From the opening tip to the final horn, the Cedar Valley CourtKings knew they would be facing a big challenge in their final exhibition game of the preseason. In a back and forth game that saw double digits leads evaporate, as well as multiple tie and lead changes, it was the CourtKings who prevailed 105-94 over the Kenosha Ballers on Saturday afternoon in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
“We definitely had to grind it out,” said head coach Michael Mohlis. “We kind of wore them out down the stretch. A great ball team from another league that we haven’t seen before.”
The CourtKings, who won their first exhibition 152-78 over the Illinois Bulldogs a week earlier, turned their attention to a highly talented Kenosha team that has won two Independent Basketball Association titles over the last few seasons.
Things started well for the Cedar Valley. Jaree Crawford, coming off a 23 point game in his CourtKing debut a week earlier, got the party started for the purple and white with a strong inside game. Kenosha was able to hit a few three point baskets, but the CourtKings were able to defend the three point arc well against a team known for kick out shots from beyond the arc. After a late quarter push, the CourtKings led 27-20 at the end of the first.
The CourtKings built their lead to double digits early in the second with good transition on to offense, and excellent defense inside at the other end. The three point shot for the CourtKings was not a factor in the first half as the deep ball often fell short. The Ballers, fueled by Cedar Valley foul trouble clawed their way back into the game and sent the CourtKings into the locker room with a three point lead, 49-46.
The back and forth picked up in the third quarter as the Ballers capitalized on CourtKing turnovers to grab the lead.
“Just relax, and let the game come to us and we’ll take advantage,” Coach Mohlis said to his players down the stretch. “We also talked offensive and how we wanted to attack.”
The Cedar Valley veteran core helped get the CourtKings back into a flow as they battled back for the lead. Anthony James, David Stanley and Queshawn Roby all hit shots for three throughout the second half to help keep the offensive momentum. Aundre Hicks also helped attack on the inside as the Ballers continually responded from inside the paint.
“AJ got going first in the second half,” Mohlis explained “Then David and Dre had their own runs. We have to work a few things out, offensively and defensively, but I thought our energy was good on the bench.”
In the final 12 minutes, the CourtKings put on a show after leading 73-72 at the end of the third. Both offense and defense began to click as Kenosha began to miss more easy shot opportunities and the CourtKings started to grab loose balls for turnovers. Rookie players began to find a flow as well, including Isaac Freeman, who netted two dunks on an 11 point day. With both offense and defense clicking, the CourtKings stretched their lead back out to double digits to seal the 11 point win, 105-94.
James led the way with 19 points. Emeche Wells netted 17 points, 14 by Hicks, 11 by Freeman and ten for Stanley.
With preseason exhibition games now completed, the CourtKings will now turn their attention to their 2019 season opener next Sunday, April 7, when they host the Iowa Elite Pro at the Cedar Valley SportsPlex. Doors open at 6:30PM with the opening tip at 7:30PM.
Tickets for the 2019 season are now selling online at cvcourtkings.com, by calling 319-404-5941 or can be purchased as the door. 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.