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Admirals on Track Over the Express

St. Joseph, MI. - The Lake Michigan Admirals have been traveling all over this past week, going to places that are near and far but there is no place like home.

The Admirals(6-6) broke a four game losing streak by beating the Lima Express(3-4) 133-119.  In the first quarter, the Admirals took a commanding 41-20 lead behind the leadership of newcomer 6'10" Stan Simpson from the University of Memphis with 17 of his game-high 30 points and 14 rebounds.

In the second quarter, the Lima Express answered with 41 points of their own behind sharp shooter #23 Bryant Austin who had 21 points of his game high 34 by the half, with the Admirals still leading 71-61.

In the second half, Admiral Kwan Waller led the charge shooting 10-for-19 from the floor and scoring 26 points to compliment Simpson's 30. "I am glad we were able to pick up such great players in the middle of the season.

With former Admirals being signed away like Odgra Bobo to Iraq, Florentino Valencia to Puerto Rico, Eladio Espinosa to Dominican Republic, Waki Williams to Bahrain, and Desmond Wade to Canada, it is hard to replace great players with great players but I believe we are still very strong," stated Glisson.

Even though Lima had Blount and Stevens scoring 20 points a piece to compliment Bryant Austion's game-high 34, it just wasn't enough to beat the Admirals.

The next game for the Admirals is on March 8th where the rematch is all set, where the Lima Express come back in to town at 6:00pm at Lake Michigan Catholic. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students.

Buffalo 716ers Lose Home Game to the Erie Hurricane

By AnnMarie Wapshare

Buffalo, NY- The Buffalo 716ers lost to the Erie Hurricane on Saturday, March 1st, 2014. Buffalo led for three quarters but found themselves trailing midway in the fourth quarter. In the final minutes of the game, Erie pulled away to gain a seven-point lead to seal the game. The final score in favor of the Erie Hurricane was 115-108.  

The 716ers were led on the scoring front by Kelvin Agee with 26 points, Travonta Gatewood with 25 points and Glenroy Carr with 15 points. The Erie Hurricane were led by Joe Jones who had 33 points and Lester Jones who added 31 points.

The 716ers have a grueling schedule for the upcoming week and will play three games in 3 days. The 716ers take on the Chicago in a double header, March 7th and March 8th at home at 7pm. Followed by a road trip against the Erie Hurricane, March 9th at 4pm.

Vipers Fall Short to Undefeated Flex

By Connor Veasey

The PBL defending champion Bloomington Flex came into Sunday’s game with a pressing defense and effective steals.  The Vipers struggled to generate any offense in the first quarter.  The Viper offense made a run to level the score at the early part of the second quarter, but the Flex created a huge scoring run and led the rest of the quarter, extending their point lead.  Numerous failed shot attempts and rebounds plagued the Vipers in the first and second quarter.  The Vipers struggled on the key components during the expanse of the game.  From failed free throws, bad rebounding, careless passing and bad dribbling the Vipers fell to the Flex.
The Bloomington Flex were able to get the ball to the net early and maintain their poise during the entire first half.  They managed to pull together a larger lead in the second quarter.  A Vipers’ run would give them their first and only lead of the game in the early stages of the second quarter at 26-25.  The quick scoring of the Flex in the second quarter came in large part due to their many 3-point strikes from beyond the arc.  Bringing it to a 13-point lead at 33-46 Flex.  
The third quarter served a troubling reminder to the Vipers as they struggled to find a scoring streak to bring them level with the Flex.  Rebounds were a problem throughout the game as the Vipers could not get anything going.  The Flex would maintain the lead at end of the third quarter
The beginning of the fourth quarter seemed to spell trouble for the Vipers, but they began to reintegrate the essential elements of the game like rebounding and shot blocking.  Gabriel Harris drove into the wide-open lane and lay the ball up off the glass. 71-79 and the Flex called a timeout in an attempt to silence the run of the Vipers.  Fuqua silenced the 6-point run by the Vipers with a simple layup. 
The Flex played shutdown defense throughout the fourzth quarter in an attempt to keep their lead in the double digits.  The Flex, even when scoreless, managed to hold their poise and composure throughout the entire game.  The key to victory for the Flex was sticking to the fundamentals.  Entering into the final five minutes of the game the Vipers were gassed and even struggled from the free throw line.
The Vipers would lose the game to the Flex by a final score of 97-82.  “We turned the ball over way too much and I stressed to them that they must value it,” Vipers’ Coach Bovain said. We failed to make the easy lay-ups and really struggled on defense. 
The Flex had numerous star performers from the likes of Chris McClellan, Nate Fuqua, Brandon McGee, Chris Singletary and Gary Redus.  The Flexs’ top two scorers of the night were Nat Fuqua with 19 points and Gary Redus with 18. The Flex did post an impressive 42 percent accuracy from the three-point line.  The Vipers’ own James Helton was their top scorer of the night with 24 points on the night.  Neither team was able to record a double double.
The Vipers fall to a record of 8-2 and look to work on their defensive strategy for their next game March 8th against the Lynchburg Titans.  The Bloomington Flex improve to 10-0, continuing their quest for an undefeated season.

