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CBA Weekly

March 26, 2007 - Continental Basketball Association 1 (CBA 1) News Release

ALBANY PATROONS, YAKAMA SUN KINGS BATTLE IN CBA CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS

Teams have won a combined six championships

The opponents for the 2007 Continental Basketball Association Playoffs have been finalized, as the Albany Patroons captured five quarter points against the Indiana Alley Cats to overtake the Minot Skyrockets for the American Conference championship, and the honor of taking on the CBA defending champion Yakama Sun Kings in the CBA Finals.

By virtue of their 35-13 record, and 230 quarter points, the National Conference Champion Yakama Sun Kings captured home court advantage for the CBA Finals. The Sun Kings will host Games 3, 4, and 5 on Friday, March 30, Sunday, April 1, and Tuesday, April 3 at the Yakama Sun Dome. The American Conference Champion Albany Patroons will host Games 1 and 2 on Tuesday, March 27 and Wednesday, March 28 at the Washington Avenue Armory.

"For the second season in a row we didn't know who were going to be the participants in the CBA Playoffs until the final minute of the last game of the season," said CBA Director of Operations Dennis Truax. "Minot played great at the end of the season, but Albany was able to do what it had to do to move on and win. Both teams should be proud of their effort this season. Yakama has sailed through the regular season in record fashion and will be looking to defend their CBA crown. Good luck to both teams and may the best team win."

The Yakama Sun Kings are the defending CBA playoff champions, and have won the coveted Ramsdell Trophy on four separate occasions, in 1995 (best-of-seven against the Pittsburgh Piranhas), 2000 (tournament elimination game, defeated La Crosse Bobcats), 2003 (single-elimination game, defeated Grand Rapids Hoops), and 2006 (best-of-three series, defeated Gary Steelheads). The Sun Kings sent four players to this year's CBA All-Star Classic; Yakama head coach Paul Woolpert was the head coach of the National Conference, and second-year player Ralph Holmes was named the All-Star Classic Most Valuable Player.

The Albany Patroons have raised the Ramsdell Trophy twice in their lifetime, first in 1984 (best-of-five) and again in 1988 (best-of-seven), both times against the Wyoming Wildcatters. Three Patroons went to the All-Star Classic, and Pats head coach Micheal Ray Richardson coached the American Conference squad at the All-Star Classic. Richardson was named CBA Coach of the Month for December 2006; Jamario Moon, T.J. Thompson and Kwan Johnson were each named CBA Player of the Week at various times in the season.

DID YOU KNOW?

Five of the six championship titles shared by the Patroons and Sun Kings were achieved against franchises who, in the season after their championship runs, did not finish the year (1988 Wyoming Wildcatters relocated; 1995 Pittsburgh Piranhas folded; 2000 La Crosse Bobcats folded in mid-season; 2003 Grand Rapids Hoops did not return; 2006 Gary Steelheads left for USBL).

CBA FINALS TRIVIA NOTES:

- Micheal Ray Richardson (Albany head coach) can be the second coach in the CBA's modern (post-1979) era to win CBA championships as both a player and as a head coach; Richardson was on the 1988 Patroons CBA championship squad. Henry Bibby, who won CBA rings as a player (Lancaster, 1982) and as a coach (Tulsa Fast Breakers, 1989) is the only other person to achieve this feat.

- Kareem Reid (Albany guard) has a chance to win his fourth separate minor league championship title, with his previous rings earned as a member of the Arkansas RimRockers (ABA 2005), Ashville Altitude (NBDL 2004), and Pennsylvania ValleyDawgs (USBL 2001).

- Derrick Rowland (Albany assistant coach) could earn his third Patroons championship title (he played on the 1984 and 1988 Patroons championship squads).

- Paul Woolpert (Yakama head coach) could win his third CBA championship trophy, tying him with Dave Joerger for second place among all CBA head coaches; only Bill Musselman, with four championship titles (1985, 1986, 1987, 1988) has had greater playoff success.

- Leonard White (Yakama forward) can win his second consecutive CBA championship; he also won a USBL title in 2005 with the Dodge City Legend..

- Elvin Mims (Yakama forward) can win his second consecutive CBA championship; he also won a championship in 2006 with the USBL's Nebraska Cranes.

- Ralph Holmes (Yakama guard) can win his second CBA championship in his second professional season.

- Greg Stevenson (Yakama guard) can earn his first CBA championship, to go with his NBDL title (Ashville Altitude, 2004).

- Chris Alexander (Yakama center) and Carl Mitchell (Albany forward) are returning to the finals for the second consecutive year; both Alexander and Mitchell were members of the 2005 finals runners-up Gary Steelheads.

