Newsletters from December 2014
That's A Wrap for Week 4
Vipers Sting the Flight at Home
FLORENCE, SC. -- The Pee Dee Vipers (4-1) pulled out a nail-biting win over the Philadelphia Flight (0-2) on Saturday night at the Florence Civic Center with a final score of 96-94. The game was decided in the final minute; foul trouble by the Flight and smart defense by the Vipers determined the game.
Saturday night’s game was the first match up between the Vipers and the Flight. Philadelphia came out strong and took command of the ball early, leading Pee Dee 13-6 within the first few minutes of the game. Philadelphia’s Russell Johnson led the team’s 1st quarter drive with several three-pointers. At the end of the 1st, the Flight was on top of Pee Dee with a score of 26-21.
Vipers point guard Tahj Tate, who leads the team in scoring and assists, stepped up at the beginning of the 2nd, landing key jumpers and setting up Anthony Poindexter to lay the ball in. Pee Dee was in control of the board again within a few minutes of the quarter; the team scored nine unanswered points. The Vipers maintained their lead and went into halftime over the Flight, 43-38.
Philadelphia closed the gap during the start of the second half when the Vipers received several calls against them. The Vipers held a slight lead of 56-53 with 6:38 left in the 3rd., but the Flight carried a 68-63 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Flight and Vipers remained neck-and-neck with each other in a back-and-forth scoring affair throughout the final quarter. The teams were tied several times during the 4th, but it was a three-point play by Tate with 3:30 remaining that allowed the Vipers to take the lead, 89-88. The fans erupted and Pee Dee played off of the momentum from the fans for the rest of the game.
It was down into the last minute of the game, the teams tied 93-93 when Pee Dee’s Niko Brooks attempted to break through a defensive screen to score. Brooks drew a foul on Jason Sabb, which turned into a technical after Sabb flagrantly disagreed with a referee on the call. Brooks landed two of the three foul shots. The Flight fouled Casey Walker, who landed one out of two shots for the Vipers. The score was 96-93 with seconds left on the clock when Tate fouled Kenny Sharp. Sharp only made one of his two shots and the Vipers took the ball down the court to end the game with a final score of 96-94.
The Vipers and Flight match up again next Saturday, January 3 at 7:30PM at the Civic Center in Florence, SC.
VIPERS -Tate had 36 points and 6 assists; Poindexter put up 21 points and grabbed 6 rebounds; Brooks scored 13 points with 5 assists and 2 steals; Shakir Johnson blocked 3 shots and pulled down 16 rebounds; Walker had 14 rebounds.
FLIGHT: Johnson had 25 points, 3 blocks and 10 rebounds; Swiggett scored 20 points, had 9 assists and 2 rebounds; Sharpe had 19 points and 3 rebounds.
Twas the Weekend Before Christmas
Turnovers and Ball Control End Perfect Start to Express Season
LIMA, Ohio --- Turnovers and missed opportunities proved to be the downfall of the Lima Express as they lost at home to the Lake Michigan Admirals, 95-92.
The game started off at a fast pace with both teams struggling to take the early command. Mark Stevenson proved to be strong in his first start of the season after hitting an early three-pointer to help take the lead. Anthony Pettaway also provided strong post play, grabbing six points in the first quarter as the Express took the early lead 23-14 after one quarter of play.
In the second quarter, the Express cooled off, while Troy Taylor of the Admirals began to play well. Taylor had eight second quarter points to help the Admirals surge back. However, it was DeVaughn Taylor-Buntyn for the Express that began his impressive day. Taylor-Buntyn scored a pair of threes and finished with 10 second quarter points, helping the Express stay even with the Admirals at the half, 39-39.
The third quarter saw the rise veteran players Willie Tisdale and Kyle Meyer for Lima. The second season Express players both began to contribute, with Meyer posting eight points and Tisdale hitting a pair of threes for Lima. The play from those two helped cancel out Taylor's nine point stanza and keep the Express ahead after the third quarter, 67-65.
