CBA Weekly

February 25, 2003 - Continental Basketball Association 1 (CBA 1) News Release

DAKOTA, ROCKFORD, YAKIMA CLINCH PLAYOFF BERTHS

The Rockford Lightning, Yakima Sun Kings, and defending champion Dakota Wizards have clinched three of the four 2003 CBA Playoff slots, while the Grand Rapids Hoops, Gary Steelheads, and Great Lakes Storm battle it out for the remaining American Conference berth.

Rockford locked-in their second straight postseason position with a 144-134 (6,1) victory over Grand Rapids on Friday. For the Hoops to surpass the Lightning for the American Conference Regular Season title, they would need to average 6.1 quarter points over their remaining six games, and the Lightning would need to receive zero quarter points over their remaining six games. Gary and Great Lakes are out contention for the American Conference lead, however they remain in the hunt with Grand Rapids for second place.

Dakota and Yakima have maintained their first and second place positions in the National Conference since the season’s fourth day of competition. With eight games remaining for the Wizards and seven for Sun Kings, they share an identical quarter-point total of 173.0.

CBA PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

Gary Steelheads forward Galen Young earned American Conference Player of the Week honors, while Sioux Falls Skyforce forward Victor Thomas was named the National Conference recipient, for the period of February 16-22.

The 6-6, 230 lb. Young has kept the Steelheads in contention for the one remaining playoff spot by leading them to a 2-1 mark last week, behind his 23.0 ppg, on 28-51 (.549) shooting from the floor and 11-13 (.846) from the charity stripe. The 2000 CBA All-Rookie Team member scored 12 of his game-high 29 points in the fourth quarter to key a come-from-behind win over Idaho on Friday (111-103, 6-1). The UNC-Charlotte (’99) product also tallied 6.3 rpg and 2.3 bpg for the week.

Since joining the Skyforce on January 10, Thomas has averaged a team high 20.5 ppg. Last week he led his team to a 3-1 mark, including the franchise’s first victory over the defending champion Dakota Wizards (114-107, 6-1) on Saturday. Thomas, who played his first 21 games this year with the Wizards, torched his former team for a game-high 28 points, to go along with his 9 rebounds and 3 assists. For the week the 6-8, 215 lb. LaSalle (’01) product averaged 21.8 ppg on 40-65 (.615) shooting from the field, 7.5 rpg, and 2.3 apg.

Other players receiving consideration for American Conference honors were Rockford guard Albert White (30.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg), Great Lakes guard DeSean Hadley (32.0 ppg, 13.5 rpg), and Grand Rapids center Olden Polynice (19.0 ppg, 14.3 rpg). The three other players receiving consideration in the National Conference were Dakota forward Andy Panko (20.0 ppg, 11.0 rpg), Idaho guard Michael Johnson (20.3 ppg, 6.3 apg), and Yakima guard Mitchell Butler (26.0 ppg, 12.0 rpg).

CBA TRANSACTIONS

02/24/03
-Rockford placed Teddy Dupay on the Injured Reserve List, retroactive to 2/22/03.
-Sioux Falls waived William Clay.

02/20/03
-Dakota signed Kevin Beard and waived John Thomas.
-Rockford placed Reggie Jordan on the Active Roster and waived Brian Wardle.

02/19/03
-The CBA League Office fined and suspended (one game, #31) Chris Allen (Great Lakes) for an unsportsmanlike act, and Immanuel McElroy (Grand Rapids) for leaving the vicinity of the bench and involvement in an altercation; fined Olden Polynice (Grand Rapids) for an unsportsmanlike act; and fined Chris Bacon (Grand Rapids), Alvin Jefferson (Great Lakes), Tim Kisner (Grand Rapids), Ricky Price (Great Lakes), Alex Scales (Grand Rapids), Kevin Simmons (Grand Rapids), Cam Stephens (Great Lakes), and Justice Thigpen (Great Lakes) for leaving the vicinity of the bench during an altercation in Game #160.

