quarter.
Kenny hunt finished with 18 points and four rebounds, Levi Osby finished with 18 points and eight rebounds as well for the Titans.
Latham for the Flight scored 21 points and grabbed 6 rebounds, while sharp had 17 points and three rebounds.
The Lynchburg Titans are home again next weekend to host the second place Carolina Pee Dee Vipers.
Lake Michigan Pulls Away With Lead in Midwest Division
St. Joseph, MI. - The Midwest division leading Lake Michigan Admirals were able to pull away from the second place Racine Storm with a victory over the Lima Express on Saturday night.
The Admirals started off slow falling behind 30-23 at the end of the first but got were able to get back on track in the second quarter by outscoring the Express 38-26, making the halftime score 61-56.
After a hard fought battle, the Admirals sailed to victory 104-96.
Troy Franklin Jr. led the Admirals with 22 points while Nicholas Waddell had a double-double with 14 points and 19 rebounds.
Courtney Blackmore had 18 points and 9 rebounds, Jerome Odem had 15 points, along with Nate Barfield adding 16 points and nine rebounds to add to the Admirals' arsenal.
Cordaryl Ballard led the Express with 18 points and 5 rebounds. Next Admirals game is January 17th at 6:06PM when they host the Grand Rapids Cyclones.
Erie Hurricane Fall to Visiting Vipers
Jamestown, NY- The Erie Hurricane fall to the Pee Dee Vipers, 105-86, at “The Mac” in Jamestown, NY. The Hurricane led by as many as 10 points for most of the game. The Vipers mounted a comeback late in the third quarter, and never looked back.
The Hurricane were led by recent signee Rashaun Bellanger, with 23 points. Craig Dixon chipped in 17 points for the Hurricane.
The Pee Dee Vipers were led Jamal Francis, who poured in 20 points. George McGrew added 19 points for the Vipers.
“It was very exciting playing at “The Mac” today. Our players really enjoyed the experience,” said team owner, Tawan Slaughter.
The Hurricane’s next home game is on Sunday, February 8th at 2pm when they host the Buffalo 716ers. Tickets are available online at www.eriehurricane.net.
Diesels Finish Weekend Sweep over Riverhawks
By: Nathan Pace
After a very close first half, a dominant third quarter fueled the Indianapolis Diesels to pull out a 101-95 win over their neighboring rival in the Danville Riverhawks.
The Diesels began the second half on a 17-8 run after leading at halftime 47-45. Indianapolis coach Aaron Hogg inserted a smaller lineup that pushed the tempo and resulted in transition baskets for the Diesels. Indianapolis outscored Danville 30-23 in the quarter for a 77-68 lead.
However, the Riverhawks did not quit, cutting the Diesels lead to 96-92 with a minute remaining in the fourth. On its next possession, Danville guard Justin Childs attempted two corner three-pointers but missed both. The Riverhawks were forced to foul as Diesel guard Corey Wicker converted four free-throws to seal the game.
Guard Harry Marshall would go on to lead Indianapolis with 27 points and was assisted with 23 from Wicker. Marshall had 40 points in Indy’s win at Danville Friday night. Brandon McGee, Noah Douglas, and Chris Ames would score in double figures on the afternoon.
Guard Cedric Ridle led the Riverhawks with a game-high 31 points.
Danville dropped to 2-5 while Indianapolis improved to 4-3. It’s the first time the defending Midwest champions have been on the plus side of .500 this season as Indianapolis is still undefeated at home.