The Express held the lead through the opening minutes of the final stanza, until an injury to Tisdale seemed to deflate the team. Despite a resurgence from Stevenson with seven points, the team struggled to preserve the lead and the Admirals took the lead in the final few minutes.
In the final seconds of play, Stevenson hit a huge three before another last second scramble saw Taylor-Buntyn nail a big three to bring the Express within one point, 93-92. However, on the other end, the Express couldn't hold down defensively as Nicholas Waddell scored a second chance bucket to put the Admirals up three.
On the night for the Express, Meyer led the team with 16 points, while Taylor-Buntyn added another 15 points and Mark Stevenson posted 14 points. Cordaryl Ballard had 12 points and Tisdale notched in 11 points before his injury.
For the Admirals, both Taylor and Waddell led all scorers with 20 points each, while Graciano Negron posted another 17 points. Nathaniel Barfield added another 14 points to the cause, while Troy Franklin Jr grabbed 10 points, all in the second half.
Lima falls to 2-1, while the Admirals improve to 3-1.
The Express will be back in action this Sunday, but on the road as they travel to Wyoming, Michigan to take on the Grand Rapids Cyclones. Tip-off is set for 2:00 pm Eastern Time.
RazorSharks Claim First in the PBL East After Victory Over Rival 716ers
Rochester, NY – The Rochester RazorSharks claimed first in the PBL’s East Division Sunday, December 21st after winning 108-95 over what has been a greatly improved Buffalo 716ers team. The ‘Sharks who were coming off a 122-109 road victory against the Philadelphia Flight were able to keep their hot streak alive.
The first half of the game was a good representation of the style of play to be expected from two in-state rivals battling for a top position. A choppy and foul-filled first half featured Buffalo’s gritty defense and energetic bench, giving them control of the tempo for the entire first half.
Former RazorShark, Robert “Fluff” McKiver, was out playing with a vengeance after being sent to Buffalo right before the start of the regular season. He would go on to finish the night with a team-high 24 points and four assists. Following McKiver’s lead was an impressive scoring performance from Buffalo’s guard duo of Jeff Stubbs and Kelvin Agee who combined for 30 points. Buffalo headed into the locker room at halftime with a three-point edge and the proof that they could hang with the defending champions.
Coach Spon and the RazorSharks came out in the second half with a concerted effort to limit turnovers and capitalize on opportunities on second-chance opportunities.
Jerice Crouch slowed down the tempo and picked his time to strike with three 3-ponters during the third quarter. Assisting him was co-captain Gabe Freeman who decided to take the ball inside and score at the basket. Crouch and Freeman finished with 25 and 22 points respectively.
The RazorSharks now sit atop the East division alone at 3-0 as they look forward to taking on the Lynchburg Titans on Monday, December 29th at the Blue Cross Arena.
The Storm Stay Perfect at Home After Defeating Defending Midwest Champs
Racine, WI- The Racine Storm remain unbeaten at home after beating the Indianapolis Diesels 109-108 in a Premier Basketball League game at Racine Case for a Sunday evening midwest matchup.
After dropping to the Diesels 132-104 the previous night in Indianapolis, Racine was expected to come back with a vengeance at home and they did. The Storm improve their overall record to 2-2 and moved up to third in the Midwest Division.
Anthony Spencer led the Storm in scoring with 36 points while also grabbing 13 rebounds. Also putting together a strong performance was Reggie Bunch with 25 points for the second night in a row against the Diesels.
The Storm's next home game will be Saturday, January 10th, 2015 at 7 pm at Thomas Case against the Lima (Ohio) Express.
RiverHawks Win In Overtime Thriller Against Cyclones
Danville, IL- The very first professional basketball game in Danville history did not disappoint as the RiverHawks beat the Grand Rapids Cyclones 127-124 in a overtime thriller.
