Razorsharks Return Home Champions
Rochester reclaimed the Premier Basketball League championship with an 87-84 victory at Lawton-Fort Sill in the decisive third game of the best-of-three championship series. The RazorSharks dethroned the defending champion Cavalry with a late fourth quarter push by scoring nine of the game's last 13 points.
Keith Friel hit just one shot in nine on the night, but it was a big one. A three pointer to give Rochester an 81-80 lead it never relinquished with 2:40 left. Six free throws down the stretch sealed the victory.
Melvin Council scored a team high 16 points including 14 of 15 from the foul line. Rochester used free throws to their advantage again. The Sharks were 32 of 43. Lawton shot 9 of 14 from the foul line.
The game was close throughout. Rochester owned a six point first quarter lead. The Cavs led by as many as seven in the third. The game was tied 66-66 heading into the final quarter. Lawton's Shawn Daniels scored 10 of his game high 20 points in the final quarter to keep the Cavs in it. Rochester scored just 33 second half points, but held Lawton to 30. Playing back to back nights it was a battle of attrition. The teams combined to shoot just 31% in the second half.
"It's always good," said coach Rod Baker. "Our guys fought hard, played hard. They played like champions."
The 2011 PBL season didn't begin with Rochester looking like a championship team. The RazorSharks lost six of their first eight. But they persevered.
"At 2-6 we developed a certain resolve and it got us through situations like this," said Baker. "Sometimes you're good and you maintain. Sometimes you get better. We worked hard on getting rid of our shortcomings."
One of those early shortcomings was free throw shooting. The Sharks won the 2011 championship at the free throw line. Throughout the postseason, Rochester's aggressive attack-the-basket style resulted in an imbalance in fouls called in their favor tahat didn't sit well with opposing teams. The RazorSharks left an arena full of unhappy Lawton fans claiming the refs were calling a one sided game.
"They aren't used to losing," said Baker. "It doesn't take anything away from what we accomplished."
Rochester won the 2008 and 2009 PBL titles. Lawton won it last year. The RazorSharks win it back in 2011. In their six professional seasons of basketball, the Sharks have won four titles.
The champions return home on Tuesday with their arrival expected in the early evening. A reception is being planned with details to be announced.
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Premier Basketball League Stories from April 18, 2011
- Razorsharks Return Home Champions - Rochester RazorSharks
- Halifax Rainmen Exit Premier Basketball League - Halifax Rainmen
- Razorsharks Win It Back - Rochester RazorSharks
- Saint John Mill Rats Disassociate from PBL - Saint John Riptide
- The Final Showdown - Rochester RazorSharks
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