- Two Albany Patroons were once members of the Entertainers Basketball Classic at Rucker Park; Kareem Reid (Terror Squad, 2002-2004, 2006) and John Strickland (2002 Terror Squad, 2006 Pearl Harbor)

- Two Patroons and a Sun King are former Harlem Globetrotters: John Strickland, Jamario Moon, and Eddy Barlow.

- Kwan Johnson (Albany guard) was once a member of the Sun Kings, having played for the team in 1998 and 1999.

- In the 1991-92 season, these teams met in a game that took four overtimes to decide; the game was eventually won by the Sun Kings 166-160.

- Both teams split the four regular season games 2-2 apiece; both teams recording one road win, one road loss, one home win and one home loss.

- The head coaches of Albany and Yakama, Micheal Ray Richardson and Paul Woolpert, met in the 2007 All-Star Classic, in which the National side, coached by Woolpert, won 134-131 in overtime over Micheal Ray Richardson's American Conference squad.

PAUL WOOLPERT WINS CBA COACH OF THE MONTH

Second award this season for Sun Kings head coach

The CBA is pleased to announce that Yakama Sun Kings head coach Paul Woolpert has earned Coach of the Month honors for the month of March 2007. This is Woolpert's second Coach of the Month award this season; he previously won the title in January.

In fifteen March contests, Woolpert's Yakama Sun Kings posted an 11-4 record, earning 74 quarter-points for a 4.93 quarter-point average, the highest among all active CBA teams that month. During that time period, the Sun Kings clinched the CBA National Division title, and earned home-court advantage in the 2007 CBA Finals, meaning they will host their playoff opponents, the Albany Patroons, for games 3, 4 and 5 at the Yakima Valley SunDome.

Woolpert is currently tenth all-time on the CBA coaching list with 205 wins.

COREY MINNIFIELD WINS CBA PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Pittsburgh Xplosion forward averaged 24 points per game

The Continental Basketball Association is pleased to announce that Pittsburgh Xplosion forward Corey Minnifield has been named the CBA Player of the Week for the week ending March 26, 2007. Minnifield is the second Xplosion player to earn the honors this season; Kevin Pittsnogle was named Player of the Week on January 2nd.

Since joining the Xplosion earlier this season, Corey Minnifield has been one of the Steel City quintet's top stars and leading scorers. In Pittsburgh's last four games of the season, the 6'8" forward from Si Tanka (South Dakota) helped keep the Xplosion competitive in the last four games of the team's maiden CBA campaign. On March 21, in a 119-103 [6-1] win over the Indiana Alley Cats, Minnifield dropped 25 points and added 13 rebounds; he would also put up 24 points in a March 22nd game against Minot; as well as 21 more points in the March 23rd rematch against the Skyrockets. In Pittsburgh's final game of the season, March 25th on the road against the defending champion Yakama Sun Kings, Minnifield led the Black and Gold with 26 points. Minnifield was a mid-season acquisition for the Xplosion; and has become one of the franchise's top scorers and a team fan favorite.

Other players receiving consideration for Player of the Week honors are:

Jamario Moon, Albany; Anthony Richardson, Butte; Jamar Howard, Great Falls; Chandler Thompson, Indiana; Desmond Ferguson, Minot; Ralph Holmes, Yakama

TEAM REPORTS

Albany Patroons (30-18, 197.5 QP, 4.11 AVG, 1st place, American Conference)

The Patroons faced the Minot Skyrockets for the final time in the 2006-07 season; but after both teams rocked back and forth, with the lead changing several times, the Patroons bowed 99-95 [5-2], but by taking two quarter-points in the game, Albany claimed the first tiebreaker against Minot for the championship round (best quarter-point average in head-to-head matchups). Kwan Johnson had 24 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Patroons in both categories; Kareem Reid's 11 assists led the Pats that night. Albany now headed to the Anderson Wigwam for their final two games of the regular season, both contests against the Indiana Alley Cats. Friday night, the Patroons took the lead early and pulled away with a 128-108 [5-2] victory. Three Patroons achieved amazing double-doubles on the night - Jamario Moon led the Patroons with 24 points and 17 rebounds; Carl Mitchell's 15 rebounds went well with his 13 points; and Kareem Reid gave (18 assists) as much as he received (20 points); Reid's 18 assists set a new single-game Patroons team record. In Albany's final game of the regular season, the Patroons had to either beat Indiana outright, or lose while taking three quarter-points. As the game progressed, Albany fell behind by as many as 16 points while their opponents rained 3-pointers in the third quarter. But thanks to clutch play by Jamario Moon and Kareem Reid, the Patroons were able to come back and take the game 118-114 [5-2] - and with it, the American Conference championship. Jamario Moon had a night to remember - 29 points, 12 rebounds, three steals, two blocks, and a monster dunk or two. Moon was one of six Patroons to score in double figures; Kareem Reid had 20 points and 11 assists; John Strickland added 19 points; and Carl Mitchell's 11 points were buttressed with 12 rebounds.