AROUND THE CBA (Team notes contributed by the respective team’s media relations department)

DAKOTA WIZARDS: The Dakota Wizards were in Sioux Falls for a two-game match up on Thursday and Saturday nights; On Friday the Wizards defeated the Skyforce 128-107, and received six quarter-points. Oliver Miller led the Wizards with 26 points. On Saturday the Skyforce beat the Dakota Wizards for the first time in franchise history, winning 114-107. Since the rebirth of the CBA last season, Dakota had won all 12 contests. Andy Panko led the Wizards with 22 points and Victor Thomas of Sioux Falls led all scorers with 28 points. On Sunday the Dakota Wizards returned home from a 20-day road trip to put on a show for the 3100 rowdy fans in a 114-101 victory over the Sioux Falls Skyforce. The Wizards picked up 6.5 of the possible seven quarter points. Andy Panko once again led the Wizards with 26 points. Derek Grimm came off the bench and provided a big spark for Dakota, scoring 20 points on 7-of-9 shooting. He scored 13 of those 20 points in the fourth quarter. The Wizards, in first place  in the CBA's National Conference, with 25-15 mark and 4.33 quarter point average, will next host the Idaho Stampede Tuesday evening at the Bismarck Civic Center. Tip-off is 7:05 pm.

GARY STEELHEADS: The Steelheads 110-109 win at Yakima on Monday was their 22nd of the season and it tied a franchise record for most wins in a season. Last year’s team also won 22 games. It was also a franchise-tying ninth road win …The Steelheads are 3-0 on Mondays … The Steelheads have a three-game winning streak – all wins coming on the road … The Steelheads went 2-1 last week and won on Sunday of this week. They beat Idaho 116-110 as they swept all four games from the Stampede. The only other time the Steelheads have swept a season series was last year when they won all four games against the Saskatchewan Hawks … The Steelheads are battling Grand Rapids for the final American Conference playoff spot. Gary hosts Great Lakes on Thursday at 7:05 p.m. … The six wins this month are a franchise record for wins in the month of February …Galen Young became the fourth Steelhead to win the American Conference Player of the Week Award. The 6-foot-6 forward won it for the week of Feb. 16-22. It was the fifth time a Steelheads has won it this year. Bryant Notree won it twice and Oliver Miller and Silas Mills each won it one time. Young scored 12 of his game-high 29 points on Friday in the fourth quarter to key a Steelheads’ come-from-behind 111-103 win over Idaho. Young shot 54.9 percent from the field, 84.6 from the foul line and 66.7 percent from 3-point range as he averaged 23 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.3 blocks, 2.3 assists and 2.0 steals. He also blocked a season-high five shots on Feb. 16 against Great Lakes. He also scored 30 points in that game – tying a season-high … Players, Steelie and Associate Head Coach Dale Osbourne will make seven school visits this week. Steelie will kick off the week with a visit to the East Chicago Public Library on Tuesday at 3 p.m. The lovable mascot, a player and Osbourne will visit Grissom, Beveridge and Vohr elementary schools on Wednesday. The Steelheads will be at Aetna and Spaulding elementary schools on Friday and will also visit Emerson School for Visual and Performing Arts on the same day … The Steelhearts, the Steelheads’ cheer and dance team, will visit Block Middle School in East Chicago on Friday ... The Steelheads have announced the three winners in their “Cheer for Education” program. Vohr Elementary School in Gary repeats as the elementary school winner. Scott Middle School of Hammond won the middle school division while Munster High School of Munster won the high school/college division. Each school will receive a $500 scholarship, courtesy of the Steelheads. They will receive their awards at halftime of the March 8 game vs. Dakota … Junior Burrough scored 62 points (21.3 avg.) last week and averaged 9.3 rebounds per game and Silas Mills scored 60 (20.0 avg.) … Jemeil Rich’s 318 assists are a single-season high for the Steelheads. The guard has played all 48 minutes in a game eight times this season … He also has six double-doubles (points/assists) this season … Darrin Hancock is the team’s all-time assist leader with 330.

