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Sun Kings win fifth CBA championship in three-game sweep of Albany

March 31, 2007 - Continental Basketball Association 1 (CBA 1) News Release

ALBANY, NY - The Continental Basketball Association crowned a new champion yesterday, in a totally dominating performance from the opening tipoff in Game 1 to the final seconds of the clinching Game 3, the Yakama Sun Kings defeated the Albany Patroons to secure the Jay Ramsdell Championship Trophy for a fifth season. The Sun Kings, who joined the CBA in the 1985-86 season as the Kansas City Sizzlers and who later spent four seasons as the Topeka Sizzlers before relocating to Yakima, Washington prior to he 1990-91 season, now have won the most championships in the CBA's modern (post-1979) history; only the Allentown Jets and Wilkes-Barre Barons, who won eight championships apiece from the CBA's Eastern League era, have won more titles than the Sun Kings. The Sun Kings took the first two games of the best-of-five series in Albany, winning the first contest in a 113-99 blowout, then holding on for a 92-87 victory in a Game 2 wracked with an Albany coaching change and a Patroons team fight. The third contest, held at the Yakima Valley SunDome, had the defending CBA champions leap out to an early 7-0 lead, and hold a scoring advantage of as much as 32 points (including a dominating 36-17 second quarter) before finally bringing the championship home to 4,015 fans in attendance. Yakama's Eddy Barlow, who finished the series with 45 points, 22 assists and 7 steals, was named the finals playoff Most Valuable Player. Barlow's 14 points and 14 assists in Game 3 helped seal the Sun Kings' championship. In fact, the Sun Kings as a team dished out a CBA single-game playoff record 39 assists in Game 3. Barlow's 15.0 points per game average was one of five Sun Kings to finish the series in double-digit scoring average, joining Ralph Holmes (20.7 ppg), Galen Young (18.3 ppg), Elvin Mims (15.3 ppg) and Greg Stevenson (13.0).

Barlow and teammate Chris Alexander, having played for two different teams in the 2005-06 season (Barlow with the Idaho Stampede, Alexander with the Gary Steelheads) have now won their first CBA championships. Sun Kings teammates Ralph Holmes, Leonard White and Richard Dionne have each earned their second consecutive championships; head coach Paul Woolpert now has his third championship ring (2000, 2006), all with the Sun Kings franchise.

The Albany Patroons, who reached the finals by winning the American Conference championship title on the final day of the regular season, could not get their game in sync. After losing 113-99 at home in Game 1, Patroons head coach Micheal Ray Richardson was suspended by the CBA for anti-Semitic and homophobic comments made in a local newspaper interview; in Game 2, an on-the-court argument between teammates Felipe Lopez and Carl Mitchell turned into a fistfight, with Mitchell ejected from Game 2 and Lopez suspended for Game 3. Assistant head coach Derrick Rowland tried to coach a victory from the Patroons in Richardson's absence, but Albany was simply outmatched in the playoffs by the Sun Kings; in fact, Albany became the first franchise to fail to surpass 100 points in any of their finals games since the La Crosse Bobcats lost to the Sun Kings 109-93 in a single-elimination playoff final; no team had ever finished an entire series without scoring at least 100 points since the 1955-56 season, when the Eastern League's Williamsport (Pa.) Billies lost a best-of-five series without ever surpassing 90 points in a contest.

Among the Patroons highlights in the series were rookie Gordon Klaiber's 31 points in Game 3, the most for any player on either squad; Kareem Reed's 22 assists, tying him with Barlow for most by an individual in this series; and CBA Defensive Player of the Year Jamario Moon's five blocked shots, eight steals and 16.7 points per game in Moon's first ever CBA finals series.

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