Cedric Ridle poured in 10 of his team-high 36 points in the extra session, including two free throws with four seconds left to lead the RiverHawks to victory over the Cyclones before an estimated crowd of 1,000 at the David S. Palmer Arena.
Neither team was able to build much momentum throughout the game and the RiverHawks (1-2) found themselves trailing 86-81 heading into the fourth quarter, and the Cyclones (1-2) had a 90-83 lead with just over 10 minutes remaining in regulation.
That's when Ridle started to heat up for Danville. The 6-foot-1 guard led his team on a 17-8 run as he scored eight of those points.
It looked like the RiverHawks were going to get its first win in regulation as they had the ball and a 113-111 lead in the final seconds, but an offensive foul followed by a driving basket by Grand Rapids guard Jody Hill tied the game at 113-113. Hill finished with a game-high 41 points, 15 of those coming in the fourth quarter.
The RiverHawks finished the game with six players in double figures. Fred Gardner and Jerron Jamerson followed Ridle with 17 points each, while former Danville High standout Ayron Worthington had 16 points and Chris Britt-Black chipped in with 13.
The Danville RiverHawks are back home next Sunday, Dec. 28 when they host the Racine Storm in a 4pm game at the Palmer Arena.
Diesels Well Prepared for Incoming Storm
Indiana, IN- The Indianapolis Diesels, the defending Midwest Division champions, earned their first win of the season Saturday night routing the Racine Storm 132-107 at home. It was the first of a home-and-home series between the two teams this weekend as the Storm will host the Diesels on Sunday.
Indianapolis snatched a 42-28 lead midway through the second quarter and had at least one double-digit cushion the remainder of the game. Racine pulled the score to 60-46 at halftime but Indianapolis accelerated to a 101-71 advantage at the end of the third quarter.
Guard Harry Marshall led the Diesels with 21 points including three 3-pointers. Guard Dawon Cummings had five from behind the arc and finished with 17 points. Forward Noah Douglas provided a post presence and had 16 points.
The Storm fell to 1-2 on the year while the Diesels even their record at 1-1.
Kyle Randall Leads RazorSharks Over Hosting Flight
Rochester, NY- It didn’t take the Rochester RazorSharks long to continue where they last left off after the defeating the Carolina Pee Dee Vipers two weeks ago in their season opener. However, this time it was a new face the RazorSharks were able to quickly overcome.
The Philadelphia Flight, one of the Premier Basketball League’s newest expansion teams for the 2014-15 season, had a strong performance, but fell short to the league’s defending champions, 109-122.
Kyle Randall led the RazorSharks offensive drive with 20 points and would be named the team’s player of the game. After the RazorSharks took almost a 30-point lead in the second half, coach Spon spread out the playing time and gave his bench players a little more playing time.
“He (Randall) really had an outstanding game and probably could have put up a dozen more points if the game had been a little closer,” stated RazorSharks coach Robert Spon.
After their first victory on the road, the RazorSharks (2-0) head home for a Sunday afternoon matinee where they will host the Buffalo 716ers (2-1) in what will be a battle for first place in the PBL East Division.
Ticket’s for Sunday’s noon game are still available and can be purchased at the Blue Cross Arena before the game or by calling (585) 232-9190.
Titans Fall in Season Opener to Local Rival
The Lynchburg Titans took the floor tonight looking for their first win of the season after dropping their first two.
The first quarter was a great battle as the Titans were only down by 10 points going into the second. Gregory McGee had a strong first quarter for the Vipers, as he scored 10 points in the first quarter.
The second chance points helped Carolina Pee Dee get over the hump. Slow rotations on defense had the Titans going into halftime facing a 20-point deficit.