GRAND RAPIDS HOOPS: The Grand Rapids HOOPS battle to secure the final playoff spot in the American Conference continues as they head out on their final trip west this season.  In the coming week, the HOOPS will face National Conference powers, the Dakota Wizards and Yakima Sun Kings (twice).  Last week, Grand Rapids allowed a chance to solidify their hold on second place slip through their fingers, as a close loss to the Rockford Lightning, combined with a three-game winning streak by the Gary Steelheads, left the HOOPS with a very slim advantage.  Grand Rapids began the week with a convincing 131-111 victory over the Great Lakes Storm…The win extended the HOOPS longest home winning streak of the season to five.  Alex Scales led the team with 33 points (12-25 FG), while Olden Polynice hauled in a game-high 16 rebounds. On Friday night, Grand Rapids dropped their eighth game in ten meetings with the Lightning, 144-134.  The HOOPS were led by a trio of twenty-point scorers, including Polynice's season-high 24 points (12-16 FG).  Scales led the way with 26 points (7-17 FG), but Rockford's duo of Albert White (32 points) and Ronnie Fields (29 points) proved too tough down the stretch.  The 144 points posted by Rockford is a season-high for Grand Rapids…During the past week, members of the Grand Rapids HOOPS stopped by Godfrey Lee Elementary School. The team also held a day-long basketball clinic with the local Boy Scouts of America and visited sick and injured patients at the DeVos Children's Hospital. The HOOPS completed a stretch of 14 consecutive games against American Conference foes with an 8-6 record.  Grand Rapids has now used 14 different starting line-ups this season.  Thus far, Grand Rapids has an 11-6 record against their final four opponents of the season (Dakota, Yakima, Sioux Falls, Gary).

GREAT LAKES STORM: On February 19th, the Storm traveled to Grand Rapids where the Hoops handed the Storm a 131-111 defeat. Great Lakes (18-26) continued their struggles in the second half as they were unable to gain a single quarter point in losing for the ninth time in eleven games. DeSean Hadley led the Storm in the loss setting a game high of 34 points and 12 rebounds, while Cam Stephens also chipped in 25 points (a new game high) and 11 rebounds…Alex Scales led the aerial assault for Grand Rapids, draining seven of twelve three-point attempts on his way to a team-high 33 points (12-25 FG). Jerald Honeycutt also played a tremendous all-around game, scoring 21 points (7-17 FG), dishing out a season-high 12 assists and hauling in eight rebounds…The Hoops were without Immanuel McElroy, who was suspended for one game for leaving the bench during an altercation near the end of Monday night's contest between the two teams. The Storm's Chris Allen was also suspended for his role. Several other players were also fined for straying from the bench area… DeSean Hadley was nominated for the second time this season for the Player of the Week award. Last week DeSean set a new game high twice. He averaged 32 ppg and 13.5 rpg…In other Storm News, March 3rd is Coca-Cola Fan Appreciation Night when the Storm plays their last home game for the season against the Gary Steelheads at 7:05 P.M. Anyone that brings a Coca-Cola can, or any other Coca-Cola carbonated product can to the March 3rd game will receive $2 off any Storm ticket…Also, during Coca-Cola Fan Appreciation Night, Former Detroit Piston Rick Mahorn will do the ceremonial tip-off and give autographs. Rick, who is now the Piston’s radio analyst, was a CBA coach. He was a two-time CBA Coach of the Month for the Rockford Lightning, guiding the club to a 15-7 record, an American Conference Title and CBA Playoff appearance in 1999-2000… As part of the Storm’s Read to Succeed Program, head coach Jeff Grayer, Cam Stephens, Justus Thigpen, and Ricky Price read to the first graders of Brownell Elementary School in Flint on February 20th. Flint’s Comcast Channel 17 will be airing the event on March 3rd at 4:00 P.M…This coming Friday, February 28th, head coach Jeff Grayer and Ricky Price will head to Bridgeport Middle School in Bridgeport to give 50 students with the greatest grade improvement for this quarter free tickets to the Coca-Cola Fan Appreciation Night on March 3rd.