Lynchburg Still Winless After Loss from Rochester

Lynchburg, VA- The Lynchburg Titans were beat up by the Rochester Razorsharks (11-1), who imposed their will on them early and surged to a 132-103 victory on Sunday.

From the tip-off, the Razorsharks went immediately into the post, exposing the weakness of the Titan's smaller back court. The size and presence of their big men opened up the lanes while the persistent penetration allowed for high percentage shots.

Lead guard for the Razorsharks, Scott Rodgers, was a headache for the Titans' defense as he made an effort to take the ball to the rim at every opportunity that presented itself.

Rodgers dropped 13 points while dishing out a team-leading five assists. The Rodgers strong play sparked the fluid offense of his team as six players ended their night in double figures.

Consequently, the Titans never could get it going. Their offense was stagnant and frustrated by the lack of size in the paint. They were not able to get inside, which ultimately led to poor shooting. Lynchburg had six straight possessions with no basket.

Despite the height advantage and resources, the Titans managed to find offense late in the game through Jamal Francis who led the Titans with 28 points.

"We just try to get the 'W'. We have been struggling and we just try hard to keep everyone together," stated Francis.

The new members of the Premier Basketball League have yet to find the game in which all the pieces fall together on the same night.

Team owner Derek Polley said, "I am proud of my guys for fighting. This is our first year in this new league and we are going to finish fighting. It is not over yet, we just have to keep playing as a team."

The next opponent for the Titans will be against the Carolina Pee Dee Vipers next Saturday, March 8th.

Flex Use Fast Start to Swamp Tide

By Craig Fata

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – The Bloomington Flex used a 10-0 burst to start Thursday’s game against the Chicago Tide at U.S. Cellular Coliseum and never looked back, taking down the Tide 118-92 and improving their Premier Basketball League-best record to 9-0. The Tide fell to 1-10.
The Flex rode Brandon McGee in the first quarter to a 15-point lead at 28-13 behind McGee’s 12 points. Bloomington then extended the lead to 21 at halftime at 57-36 as McGee finished the half with 18.
The Flex opened up the third-quarter lead to 25 at 68-43 on a Chris McClellan three-pointer, but Chicago made a run to close the gap to twelve on two separate occasions in the period.
The Flex were able to re-apply some defensive pressure and regain the offensive rhythm they had in the first half to finish the third quarter back at a 19-point edge at 90-71.
In the fourth, the Flex ran away from the Tide, opening the lead to 108-78 midway through the period, before the final margin was closed to 26.
McGee finished with a season-high 31 points. Gary Redus added a season-high 23, as five Flex players scored in double figures. Gerald Campbell had 30 for Chicago, while Cedric Ridle added 21.
The Flex start a four-game road trip over the next two weekends Saturday against the Lynchburg (Va.) Titans, followed by a Sunday afternoon tilt with the Pee Dee (S. Car.) Vipers.

Vipers Close Out February On Top

By Connor Veasey

The Vipers ran into a rough patch in Thursday’s game against the Lake Michigan Admirals.  The first half of the game was plagued with loose ball handling and turnovers as both teams sent shots all over the place.  The Admirals offense put the pressure on the Pee Dee Vipers from the beginning of the game.  The Vipers coach decided to change the Vipers defensive strategy to the man-to-man defense and it generated more rebounds in the second quarter of play.  
The Pee Dee Vipers started off the game on an off-note with sloppy play and lack of rebounds.  The Admirals commanded the first quarter with numerous offensive rebounds and the desire to get to the rim.  Courtney Blackmore was an intense offensive force behind the team throughout the first quarter.  The Admirals would head into the second quarter with a 20-18 lead over the Vipers.
The second quarter of the game was very similar to the first as the Admirals kept the composure they had from the first quarter.  The Vipers did make a defensive change that would later pay off.  The three balls were a real key to keeping the Admirals ahead.  Players like Corvonn Gaines, Maurice Benson, Terrence Shaw and Courtney Blackmore were valuable contributions to the 3-point baskets from the admirals during the game.  The Admirals would post a greater lead at the end of the second quarter outscoring the Vipers 38-37 and leading them 58-55 at the half.
The Vipers told the tale of the third quarter as the managed to catch the Admirals.  The defensive man-to-man change from coach Andre Bovain of the Pee Dee Vipers took effect in the second half of play.  This defensive change led to the Vipers’ generation of more offensive and defensive rebounds.  The Vipers would head into the fourth quarter of play with their first quarterly lead of the game at a score of 84-82.
The fourth quarter was a seesaw battle, but the Vipers held their composure in the final minutes.  Offensive rebounds and short scoring runs were the keys to success for the Vipers victory.  A seven-point run played a pivotal role to the victory within the final five minutes of the game.  James Helton, who had a double-double, and Tim Ware really added pressure to the offense of the Admirals and helped lead their team to a final score of 114-108.
The Pee Dee Vipers were able to successfully defeat the Admirals in the final minutes of the game with a couple of key scoring runs.  “Mike Jones was unbelievable for us tonight.  For a guy that had only played about 20 minutes all season, he really came through,” Bovain said.  The Admirals made a valiant effort from all-around the court, but their key to a near victory was the three-point line.  The final score of the game was 114-108 and the Vipers will have their next home game this Sunday March 2nd at 4:00 p.m. against the defending champions of the PBL Bloomington Flex.