Both the third and fourth quarter went as the first half did. Giving up second chance points and not converting on the offensive end made it tough for the Titans to stay in the game. By the 4th quarter the game was well out of reach. The Titans drop to 0-3 on the season
Titans co-captain, Damien Hubbard, made his return after spending three weeks on injured reserve. He scored 22 points had six rebounds and five assists, with 10 of his points coming in the fourth quarter.
Newcomers Brandon Macklin and Levi Osby helped out with Macklin posting a double-double, with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Osby had 13 points, six rebounds and four assists.
The Vipers were led by Casey Walker who had 25 points and eight rebounds followed by Anthony Dexter who put up 22 points. George McGee ended the game with 19 after a smoking hot start in the first.
Lynchburg Titans Captain Set to Return
After spending three weeks on injury reserve with a sprained shoulder the Lynchburg Titans captain, Damien Hubbard, is ready to make his season debut this Saturday at 7pm at the Lynchburg Armory when they host the Carolina Pee Dee Vipers.
The 6'7" shooting guard averaged 20.4 points per game, had 30 assists and 49 total rebounds in 10 games with the Titans last season. Hubbard will be the big boost on both ends of the floor that they will need to earn their first victory of the season.
Damien is a Co-Captain and the organization's all-time leading scorer.
It's a Pure Michigan Thursday in the PBL
The first Premier Basketball League weeknight game comes Thursday, December 18th when the Grand Rapids Cyclones host their first home game at the Grand Valley Armory at 1200 44th Street Southwest, Wyoming, Michigan. The Cyclones will be hosting their in-state rival, the Lake Michigan Admirals.
The Cyclones lost in their season opener 87-104 when they hit the road to take on the Racine Storm. Now, after dropping their first game to the Storm, another recent expansion addition, the Cyclones will now have their chance for redemption against one of the league's most experienced teams.
Grand Rapids comes with an all-star NCAA lineup with star players from the University of Michigan, University of Notre Dame and the University at Louisville.
However, the Lake Michigan Admirals bring a really big player to the team. In fact, they boast the world's tallest basketball player at 7'8, Bob Wegner.
Last season the two teams met in two exhibition games, winning one game a piece, in what were very close games.
After dropping their only game of the season the Cyclones currently stand at 0-1 but hope that home court advantage will kick in as they face the first place and undefeated Admirals (2-0).
Racine Storm Leave Impressive Mark at Inaugural Home Opener in the PBL
By Shawn Quirk
Racine, WI-The Racine Storm were victorious in their home opener, beating the Grand Rapids Cyclones 104-87. The Storm (1-1) are in their inaugural season in the Premier Basketball League (PBL). Racine did not lead in the game until the third quarter, when they outscored the Cyclones by 15 points to jump out to a 81-69 score going into the fourth quarter.
Racine was led by Reggie Bunch who had a double-double scoring 28 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. Anthony Spencer contributed 25 points and Charles Robinson added 18 points.
At halftime, the Storm introduced Lexi Simpson, a five year old Racine girl battling leukemia, with a signed basketball, a Storm divas dance team shirt and pom poms. A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to the Simpson family. Also, the winner of the chance to win a $10,000 half-court shot instead asked that Lexi's father be given the chance to shoot the shot. Unfortunately, her father was slightly off in his attempt.
The Racine Storm play the Cyclones again on Thursday in Grand Rapids before returning to Racine for their next home game on Sunday, December 21st at 6 pm vs. Indianapolis Diesels at Case High School. There will be an early Christmas children's gift giveaway as well as a chance for adult fans to win the opportunity to go into a money machine.
Hurricane Get Vengeful Victory Against Rival 716ers
Erie, PA- The Erie Hurricane won their first game of the season against the Buffalo 716ers, 122-117 at Erie East.
The Hurricane was led by Lester Jones with a whopping 42 points. Troy Jackson Jr. chipped in 38 for the Hurricane.
The 716ers led the entire game until the final four minutes when the Erie Hurricane took the lead and never looked back.
