The Cedar Valley CourtKings, all things considered, should have won this game by more points than your 3-year old son can count on his toes; but they didn’t. Maybe this was due to the fact that Anthony James, a CourtKings superstar, hurt his ankle during the first few minutes of quarter number one, and didn’t return. And maybe it was something to do with the way an given underdog can rally together and attempt to take down Goliath. It was definitely partially due to these two factors. But on Saturday night in the SportsPlex, in the 84-77 win over the Pitbulls (to improve to 14-0), the biggest challenge for the CourtKings was the biggest baby.
According to the books, the Pitpull’s first quarter scoring total: 17. The price of admission during Saturday’s game: $10. The sheer number of times that Pitbull head coach Newt Williams called out the name, “Big Baby”: priceless. And ‘big’, the ‘baby’ played in the first quarter. “Big Baby” or the Pitbull’s starting center, Keyshad Riddley made life hard for the CourtKings early and often.
When discovering the nickname that the Pitbulls had dubbed the unliftable baby, one may have asked: is he a big baby because a large amount of the time he acts and plays similarly to a hefty newborn child, or because he is the size a baby might be if it was fathered by Shaquille O’Neal? Even though neither option turned out to be correct, Big Baby at the SportsPlex Saturday night was closer to the latter. He did two essential things for the Pitbulls most of the game: he clogged up the lane to the point where one might have flashbacks of a crowded bus during rush hour, and he also was bustling down-low with best of them. The silent statistics he compiled undoubtedly shifted the game. With the Pitbulls coming into this game holding a league worst 1-10 record, this was a significant reason the CoutKings only led by four at the half; 38-34.
“We have to be learn to be tough with the basketball and not expect to get every call.” CourtKings head coach Michael Mohlis said.
In the shadow of Anthony Jame’s looming injury, Aundre Hicks stepped up big. Running the offense from a wide-angle lens, finding open CourtKings, just like you would find James doing on a given night. This was definitely a needed space filler, but the CourtKings a lot of the time, couldn’t find the same looks they might with James running the one. This caused the offense to always look as if they were desperately missing something, and couldn’t quite name it. Though again and again down the stretch (the 4th quarter mostly), Hicks would attempt and make all the shots his team needed. Including one from the left wing with seven minutes to go to push the lead to a manageable nine. Or maybe his heart crushing steal and layup with five minutes to go that put the team up by fourteen. Hicks outclassed everyone, even the Big Baby himself, in the 4th quarter.
“Honestly I think it suits him. If the game isn’t going his way, it’s downhill from there.” Raheem Tyner said about ‘Big Baby’. “I don’t want to have to call a grown man, a baby though.”
“They battled and played and we found a way to slip out with one.” Coach Mohlis said.
Thanks to the fans for packing the house on Saturday! There are going to be two more regular season home games coming up: on June 17th, and 24th. Come out and support a team that may never lose a game with your dedication!