Mad Ants Swat Back Capital City
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Though officially eliminated from playoff contention the night before, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants still made some waves in the playoff picture on Wednesday afternoon at Gainbridge Fieldhouse, home of the Indiana Pacers. The Mad Ants closed the Indiana portion of their schedule with a 130-121 win over the Eastern Conference's second-best team, the Capital City Go-Go.
Capital City led much of the opening quarter, jumping out 4-0 and then regaining a lead at 16-15 on a Jordan Schakel three pointer. The Go-Go remained in control until a flurry of three pointers from Fort Wayne late in the quarter, including two from Nate Hinton and one from Andrew Rowsey. The Mad Ants led 31-30 at the first quarter break with 10 points from Hinton and despite 13 points and five first quarter rebounds from Jaime Echenique, who controlled the inside for Capital City .
Capital City kept pace throughout the second quarter with Joel Ayayi making some timely basketball, but Fort Wayne's defense and transition was a difference maker. With 4:08 left in the second, a Walt Lemon Jr. lay in pushed Fort Wayne to a ten-point lead at 55-45. Jordan Goodwin responded with a three pointer for Capital City to make it 55-48. Capital City charged back within four points as they went back inside, but at halftime Fort Wayne held a 57-53 advantage.
Schakel started the second half with a free throw for a technical that was assessed after the first half ended, immediately giving Capital City momentum to work with. Echenique evened the score on the next Go-Go possession, followed then by a Ayayi putback to give Capital City a 58-57 lead to score the first five points of the quarter. That run was ended with 10:31 to play in the period as Gabe York ended his own scoreless streak to push Fort Wayne back over the top. Capital City pushed on what was an 11-point Mad Ants lead but late blocks from Rowsey and Troy Baxter Jr. and a buzzer beating three from York made it 91-80 Fort Wayne after three.
The score differential stayed solid during the fourth quarter with each team making strides but Fort Wayne's lead steady at 11 until 4:46 when Darius Adams drained a three pointer to push the lead to 116-102. Capital City cut the lead to seven with 3:20 to play on an Echenique putback; he then added an and-one with 2:44 to play to cut Fort Wayne's lead to 118-112.
Fort Wayne was led by Adams 31 points, 29 from Hinton and 24 from Lemon. York finished with 17 points, all in the second half where he hit five three pointers. The Mad Ants had five players in double figure scoring.
Capital City was led by Echenique's 36 points and 16 rebounds while Jordan Goodwin added 20 points.
The Go-Go will host Long Island and visit Windy City to end their season. Fort Wayne will turn around for a two-game road trip to Westchester to close out the season.
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