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Hardhats defeat Gladiators 119-102

May 13, 2007 - World Basketball Association (WBA) - Rome Rage News Release

Rome, GA - The Atlanta Hardhats (1-2) get their first win of the season, defeat Rome Gladiators (0-1) 119-102. In WBA action on Saturday, the Rome Gladiators set out to defend their Championship and started the season on a rough note. The Gladiators have had to face some uncertainty this off-season as an ownership group that had acquired the historically successful franchise had severe legal issues that would affect every aspect of running a professional team. The league had to step in and reaquire the ownership interest and is currently working with another ownership group in Rome on the sale of the 2-time champions. The Glads have some work to do to catch up to the rest of the league and started the season without their full expected line-up in place.

The Gladiators couldn't get going on the offensive end of the court and had trouble stopping the Hardhats as Atlanta built a 17 point lead, that they never relinquished. There were some sparks for the Glads though with forward Jemere Hendrix (6'8''-F-83, college: Tennessee) pouring in 29 pts and Josh Talley (6'2''-G-84) adding 23. Hendrix is a multi-talented big man that is going to have a great year for Rome. A couple pieces around him and the two time champions will be looking for a third.

The Hardhats were lead by the electric Jonathan Kelly (6'6''-G-84, college: Florida A&M) who led all scorers with 37 and followed by Terico Smothers (6'4''-G) with 27. Kelly connecting from inside and out really got it going and showed the type of season he is capable of having for Atlanta.

Rome Gladiators Head Coach Gerald Oliver when asked about the set back said "First things first, we have people surrounding this organization that want to do things the right way. Perk (referring to Floyd County Head Coach Sean Perkins) and I have met with the community and the people here in Rome love the Gladiators. The owner of the Hardhats franchise has stepped in to help us right this ship and the league is currently talking to potential long term ownership groups in Rome and their big things on the horizon for this team. We expect to have Mike Harper and Ike McCowem with us next week and I want to remind people Rome was not built in a day. This season is 20 games and then the playoffs, we'll be where we need to be come winning time and the people of Rome will have a team and an organization that they can support."

Director of Basketball Operations Chris Terrell said "We want the right type of ownership group and we would like for that group to be representative of the proud city of Rome. Romans have a special place in their hearts for the Gladiators and only someone that can carry on that legacy in a dignified way will control the interests of the team. We want to thank Jerry Montgomery for taking on this task until we have another ownership group in place."

On the court, the players didn't give up, a little undersized and needing of reinforcements but have some key aspects in place of a winning team. Add that to the coaches and management now in place their should be big things happening in Rome for time to come. An interesting cross town rival is building with neighboring Floyd County Rage and things will be looking up in Rome. Final score Atlanta 119 Rome 102.

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