The late April cold weather of the weekend didn’t seem to slow down the home team as the Cedar Valley CourtKings (4-1) stayed hot in a 138-121 over the Green Bay Area Titans (3-2) in Waterloo at the Cedar Valley SportsPlex on April 28.
Riding a two-game winning streak and looking to stay unbeaten at home in franchise history, the CourtKings faced a challenging opponent from Wisconsin, who in their first year in the Midwest Basketball League, have created a strong offensive attack, led by former University of Wisconsin, Green Bay standout Steven Baker.
The Titans came out swinging and grabbed an early lead in the contest before Jaree Crawford began to take control of the inside game. Aundre Hicks also helped with the mid-range game with five first quarter points. Baker proved to be the primary challenge for the CourtKings as he exploded for 16 of his game-high 38 points on the night, primarily from the inside the paint. The CourtKings ended the first quarter trailing 39-32.
While the CourtKings were unable to completely stop Baker, they did start to slow him down in the second period as the Cedar Valley defense came through in critical rebounding opportunities and on the offensive side of the ball, where they continued to pound and wear down the Green Bay interior attack. Brady Burford heated up after only scoring two points in the first quarter, as did Emeche Well and Jared Sutherland, who delivered a pair of clutch three-point baskets in the first half. With a surging offense, the CourtKings went into the halftime break with a one point edge, 68-67.
Crawford dominated the second half for the CourtKings with 19 points in the final 24 minutes of play from both inside and at the free throw line. Wells also put together a highly productive third period with 13 points. David Stanley and Anthony James also put together solid after slow starts in the first half, both providing the long ball shot for the CourtKings from beyond the arc. Marcell Kemp took over for the Titans in the second half as the CourtKings, with a hot offense and persistent defense, jumped out to a 111-99 lead at the end of the third period.
The CourtKings, behind Crawford, Hicks, James and Kelvin Mackey drained the final 12 minutes of play away quickly as the Green Bay offense continued to struggle in the late minutes. With the game well in hand, the Cedar Valley cruised to the end of their final game of April to pick up their fourth win of the year, and their third straight.
Crawford ended the night with a team-high 34 points. Five other CourtKings posted double-digits numbers in scoring, including Wells with 24, Hicks with 18, Burford with 17, Stanley with 14 and James with 11 points.
The win now puts the CourtKings into sole possession of second place in the MBL West Division with a 4-1 record, one game behind division leaders Eagan (5-0). Green Bay drops to fifth place at 3-2.
“It wasn’t us,” Head Coach Michael Mohlis said as he described the CourtKings’ slow start in the first half. “Coming out in the second half, we regrouped a bit and started to flow better.”
Next up for the CourtKings, they return home again next Sunday, May 5 as they host the Minnesota Lakers (4-1) to renew one of the division’s most intense rivalries.
“We saw them in the championship in our first year (2016),” Coach Mohlis says. “It’s always a big time game between both teams, and I’m definitely excited to get them at home.”
Doors to the Cedar Valley SportsPlex will open at 6:30PM for the 7:30PM tip-off. Tickets are available for purchase at the door upon entry. Fans can experience our new courtside seating for $20 for a single game or all eight home games for $99. Adults single game tickets cost $10, while season tickets run for $59. Youth and college students can purchase single game tickets for $5, season tickets for $30, or youth/college student courtside seating for $15.
Those unable to attend the game can catch the Voice of the CourtKings John Leo with the online radio call of the game at https://www.meridix.com/channel/?liveid=CVCOURTKINGS#/ with a 7:20PM pregame show.