IDAHO STAMPEDE: The Idaho Stampede played three games last week, one on the road and two at home, losing all three.  Idaho played at Sioux Falls last Tuesday, before hosting the Gary Steelheads for two straight over the weekend in the Idaho Center…Idaho fell to the Sioux Falls Skyforce 115-110 (5,2) on Tuesday night at the Sioux Falls Arena. The loss dropped the Stampede to 13-27 on the season…The Stampede fell behind early, trailing 36-27 after the first period. Idaho rallied to win the second and third quarters, and the fourth period started with the score tied at 87-87. The final stanza was back-and-forth for most of the twelve minutes, before the Stampede built an eight-point lead with under four minutes to play. That lead, however, slipped away as Sioux Falls fought back to pick up their third straight victory…Guard Michael Johnson led all scorers with 29 points, while also pulling down seven rebounds and handing out seven assists. Brian Green added 22 points and George Reese, playing against his former team, tossed in 21 points…Three nights later, the Stampede suffered through an almost four-minute scoring drought to end the game, as the Gary Steelheads escaped with a 111-103 (6,1) victory in front of a season high crowd of 3,782 fans at the Idaho Center. The loss drops the Stampede to 13-28 on the season…Idaho started off slow, trailing 32-22 after the first period, but rebounded in the second quarter to tie the game at 59-59 heading in to halftime. With the scored tied at 80 and only 10 seconds remaining in the third stanza, the Stampede had a chance to win the quarter point, but a turnover led to an Idaho foul and Gary's Silas Mills hit both free throws to win the period by two. Gary ended the game with the fourth quarter point and ended the game with six of seven quarter points…Idaho's George Reese notched his best game for the Stampede, with 28 points and 10 rebounds for the double-double. He was followed by Brian Green with 18 points and Michael Johnson with 17 points. Gary's Galen Young led all scorers with 29 points…On Sunday, the Stampede fell for the fifth straight time, including two in a row at home, as the Gary Steelheads completed the season series sweep with a 116-110 (5,2) victory over the Stampede at the Idaho Center Sunday afternoon. The loss drops Idaho's record to 13-29.

ROCKFORD LIGHTNING: With a win against Great Lakes on Tuesday night, the Rockford Lightning will finish February with a 9-2 record. That would represent the team's best winning percentage (.818) in any month since the team went a perfect 11-0 in March of 1993. Rookie Head Coach Chris Daleo has led the Lightning to at least 3 games over .500 in each of his first four months at the helm. It marks the first time in franchise history that a team has gone 3 games or more over .500 in each of the first four months of the season...The Lightning have clinched a playoff spot and will clinch the American Conference crown with a 6-1 quarter point victory Tuesday against Great Lakes…Ronnie Fields is just 2 points shy of becoming the Lightning's third member of the 2,000 career point club. Fields is also just 15 points shy of 1,000 for the season. Teammate Albert White needs just 27 points to crack the 1,000 point plateau…Defending American Conference player of the week and Lightning point guard Teddy Dupay tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee on a drive to the basket in the third quarter in Friday's win over Grand Rapids. Dupay is out for the season and probably won't be ready to resume his basketball career for 8-12 months. To fill the roster space vacated by Dupay, the Lightning look to a familiar face. Chauncey Jones played the first 5 games for Rockford this season and he will also take part in the last 6 regular season contests, starting with Tuesday's home game against the Great Lakes Storm. Jones averaged 5.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.4 steals this season with a season high of 10 points in the Lightning's season opener against Tuesday's opponent Great Lakes…The Rockford Lightning are 14-8 away from the MetroCentre, that's 4 more road wins than any other CBA team. The Lightning are the only CBA team that's over .500 away from home. The Lightning have 2 more road games this regular season, March 1st at Dakota and March 2nd at Sioux Falls.

