The third time was the charm for the Cedar Valley CourtKings minor league basketball team. The CourtKings faced the Minnesota Rangers in the MBL Championship game on Sunday afternoon. It was the 3rd meeting between the two teams this year. The Rangers won the first two meetings by 3 points each time and each time the game was played on their home court. This title game would also be in their home city but this time on a neutral court at the Minneapolis Sports Center. With a large contingency of Cedar Valley fans in the house the CourtKings would get their sweet revenge. After a slow start and trailing 17-16 after one quarter of play the CourtKings took a 46-35 lead into the locker at the half and would never trail in the game again. Cedar Valley led 79-64 at the end of 3 and then went on to win the first over MBL League Championship 108-98.
CourtKings point guard and floor leader Anthony James led the way with 30 points and a team high 5 assists. AJ played nearly 40 minutes of the 48 minute game. James was also named the MBL Finals MVP for effort. James averaged 27 points per game in the 3 game weekend finals. Aundre Hicks continued his stellar play in the championship game. Coming off a triple double in the CourtKings win on Saturday night over the MBL East #1 seed, the Dayton Air Strikers, Hicks scored 17 points, grabbed 9 rebounds and dished out 4 assists. Lamar Wall added 16 points, Alex Coleman scored 14, Gage Heffernan played well off the bench and scored 12 along with playing some great defense on one of the Rangers Top players Damian Lolar. Marvin Singleton was the 6th CourtKings player to score in double figures getting 10.
With the win the Cedar Valley CourtKings win the first ever MBL League Championship and finished the year with an impressive 13-4 record. The CourtKings lost their first two games of the season but won 13 of their last 15 with the only two losses at the Minnesota Rangers and both games were a 3 point loss.
Coach Stan Hughes on winning the MBL Title; ” I would like to thank ALL of our fans for coming to Minneapolis to support us as we made the run to win the MBL Championship. I would also like to truly thank my players, they really worked hard for me all season. I couldn’t ask for a better bunch, and winning the MBL Championship really says it all. I truly truly appreciate each and every one of them from the bottom of my heart. I love these guys like they were my own sons.”
Coach Stan Hughes on Anthony James winning the MBL Finals MVP; “This young man got his boogie on in the playoffs and he deserves to the MVP Award for the finals. I am so proud and happy for him, he truly bought into my teaching and used it to his benefit.”
Coach Stan Hughes on winning the title in Rashad Carringtons honor; ” We won this in honor of one of our fallen soldiers and teammates Rashad Carrington. He was killed in a car accident in May 2016, ad we dedicated our season to him. This is for you Champ, Rest in Heven and know we love you and are always thinking about you until we meet again.”
Owner/GM Gary Rima on winning the MBL title in their inaugural season; ” This was an absolutely amazing ride this team took us on this year. Coach Stan did an outstanding job molding this team and leading it to the championship. I appreciate the players dedication to the team and the personal sacrifices they made all season long to bring this title back to the Cedar Valley! I really appreciate and am thankful for all the fan support and sponsorship support we got in our inaugural season! Thank you to all my staff and volunteers who did great work for the team during the season. Also huge thanks to my wife and partner in this undertaking Marla Kay Rima! Was so fun to do this together! We ARE the MBL CHAMPS 2016 and I am already looking forward to what we can do in year two!”
Note: In the picture with this article the team is showing #5 in fingers for our teammate Rashad Carrington. We dedicated the season to him after he passed away in a car accident this past May.