Eight games down, eight games to go. After Sunday night’s 145-96 blowout win over the North Minneapolis Eagles, the Cedar Valley CourtKings have reached the midpoint of their 2019 season in the Midwest Basketball League. With eight games left on the regular season schedule in a six week span, let’s take a look at what the Kings have done thru eight games, the CourtKing players to this point, where the team sits among the tough competition in the MBL West Division and what is left to come in the second half of the season.
After two exhibition wins over the Illinois Bulldogs and Kenosha Ballers in late March, the CourtKings put on a show for their fans in their season opener at home against the Iowa’s newest team from Des Moines, the Iowa Elite Pro in a 123-118 win at the Cedar Valley SportsPlex. The CourtKings suffered their first loss of the season a week later to the new expansion team in the Eagan Bulldogs by four points, but rebounded with a strong win over the Minnesota Broncos during a two game road trip.
After beating the Rochester Roadrunners on the road and the Green Bay Area Titans at home to close out the month of April, the Kings welcomed their rivals, the Minnesota Lakers to Waterloo, where Cedar Valley posted their biggest win over their opponent from St. Paul ever in a 32 point blowout, 116-84. The Kings squeaked out a close road win on Mother’s Day weekend over the defending MBL champions T.C. Elite a week later by a score of 121-119. North Minneapolis wrapped the first half of the regular season for Cedar Valley this past weekend with the CourtKings winning big, 145-96 in their most offensive productive game of the season.
Six CourtKings sit with double-digit scoring averages at the midpoint of the year, with reigning MBL Most Valuable Player Brady Burford leading the way with 21.1 points per game. Newcomers Emeche Wells and Jaree Crawford have both made a huge impact on the Cedar Valley offense with double-digit scoring of their own, with Wells notching 19.6 a game, and Crawford with 19.5 per game. Aundre Hicks has averaged 16.5 in his eight games of action, as 2016 MBL Championship Game MVP Anthony James has posted a 15.8 points per game average and David Stanley has scored 10.8 a game.
The size of Burford, Wells and Crawford have made rebounding a key for the CourtKings attack, with all averaging over seven boards per game. Hicks and James have been critical players in moving the ball on offense for assists. Hicks leads the CourtKings with six assists a game, while James is posting 5.3 per game. Combined with Burford’s size, the addition of seven foot, one inch center has created the perfect storm for the CourtKings to block more shots in the lane.
Without much debate, the competition in the MBL’s West Division has been nothing short of intense. The 7-1 CourtKings with their win over the Eagles jumped back into the driver’s seat as division leaders, following an Eagan loss to T.C. Elite this past weekend. At 7-2, the Bulldogs only trail the CourtKings by a half game in the division. The Minnesota Lakers come in at 6-3, while T.C. Elite sits in fourth at 5-3. In their first year in the league, the Iowa Elite Pro have put together a strong start despite a 5-4 record, as have the Green Bay Area Titans who come in sixth with a 4-4 mark. The Minnesota Broncos sit in seventh at 3-5, while the Rochester Roadrunners and North Minneapolis Eagles round out the division at 1-8 and 0-8 respectively.
Having seen everybody in the division once this season, the CourtKings will now see their opponents again for a second and final time in the regular season, starting on Saturday, May 25 at Green Bay at 6:00PM, followed by the Iowa Elite Pro the next day in Des Moines at 6:30PM. June kicks with a four game homestand with the Roadrunners coming to Waterloo on Saturday, June 1. The Eagan Bulldogs make their visit to the Cedar Valley SportsPlex on Sunday, June 9, while the Broncos come to town on June 15, and T.C. Elite wrapping the home regular season lineup on June 22. All remaining home games in the regular season are schedule for a 7:30PM start time. The CourtKings will wrap the 16 game regular season with a two game road trip to Minnesota, first visiting the Eagles on June 29, then the Lakers on June 30.
The top eight teams in the West Division at the end of the regular season will qualify for the 2019 MBL Playoffs. To win the MBL title, a team must win five playoff games in a three week span, beginning with MBL West Division First Round and Semifinal Playoff Games on July 6 and 7. The top four teams in the division will host first round games, while the top two remaining seeds after the first round will host the Division Semifinals. Whichever teams remain after the first games will advance to the West Division Championship Game on July 13, with the highest remaining seed hosting the game.
The West Division champion will advance to the MBL Final Four round on July 20 in Fort Wayne, Indiana, along with the division champions of the East and South Division’s, as well as one at-large team. The MBL Championship Game will be played on July 21 in Fort Wayne, which will be followed by the league’s all-star game.
As the season enters its second half, fans can catch the online radio call of all CourtKing game with the voice of the CourtKings John Leo on the Cedar Valley Sports Network by clicking https://www.meridix.com/channel/?liveid=CVCOURTKINGS#/ to listen.
Be sure to follow the CourtKings on social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @CVCourtKings for updates and news.