SIOUX FALLS SKYFORCE: The Sioux Falls Skyforce completed their week with a 2-2 record highlighted by a 114-107 victory over Dakota. It was the team's first in franchise history as their record against the Wizards stands at 1-13. On Tuesday evening, the Force also grabbed a win against the Idaho Stampede at the Sioux Falls Arena…The Skyforce picked up a 115-110 win over Idaho as CBA Player of the Week Victor Thomas paced the way with 24 points and 10 rebounds. Kelley McClure chipped in with 23 points and 9 assists. The 6'1" Otterbein College product was a perfect 11 of 11 from the charity stripe in route to capturing 5.0 quarter points…On Thursday night, the Force hosted the Dakota Wizards. The Wizards used a second quarter outburst to defeat the Force 128-107. Sioux Falls was once again led by McClure who finished with 23 points. The Philadelphia 76'ers mascot Hip-Hop was also in attendance and brought the Arena crowd to their feet with his acrobatic dunks…Before a boisterous Arena crowd of 4,768, the Force picked up the franchises' first victory over Dakota Saturday night. Former Wizard Victor Thomas led the way with 28 points and 9 rebounds. The LaSalle product was 8 of 11 from the field. Kelley McClure contributed with 26 points…The teams traveled to Dakota for a rematch on Sunday evening. Sioux Falls, clearly missing the services of an injured Kelley McClure, was defeated 114-101.Victor Thomas and Doug Overton led the way with 20 points each…Sioux Falls has 3 home games and 3 road games remaining on the season. High-flying Victor Thomas was named CBA Player of the Week for the second consecutive week. He averaged 21.8 ppg, 7.5 rpg, and 2.3 apg while connecting on 62% of his shots.

YAKIMA SUN KINGS: For the fifth consecutive season, the Yakima Sun Kings have qualified for the CBA Playoffs.  The Sun Kings will match-up with the Dakota Wizards in a best-of-five series for the National Conference Championship and the right to face the American Conference Champion for the 2002-2003 CBA Title.  Currently Yakima is in second place trailing Dakota for the regular season title.  If the Wizards own homecourt advantage, the series will be a 2-2-1, but if Yakima has homecourt, the series will have a 2-3 format.  Regardless the first two games will be played in Bismarck, ND on March 11th and 12th, respectively, with the teams returning to Yakima for Game 3, and, if necessary, Game 4…Recently Damian Cantrell overtook Dakota's Oliver Miller for the CBA league in double-doubles.  Over the weekend, the energetic Sun King knocked off Miller and became the leading rebounder in the league.  Cantrell is averaging 12.8rpg to Miller's 12.5rpg.  The 6-foot-5 forward, who was recorded a double-double in 21 consecutive games, has 27 on the season.  Cantrell also is number one in the CBA in offensive rebounds at 4.4 per game and is second in the league in three-point shooting, 46.0%…Yakima's loss to Gary on February 24th snapped the Sun Kings' franchise-record nine-game home winning streak.  The streak had began on January 21st.  Yakima owns the best home record in the CBA at 18-3 with two of the losses coming by only 1 point.

PRIMETIME PERFORMANCES

Galen Young tallied game highs of 30 points, 14 rebounds, 5 blocks, and 3 steals in a 123-96 (6-1) Gary Steelheads victory over the Great Lakes Storm on February 16.

Michael Johnson posted 29 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists, and 5 steals for the Idaho Stampede in a 115-110 (5-2) loss to the Sioux Falls Skyforce on February 18.

DeSean Hadley produced team highs in points (34) and rebounds (12) for the Great Lakes Storm on February 19, in a 131-111 (7-0) loss to the Grand Rapids Hoops.

Galen Young of the Gary Steelheads scored 12 of his game-high 29 points in the fourth quarter to key a come-from-behind win over Idaho (111-103, 6-1) on February 21. He also gathered 5 rebounds, made 2 steals, and blocked 2 shots.

Victor Thomas, who played his first 21 games this year with the Dakota Wizards, led the Sioux Falls Skyforce to their first ever win over Dakota (114-107) on February 22, behind his game-high 28 points. He also pulled down 9 rebounds and made 3 assists.

THIS WEEK IN CBA HISTORY

On February 25, 1992 La Crosse Catbirds point guard David Rivers dished a CBA record 27 assists in a 142-120 (7-0) win over the Columbus Horizon, breaking the old mark of 26 shared by Mark Wade (Pensacola, 1988) and Bryan Warrick (Wisconsin, 1986). Rivers averaged a CBA season record 12.9 apg that season, and with head coach Flip Saunders led the Catbirds to a CBA championship. The Notre Dame (’88) product earned 1992 All-League First Team and 1992 Playoff MVP honors.

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