Last July, the Cedar Valley CourtKings returned home from Huntsville, Texas bringing back some new hardware in their possession in a second championship trophy. After defeating the Ft. Wayne Vision in last season’s MBL championship game 121-106, the dream of a 19-0 undefeated campaign was fulfilled. On Sunday night, that dream will be remembered as the 2017 team is honored in a pregame ceremony prior to the season opener against the North Minneapolis Eagles, which will include the distribution of the championship rings as well as the unveiling of the second championship banner. Coming into the third season of operation, team owner and general manager Gary Rima expressed his excitement for another great year of success for his team. “There is a lot of behind the scenes work that goes into putting a team together for another season,” he says. “I’m always excited for opening night to see how it all comes together! It will also be great to honor last year’s 19-0 championship team and present them with their rings, and drop a second MBL championship banner!”
Last weekend in an exhibition game in Charles City against the Wisconsin Gamechangers, the CourtKings pulled off a 134-117 win. Rookie forward Brady Burford led the team in scoring with 20 points, while Raijon Kelly and Aundre Hicks both added 19 and 17 respectively. Coming into Sunday’s game, the CourtKings are looking to add to their unbeaten streak, which currently sits at 26 games dating back to July 2016. Additionally, the CourtKings will aim to protect their home record at the Cedar Valley SportsPlex, where they have not lost in 17 games.
The Eagles, who enter their first MBL season as a full member, started the 2017 season off well winning four of their first seven games as a branding division team. However down the stretch they struggled, claiming victory in only one of their last four games. One of these losses included a 170-102 blowout against the CourtKings in Waterloo as part of a 5-6 season. With a steady offense opposing them, the CourtKings, who averaged 122.8 points per game as opposed to the Eagles 105.9 per game, will face a formidable offensive attack on the court. The Eagles will also bring a plethora of height to this game. 11 of their 14 men on the roster stand at six feet or taller, with many of them being guards. This will create a challenge on the offensive side of the ball with the Eagles trying to contest shots by the CourtKings.
For the CourtKings, several of familiar faces are expected to return to the court, including former Northern Iowa standout Anthony James, 2017 MBL championship game MVP Raijon Kelly, Aundre Hicks, and David Stanley, who recently returned from playing in the ABA with the St. Pete Tide. A number of new players to this year’s roster look to make an impact in their first regular season game with the CourtKings. Some include former William Penn standouts Brady Burford and Bradley Dockemeyer, as well as MBL veterans Marcus Smith and Darius Campbell.
Tip off for Sunday’s game is set for 7:30pm at the Cedar Valley SportsPlex. Tickets can be purchased at the door for $10 for adults, $5 for children aged 18 and younger, and free for those aged five and under. Internet broadcaster John Leo will have the call of the game with pregame coverage starting at approximately 7:15pm at cvcourtkings.com.