The Hurricane’s next home game is on Saturday, January 4th at 3 pm when they host the Lynchburg Titans. Tickets are available online at www.eriehurricane.net.
Lima Express Show No Fear Against Former Midwest Champion Diesels
LIMA, Ohio --- A strong second quarter helped fuel the Lima Express in a victory over their biggest rivals, the Indianapolis Diesels, 94-79.
The game started off at a quick pace, with both teams fighting back and forth for early control. Cordaryl Ballard started strong again, helping the Express edge out Indianapolis for the lead after the first quarter, 18-17.
In the second quarter, both teams started well, but Lima then surged ahead, with Justin Manns leading the way. Manns had an impressive first half and had contributors in Willie Tisdale, Rob Hogans III, and Kyle Meyer to help the Express pull away to have the 49-35 lead at halftime. Lima outscored Indianapolis 31-18 in that quarter.
Indianapolis came out strong in the third quarter, but Lima managed to keep pace with them and were able to maintain a safe lead, outscoring the Diesels 30-26. This gave Lima the 79-61 advantage after three quarters of play.
In the fourth quarter, the Diesels once again came out strong attack the basket and Lima struggled to fight off their intensity. It was several minutes into the final quarter of play before the Express managed to get a bucket, but their lead after the first three quarters helped them stay ahead of Indianapolis. Despite the Diesels attempt at a comeback, the lead never dropped below nine, Lima polished off the victory 94-79.
The Express was once again led by Ballard, who finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Manns added another 16 points and 10 boards, while Anthony Pettaway finished with 14 points and 13 rebounds.
Also of note for Lima was Kyle Meyer's 12 points and nine rebounds and Hogans III posted 11 points.
The Indianapolis Diesels were led by Harry Marshall who had a great day despite the loss. Marshall finished with 29 points, three steals and two blocks. Chris Ames also had a solid day, scoring 15 points.
The Express improve to 2-0 on the season, while Indianapolis drops to 0-1.
Lima will be back in action this coming Sunday as they host the Lake Michigan Admirals for a 3:00pm tip-off.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 13TH
Lake Michigan Stays Undefeated on the Year After Saturday Victory
St. Joseph, MI- In what expected to be a closer game led to be a strong continuation of the product that the Lake Michigan Admirals have put together this season.
The Admirals jumped to an 23-2 lead and never looked back, pounding Danville 131-95 on Saturday.
The Admirals, now 2-0, placed seven players in double figures categories, but was led by Nick Waddell with 31 points, followed by Graciano Negron's 28.
Waddell and Courtney Blackmore combined for 26 points and 17 rebounds by halftime. Troy Taylor, Waddell and Blackmore all finished with double doubles, accounting for 31 rebounds. Lake Michigan shot 52 percent from the field and 82 percent from the charity line. The Admirals turned the ball over just 12 times.
Gerald Campbell led the Riverhawks (0-2) with 13 points. After a rough start to their season with two losses on the road, the Riverhawks will look have a chance to take over in their home nest. Starting December 20th the Riverhawks next three games will all be at home starting against the also winless Grand Rapids Cyclones.
Lake Michigan will face its first road test next Saturday when they go to Indiana to take on the Indianapolis Diesels.
Buffalo Takes Over East Division With Close Result over Erie
BUFFALO, NY — The Buffalo 716ers recorded their second win of the 2014 - 2015 PBL season after defeating the Erie Hurricane 112 - 108. This marks the ninth consecutive victory for the 716ers dating back to last season.
Forward Robert McKiver was named the Subway Eat Fresh MVP of the game for leading the team in points with 33.
“We came out, played hard, and got the win. We’re not celebrating yet, we still have one more game to go this weekend," said head coach Tawan Slaughter.
Center Antonio Speed score 18 points and led the team in rebounds with 10. Glenroy Carr (12), Austin Cooley (11), each also scored in double digits.
The 716ers travel to Erie tomorrow to face the Hurricane for a 3pm tip-off.