With only one game on the calendar for Easter weekend, the Cedar Valley CourtKings (3-1) took the short trip up to Rochester, Minnesota for the final game of their three game road trip over the past two weeks on Saturday, April 20. Much like their win last Sunday at the Minnesota Broncos, the CourtKings relied greatly on good ball movement and pushing the ball in transition against a Rochester Roadrunners (1-3) team that suffered consecutive losses a week earlier by five points or less.
With a noticeable size advantage, the CourtKings would be able to have better control over rebounding, an area they have struggled with in the early season. Things started off quick for the Cedar Valley as Emeche Wells attacked on the inside and Anthony James began to catch fire from beyond the three point arc. David Stanley also played his best game of the early season, not only striking from downtown, but also inside the paint. The CourtKings were able to force Rochester into a number of rushed shots, forcing the Roadrunner’s Deonte Moore to become the unilateral leader of the Rochester offense in the first half. At the end of the first quarter, the CourtKings led 38-27.
In the second, Brady Burford took control of the Cedar Valley offense with nine points in the period, including a three from the outside. James also hit his third and fourth three point baskets of the game as well in the period. Behind Moore however, the Roadrunners put together a late rally just before halftime to cut the Cedar Valley lead to eight points at the break, 63-55.
After only scoring two points in the entire first half, Aundre Hicks took his turn to shine in the third quarter with 14 points, including two three point baskets. Burford and Wells both continued to pound the ball inside the lane and James hit once again from downtown, as did Jared Sutherland late in the third. Rochester’s Josh Adams began to take control of the Roadrunner offense in the second half, but the CourtKings continued their relentless defensive effort forcing Rochester to take quick shots and capitalizing on the defensive rebounds. At the end of the third quarter, the CourtKings were able to stretch their lead back to double digits, 100-90.
While Adams continued to command the Rochester attack mostly from the free throw line in the fourth quarter, the CourtKings put the finishing touches on another crucial road win. Burford and Wells dominated the lane in the final minutes, as Stanley finished things off with another three pointer, a mid-range jump shot and a pair of free throws as the CourtKings took care of business in Rochester, 131-114.
Five Cedar Valley players finished the day in double digit scoring figures. Burford finished the day with a team-high 30 points in the win, as Emeche Wells scored 24. Hicks scored 19 points, Stanley tallied 18 and James recorded 17 points, including five baskets from downtown.
“Our guys do a really good job of seeing what breakdowns happen and what we need to exploit on the offensive end,” said Head Coach Michael Mohlis after the win. “Rochester plays pretty hard, and they’re relentless. They did a really good job of their dribble-drive actions at us and getting downhill towards the basket.”
The CourtKings will return home on Sunday, April 28 when they play host to the Green Bay Area Titans. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at the Cedar Valley SportsPlex in Waterloo, with doors to the building opening up at 6:30 p.m.