2006 USBL championship game recap
June 25, 2006 - United States Basketball League (USBL) News Release
MILFORD, CT (June 25, 2006) - The United States Basketball League (USBL) 2006 Championship game was played this afternoon in Dodge City, Kansas. The Dodge City Legend came into the game as the clear favorite taking the regular season series against the Cranes five games to one and playing the game on their home court.
Both coaches were confident heading into Championship Sunday. "We feel good about our chances," stated Brian Walsh, Cranes head coach, "We are playing our best basketball at the right time."
The Cranes' Jason Smith opened the game by hitting his first two jump shots to give Nebraska an early 4-0 lead. Willie Chandler answered for the Legend by converting on two lay-ups to even the score at 6 with 10:00 left in the first quarter. Jason Smith's two free throws with 8:49 to go in the first gave Nebraska 10-6 lead.
Chris Garnett failed to convert a three point play with 5:42 left in the quarter for the Cranes. On the ensuing procession, Renaldo Major drove to the rim and cut the Nebraska lead to two points after defensive goaltending was called on the shot. Jeremee McGuire made the next two baskets for the Legend pulling them within three points of the Cranes.
Renaldo Major's two free throws drew the game even with 2:42 left in the first quarter. Major found DeSean Hadley in the corner for a three-pointer to give the Legend their first lead of the game, closing out the first quarter 31-30. The Cranes shot an impressive 72% from the field in the opening quarter.
The Cranes quickly retook the lead from the Legend in the opening minutes of the second quarter, extending it to eight points after a Jason Smith jumper went in with 8:36 left in the quarter. Willie Chandler's three pointer and Laz Sims' converted three-point play brought the crowd to it's feet cutting the Nebraska lead to just four points with 7:31 remaining in the half. Jason Smith answered the Legend run with a spinning drive through the lane for two points.
Coming out of a 20-second timeout, the Cranes' Ricky Shields made a long two-pointer to put the Cranes up 51-44 with 3:03 left in the half. With 1:33 to go in the half, Dodge City's Eric Walton made a 12-foot jump shot reducing the Nebraska lead to four. Willie Chandler made a 3 point shot with 1.2 seconds remaining in the 2nd quarter to pull the Legend to within two points of the Cranes.
After an offensive foul by Jason Smith, the Legend's Jeremee McGuire backed his man down and scored on a turn-around jumper with 4:20 left in the third. Renaldo Major made four consecutive free throws to give the Legend a 69-67 lead with 3:41 to go in the games third quarter following a Nebraska turnover. The crowd again erupted after Maguire blocked Lincoln Glass' shot after driving to the basket.
After a Renaldo Major missed free throw attempt, Jeremee McGuire grabbed the rebound and was fouled as he slammed the ball through the net and converted the three-point play with 42 seconds left in the third quarter. After forcing Nebraska into a bad shot, Renaldo Major hit a three-pointer to give Dodge City its largest lead of the game.
Nebraska's Elvin Mims hit a three pointer cutting the Nebraska deficit to 80-77 in the beginning of the fourth quarter. Dodge City's Jeremee McGuire blocked an Alex Sanders shot after scoring on the other end of the floor, extending Dodge City's lead 84-79 with 7:30 remaining in the quarter. The Cranes' Jason Smith made one of two free throws after being fouled on a drive to the hoop cutting the deficit to two points with 6:30 left in the game.
Alex Sanders fouled out on an offensive foul with 4:38 remaining. Each team traded baskets to knot the game at 88 with 3:47 to go in the fourth quarter. Nebraska forced a shot clock violation on Dodge City's next possession but Nebraska could not convert at the other end as Chris Garnett missed a put-back opportunity. Legend coach Dale Osbourne called a timeout with 1:33 to go in the game trailing 94-90 after Elvin Mims hit two free throws.
Lazarus Sims made two free throws narrowing the Nebraska lead to only two points with 43 seconds left in the game. The Cranes' Jason Smith was fouled by Chris Sockwell after driving to rim. Smith made both free throws giving the Cranes a four point lead with only 27 seconds left on the clock.
Elvin Mims' breakaway dunk after a Legend miss sealed the game for the Cranes' victory. With a 100-92 win over the Legend the Nebraska Cranes won the 2006 USBL Championship.
Jason Smith finished the game with 24 points and 8 rebounds to lead the Cranes. USBL 6th Man of the Year, Elvin Mims, added 23 points, making 9 of 13 shots. Renaldo Major led all scorers with 25 points for the Dodge City Legend. Laz Sims was a perfect 10 of 10 from the free throw line, adding 20 points in the defeat. Nebraska's Alex Sanders earned the Tournament MVP honor. The rest of the All-Tournament team is listed below.
2006 USBL CHAMPIONSHIP ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
MVP: Alex Sander, Nebraska Renaldo Major, Dodge City Legend Jason Smith, Nebraska Cranes Keith Langford, Kansas Cagerz Jeremee McGuire, Dodge City Legend Lincoln Glass, Nebraska Cranes
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