Butte Daredevils (21-27, 150.0 QP, 3.13 AVG, 3rd place, National Conference)

With just 43 seconds left on the clock and Yakama ahead by five points in their Tuesday matchup at the Butte Civic Center, all seemed lost for the Daredevils. John Millsap sank two free throws, then after Yakama's Chris Alexander missed two charity shots with 19 seconds left on the clock, Butte's Anthony Richardson took the ball - but just before Richardson could shoot from behind the arc, he was fouled. Richardson canned both free throws, cutting Yakama's lead to a single point. After Yakama missed two more free throws, Ronald Ross tried for a three - the ball bounced out of the cylinder, and Anthony Richardson picked up the rebound - took a shot - and the ball went through the nets with microseconds left on the clock, giving Butte a 105-104 [5-2] victory. Richardson finished the night with 27 points to lead all Daredevils in scoring; Nick VanderLaan added another 15 boards to his collection. In the Wednesday night rematch, Butte tried to assemble another strong comeback, and actually held the Sun Kings to 9 points in the fourth quarter (the league record for fewest points in a quarter is 8). Still, the Daredevils could not come back all the way from an immense deficit, losing 94-83 [6-1]. Anthony Richardson and Ronald Ross were two of five Daredevils with double-digit scoring tallies, both men had 14 points apiece; Nick VanderLaan was still king of the rebounds, pulling down 14 Daredevil boards. Butte finished the season with a win on Sunday night against their in-state rivals, the Great Falls Explorers, with a 110-103 [6-1] road victory. Ronald Ross (27 pts) and Odell Bradley (26 pts) took the scoring honors, while Nick VanderLaan's 17 rebounds gave the lanky center 550 boards for the season, averaging 11.7 boards per game in 47 contests.

Great Falls Explorers (24-24, 162.0 QP, 3.38 AVG, 2nd place, National Conference)

On Thursday night at Four Seasons Arena, Great Falls' Jamar Howard nailed a clutch 3-pointer off an inbounds play with 29 seconds left in the game, to boost the Explorers to a 94-89 [5-2] victory over the Yakama Sun Kings. In the game, Great Falls held an 88-87 lead following a pair of Keith Salcheider free throws; later on, with one second left on the clock, Jovan Harris found Howard from behind the arc, Howard dodged his defender and sank the shot to win the game. Harris finished the night with 24 points; Travis Garrison added 12 rebounds to his collection. One more matchup against their in-state rivals, the Butte Daredevils, would complete the Explorers' season. In front of 1,675 fans at the Four Seasons Arena, Great Falls fell to the Daredevils 110-103 [6-1], despite 25 points and 12 assists from Javon Harris. Travis Garrison added 22 points and 10 rebounds in the Explorers loss. The Explorers, however, did win the Battle of Montana; in twelve games against the Daredevils, the Blue and White won seven contests against Butte's five wins.

Indiana Alley Cats (23-25, 163.5 QP, 3.41 AVG, 3rd place, American Conference)

Shaun Fountain scored 37 points to lead the Alley Cats in scoring Wednesday night, but it wasn't enough to give Indiana a much-needed win against the Pittsburgh Xplosion - Indiana fell 119-103 [6-1] on the road to Pittsburgh. Josh Murray and Lester Jones each added 13 points; Romeo Augustine had 10 points and 10 boards - as well as three steals and two blocked shots in the game. The Alley Cats could now play spoiler against the Albany Patroons, who were fighting for a playoff berth. In a closely-fought quarter-point battle at the Anderson Wigwam, the Alley Cats lost 128-108 [5-2], but took two quarter-points in the match, outscoring Albany 29-27 in the first quarter and 33-31 in the third. Shaun Fountain surpassed the 1,000 point plateau with 36 points and 10 assists on the night; Chandler Thompson's 19 points were married to 14 rebounds; Carl Edwards added 24 points to the mix. With Shaun Fountain resting due to injury, the Alley Cats looked as if they would roll over on the final game of the season. A quick note - Alley Cats don't roll over for anybody. Despite losing 118-114 [5-2] to the Patroons, Chandler Thompson and Carl Edwards went a combined 9-for-14 from 3-point range. Edwards finished with 38 points and 14 boards; Thompson had 26 points and two steals. Josh Murray also added 20 points and 12 rebounds for the Alley Cats.

