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Rochester Advances to PBL Finals

April 11, 2009 - Premier Basketball League (PBL) - Rochester RazorSharks News Release

Rochester, NY - With 5,621 in attendance for the all important decisive Game 3 of the PBL Semifinals, the fans did not go home without seeing another intense battle between Rochester and Manchester.

The RazorSharks saw another large lead dwindle down, but this time went held on to defeat the Manchester Millrats 110-103. Keith Friel led the RazorSharks with 35 points including six 3-pointers and shot 11 of 12 from the free throw line. Desmond Ferguson was the leading scorer for the Millrats with 29 points and made five 3-pointers.

In the opening quarter, Rochester used an 8-2 run out of the gate to jump out in the early going. The RazorSharks shot 56% from the field for the quarter and forced Manchester into eight turnovers to close out the first, leading 34-21. Keith Friel led the RazorSharks with 13 points, shooting 5 of 8 from the field making 3 of 4 from beyond the arc.

With 3:45 into the second quarter, Derik Hollyfield's jumper capped off a 7-0 run for Rochester to extend their lead to 21, 47-26. However, just like in Game 2, Manchester found ways to sneak back into the game. Down 49-28 with 7:37 left in the half, the Millrats went on an 11-2 run to pull within 12. With 3:44 remaining in the half, Rochester's Jerice Crouch scored five straight points, including a 3-pointer from the left corner, to push the lead back up to 17, 58-41.

The RazorSharks closed out the half up by 16, 66-50. Friel led all scorers at the half with 23 points including five of his six 3-pointers. Desmond Ferguson, who led the Millrats in Game 2's comeback win, led the Manchester with 15 points.

Manchester came out in the third quarter gradually cutting into the RazorSharks lead, and took advantage of Rochester's cold shooting. With 7:46 remaining in the quarter, the Millrats went on a 12-1 run starting with back-to-back threes by Marlowe Currie and Desmond Ferguson to pull within three, 75-72. Rochester finally regained their shooting touch when Keith Friel and Jerice Crouch stopped the bleeding hitting their own set of back-to-back 3-pointers to push the lead back to nine, 81-72 with 2:56 left in the quarter. Rochester finished off the quarter leading 87-79.

Manchester's Lincoln Glass opened the first couple of minutes of the final quarter with two 3-pointers and Marlowe Currie's third 3-pointer of the game helped the Millrats march within one, 92-91. Rochester once again went on a run, this time a 12-2 stretch and pushed back their lead to 11, 104-93, with 3:32 left to play.

Manchester would not go down without a fight and reached within four points of the 'Sharks lead with 11 seconds left to go, but with a series of free throws down the stretch, the RazorSharks closed out the seven point victory.

Rochester now advances to their second straight PBL Finals with the number one seed Battle Creek Knights awaiting the defending PBL Champions. Details of the 2009 PBL Championship best-of-three series will be announced shortly.

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