Two weeks ago when the Cedar Valley CourtKings opened their 2018 season at home against North Minneapolis, the weather outside was described as a harsh and cold environment. Fast forward two weeks and the temperature was perfect for a night of high flying Midwest Basketball League action. After their two game road trip to Minnesota was postponed last weekend, the Cedar Valley CourtKings returned home to kick off a three game homestand against Northwest division rivals. The first of those three games would feature the defending champion CourtKings against the Rochester Roadrunners. This would be their first ever meeting as Rochester joined the league this season as an expansion team.
To open the game, both the CourtKings and Roadrunners hit the court with fast pace early on. An opening slam dunk by Raheem Tyner and deep shot block by Brady Burford gave the CourtKings the early momentum. Rochester fought back determined to stay with the two-time defending champions. After a media timeout midway through the quarter, the Roadrunners began to drain three point shots to cut into the CourtKings lead. At the end of the quarter, the score stood at 23-20 in favor of the Cedar Valley.
In the second, the CourtKings offense began to to click into place as they started to feed the ball into the paint and even draw fouls to complete three point plays at the free throw line. Rebounding on the defensive side of the ball and intense pressure helped the CourtKings shut down the Roadrunners scoring ability and forced several turnovers leading to more scoring chances. “Once we got back into the rotation and got back in the flow, we started doing better things defensively,” said head coach Michael Mohlis. “We started to contest shots, which led to where we needed to be.” At the midpoint of the second, the CourtKings had amassed a 20-6 run in the first six minutes of the quarter. Burford and Darius Campbell added a pair of slam dunks as the quarter ran down and gave the CourtKings a 59-38 halftime lead. Burford lead the Cedar Valley in scoring at the break with 14, while Lemuel Doe of Rochester led his team at the break with nine.
The third period kicked off with back to back three point buckets by Tyner and Anthony James. From there on in, the CourtKings continued to add more pressure onto Rochester. Offensive rebounding helped extend possessions and began to wear down the Roadrunners defense as the CourtKings extended the lead to 93-64 going into the final 12 minutes. The fourth quarter saw actions from substitutions off the bench including Isaiah Cotton and Tyler Richardson. Rochester attempted to push both inside the paint and from beyond the arc as the seconds ticked away, but it was too late as the CourtKings took the win, 118-91.
Aundre Hicks led the team with 25 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists while Brady Burford added another 23 points shooting 66% from the field. “The game was really open,” Hicks explained after the game. “We spread the floor pretty well and I felt like I had pretty good mobility.” Additionally, Raheem Tyner picked up 13 rebounds, eight of which came on defense.
With the win over Rochester, the CourtKings have reached a major milestone in their franchise’s history winning their 30th consecutive game against MBL opponents dating back to July 2016. This includes all exhibition, regular season, and playoff games. Next up for the Cedar Valley (2-0) will be the Minnesota Broncos (2-1) next Sunday night, April 29 at home. This will be the first of three meetings as last weekend’s first meeting in Anoka, MN was postponed due to weather. Tip off is scheduled for 7:30pm at the Cedar Valley SportsPlex.