Minot Skyrockets (31-17, 195.5 QP, 4.07 AVG, 2nd place, American Conference)

It was a fight for all the marbles, with the lone American Conference playoff spot hanging in the balance on the last time Albany and Minot would face each other in the regular season. That Wednesday night at the Minot Municipal Auditorium, the Minot Skyrockets took a razor-thin close 99-95 [5-2] victory from the Albany Patroons, keeping the Magic City's playoff hopes alive. Minot's veteran Ronnie Fields had the best game of his season, hitting 31 points; Darnell Miller added 24 to the tally, while Kenyon Gamble yanked down ten boards. The Skyrockets then traveled to Pittsburgh for their final two games of the season. In a Thursday night battle with the Xplosion, Minot took the victory 115-110 [6-1], but it was Ronnie Fields' final layup-and-one in the final seconds to give the Magic City quintet the final quarter-point of the night. Ray Cunningham's 23 points topped all Skyrockets in scoring; Desmond Ferguson's 22 points were augmented by 7 three-point completions. Kenyon Gamble pulled down 11 more boards; Jitim Young added 3 steals. Minot stayed in Pittsburgh for a Friday night contest, and played the Xplosion to a 119-106 [6-1] victory to keep their playoff hopes alive. David Harrison's 20 points led the Magic City crew; Desmond Ferguson finished with 19 points, including three more 3-pointers, leaving him with 168 treys on the season, the second-most 3-pointers by a single player in CBA history.

Pittsburgh Xplosion (10-38, 108.5 QP, 2.26 AVG, 4th place, American Conference)

Since joining the Xplosion earlier this season, Corey Minnifield has been one of the Steel City quintet's top stars, which proved beneficial for the Xplosion as they hosted the Indiana Alley Cats Wednesday night at Mellon Arena. Pittsburgh took the game 119-103 [6-1], as Minnifield dropped 25 points on the scoreboard, he also added 13 rebounds to his stat page. Rob Griffin's 24 points helped seal the deal for the Black and Gold. Pittsburgh then hosted the Minot Skyrockets for the last two home games for the Steel City quintet; in the first game on Thursday night, the Xplosion played Minot tough, and even took the lead several times, but in the end, Pittsburgh fell 115-110 [6-1]. Corey Minnifield and Robert Griffin each notched 24 points apiece, Griffin and Lewis Monroe stole the ball four times per man. Thanks to a special double-header game on Friday night that featured the Pittsburgh Steelers playing hoops against a team of former Steelers greats, boxer Roy Jones Jr., and several other sports heroes, the Xplosion garnered one of their largest crowds of the season for their final home contest. The Xplosion gave their fans all the team could possibly muster, but in the end the Minot Skyrockets proved too tough to tame, winning the contest 119-106 [6-1]. Dajuan Tate's 27 points led all Xplosion players; Shawn Hawkins (22) and Corey Minnifield (21) also gave the Xplosion plenty of points. Greg Jenkins' 11 boards led the Xplosion in rebounds. Pittsburgh then traveled to the SunDome for their final contest of the season, and through the first two quarters actually led the CBA defending champion Yakama Sun Kings 49-42. But a 13-point third quarter was the Xplosion's undoing, and the team lost 98-87 [5-2]. Corey Minnifield again had top scoring honors for the Xplosion, leading the Black and Gold with 26 points, 9 rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot. Robert Griffin and Dajuan Tate each had 17 points on the night.

Yakama Sun Kings (35-13, 230.0 QP, 4.79 AVG, 1st place, National Conference)

With the Sun Kings trying to finish the season and prepare for the CBA finals, there were still some end-of-season contests to conduct. First up was a Tuesday night trip to the Butte Civic Center to face the Daredevils - but despite holding a five point lead with less than a minute in the fourth quarter, the Sun Kings lost a heartbreaker 105-104 [5-2]. Chris Alexander's 20 points and 11 rebounds were tops for the team; Elvin Mims added 18 points for Yakama. In the return match Wednesday night at the Butte Civic Center, the Sun Kings held a strong lead, and held off a 26-9 run by the Daredevils to take the win, 94-83 [6-1]. Ralph Holmes had 26 points to lead the Sun Kings in scoring; Chris Alexander's 12 rebounds made him the top board-collector for the Sun Kings; Eddy Barlow dished out 11 assists. After beating Great Falls several consecutive times to clinch the National Conference title, Yakama faced the Explorers one more time at Four Seasons Arena. This time, however, the Sun Kings would leave in defeat, losing 94-89 [5-2]. Ralph Holmes' 31 points included five trifectas and three steals; Elvin Mims' 16 points included seven rebounds on the night. In Yakama's final regular season contest, the Sun Kings earned their 35th victory of the season with a 98-87 [5-2] come-from-behind victory over the Pittsburgh Xplosion. Eddy Barlow's 28 points earned him top scoring honors for the game; Galen Young added 22 markers, while Chris Alexander's 14 rebounds earned him a double-double (11 pts).

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Continental Basketball Association 1 Stories from March 26, 2007


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