Steelheads Fall to Champion Sun Kings, 111-101
GARY, Indiana (March 27, 2006) - The Gary Steelheads came oh so close, but the Yakama Sun Kings were crowned champions for the CBA's 60th Anniversary Season following a 111-101 thriller at the Genesis Center Monday night. For the third time in this year's Finals, the road team was victorious.
As happened in Game 2, the Steelheads suffered through a difficult quarter that hurt them. This time it was the second quarter, where Gary was outscored by Yakama 29-15. Gary had won the first quarter 36-27, fueled largely by Randy Holcomb's 15 points. But forward Elvin Mims of the Sun Kings exceeded that with a 17-point second quarter, giving the champs a 56-51 lead at the half.
In the third quarter, the Steelheads fell behind by 14 points at 5:03, before fighting back to win the quarter and close the gap to four points at 80-76. But the Sun Kings built a 12-point lead of 90-78 at 8:40, before Gary made a run. The Steelheads scored the next 11 points, with guard Eric Chatfield's basket closing the deficit to 90-89 with 5:10 remaining. Chatfield then fired home a three-pointer to put the Steelheads ahead 92-91 at 4:50 for the quarter.
The game remained tight, tied at 99 apiece with 1:57 to go. Guard Brian Chase missed a three pointer, and the Sun Kings struck quickly for the lead on another basket by Elvin Mims. This began a 12-2 run that closed out the game for the champions.
The Steelheads were paced by Randy Holcomb, who fired in 31 points while hitting 12-of-16 from the field. He also added 7 rebounds. Center Chris Alexander had a double-double effort of 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Brian Chase added 15, forward Carl Mitchell 14, and Eric Chatfield and forward Renaldo Major added 10 each.
Gary won the boards 43-40, but couldn't overcome .420 field goal shooting for the game. Although the Steelheads had three more shots from the field, they scored 10 fewer field goals as the Sun Kings shot a red-hot .564 for the evening.
Yakama was paced by Elvin Mims, who scored a season-high 29 points while grabbing 11 rebounds. Forward Rosell Ellis added 25, while guard Anthony Goldwire fired in 20 points with 3 assists. Goldwire was named MVP for the CBA Finals.
While the Steelheads didn't win the CBA Title, the CBA Finals served as a benchmark for how far the franchise had come during the CBA's 60th Anniversary Season. Gary made incredible progress, finishing atop the CBA during the regular season. They were the first team to secure positions for both the playoffs and the CBA Finals. Guard Jimmie "Snap" Hunter lead the league in scoring and broke the single-season franchise scoring record, one of a number of team records to fall this year.
And that wasn't all. Forward Randy Holcomb was named the MVP of the CBA All Star Game, and coach Jaren Jackson was named CBA Coach of the Year. The Steelheads finished the regular season winning 12 of their last 16 games, including a nine-game winning streak that vaulted the team into the lead in the Eastern Conference of the CBA.
On balance, it was an incredible season.
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