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This Week in the CBA

March 11, 2003 - United Indoor Football Association (UIF) - Ohio Valley Greyhounds News Release

The Continental Basketball Association announced Monday that Dakota Wizards swingman Kevin Rice was named 2002-03 CBA Defensive Player of the Year and to the 2002-03 CBA All-Defensive Team. Also earning All-Defensive honors were Rockford Lightning center Livan Pyfrom, Idaho Stampede guard Michael Johnson, Gary Steelheads guard Jemeil Rich, and Yakima Sun Kings forward Alex Jensen.

Rice, a 6-3, 198 lb. Utah State (’98) product, averaged 2.3 spg (3rd in league), 5.7 rpg, and 13.1 ppg in all 48 contests for the Wizards. This is his second CBA All-Defensive Team honor in as many seasons, having tallied a league-high 2.7 spg for Dakota last season, to go along with his 5.0 rpg and 9.8 ppg.

Also making his second straight CBA All-Defensive Team is the Stampede’s Michael Johnson, who last season made the squad as a member of the Wizards. In 36 games for Idaho this season, Johnson tallied 1.7 spg, 3.6 rpg, and 18.1 ppg. Joining him in the backcourt is Steelheads ironman Jemeil Rich, who averaged 2.6 spg (2nd in league) and 13.1 ppg in 48 games.

Lightning big-man Livan Pyfrom was the leading vote getter at center for his 9.3 rpg (5th in league) and 2.3 bpg (3rd in league), while the Sun Kings’ Alex Jensen (7.4 rpg, 1.5 spg) filled the other forward position.

The Defensive Player of the Year award and All-Defensive Team were voted on by the CBA head coaches. Rice earned five of eight first-place votes for Defensive Player of the Year, significantly separating him from the rest of the competition. In the All-Defensive team balloting, DeSean Hadley of the Great Lakes Storm ranked third at guard, Antonio Harvey of the Stampede placed second at center, and three players tied for third at the forward position. To be eligible players must have played in at least 24 (1/2 of the 48 game schedule) games and must be in good standing with the CBA. Coaches could not vote for their own players.

ROCKFORD’S CHRIS DALEO NAMED 2002-03 CBA COACH OF THE YEAR

The Continental Basketball Association announced Tuesday that first-year head coach Chris Daleo of the American Conference regular season champion Rockford Lightning has been named the 2002-03 CBA Coach of the Year. The Chicago native led Rockford to a league best 32-16 (.667) record and the league’s second highest quarter point total (208.5; 4.3 quarter point average). The Lightning were the only CBA team in 2002-03 to post a winning record on the road (14-10, .583).

Daleo’s .667 winning percentage ranks fourth among CBA coaches with 25-or-more games under their belts, behind current Milwaukee Bucks head coach George Karl (176-66, .727), current Golden State Warriors head coach Eric Musselman (270-122, .689), and CBA legend Bill Musselman (188-86, .689).

His team nabbed 630 steals during the 48-game season, or 13.1 spg. Their steals-per-game mark bests the 12.3 average of the 1990-91 Quad City Thunder, who hold the CBA season record total of 687, set in a 56-game schedule. Rockford’s 128.3 ppg was 5.3 points shy of the Rochester Zeniths’ CBA record of 133.5 ppg, set in 1980-81.

In his first month at the helm of a CBA team, Daleo guided the Lightning to a conference best 4.4 quarter point average (35.0) in eight November games (6-2), earning his first CBA honor as American Conference Coach of the Month.

In January Daleo earned his second straight Coach of the Month award after leading the Lightning to a conference best 13-6 record and 4.4 quarter point average (83.5 total).

In two seasons (2000-02) as head coach at Barat College (Lake Forest, Ill.), the former Rockford assistant (1998-2000) compiled a 57-25 record and led the Bulldogs to a NAIA Division One Final Four appearance in 2002.

The CBA Coach of the Year award was voted on by CBA General Managers. Dakota’s Dave Joerger was second in the balloting, and Yakima’s Bill Bayno was third.

CBA COACHES OF THE MONTH

Duane Ticknor of the Gary Steelheads and Rory White of the Idaho Stampede, were respectively named American Conference and National Conference Coaches of the Month for February/March.

In his first season as a CBA Head Coach, Ticknor led the Steelheads to their most successful campaign in the franchise’s three-year history. Gary finished the season 25-23 (.521), with a 3.5 quarter point average, significant improvements over last year’s 22-34 (.166) record and 3.0 quarter point average. During the months of February and March the Steelheads averaged 3.9 quarter points (9-7), increasing their January averaged of 2.8 (5-8) by a league-best 1.1 quarter points. The Steelheads won six of the season’s final seven games, falling 1.5 quarter points shy of earning their first ever playoff spot. In February and March the Steelheads also produced a CBA-high three Player of the Week awards, won by Galen Young (two) and Jemeil Rich.

The South Dakota native joined the Steelheads on January 21, 2002 as Director of Basketball Operations and was named head coach on July 31, 2002. Gary was 8-23 when Ticknor joined the staff, but finished 22-34, including a 7-2 mark in March.

Since January 31, White’s squad improved their quarter-point average by a league-best 0.3, from 2.6 to 2.9. In February and March Idaho averaged 3.4 quarter points per game (8-9), a 0.9 increase from their 2.5 mark in January. The Stampede also produced a Player of the Week award for guard Michael Johnson.

This is White’s fourth such award in his fourth season as a CBA head coach. Last season the South Alabama (’82) standout led the CBA’s Fargo-Moorhead Beez to the National Conference playoffs and the second best record in the league (25-15, .625, 3.9 quarter point average), earning Coach of the Month honors for January (8-4, 4.16 quarter point average). In 2000-01 White earned December and January Coach of the Month honors at the helm of the Stampede, leading Idaho to a league best 17-7 (.708) record and 4.2 quarter point average.

Also receiving consideration for Coach of the Month in the American Conference was Rockford’ Chris Daleo (11-5, 4.6 quarter point average). In the National Conference, Dakota’s Dave Joerger (11-7, 4.3 quarter point average) was the other candidate.

CBA PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

Gary Steelheads forward Galen Young was named the final American Conference Player of the Week of the 2002-03 CBA season, while Idaho Stampede guard Michael Johnson was the final National conference recipient, for the period of March 2-9.

Young earned his second such award this season for leading Gary to a 3-0 mark last week and to the brink of the franchise’s first playoff appearance. The 6-6, 230 lb. UNC-Charlotte (’99) standout averaged 21.7 ppg on 29-54 (.537) shooting from the field, 12.7 rpg, and 4.7 apg. In the Steelheads’ season finale win over the Dakota Wizards on Saturday (98-96, 4.5-2.5) he tallied 24 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals, but it was not enough. Gary fell 1.5 quarter-points shy of reaching the CBA Playoffs.

Johnson earned his first career Player of the Week award after posting 25.8 ppg, 6.5 apg, 6.8 rpg, and 3.5 spg in four games last week (3-1). In the Stampede’s lone defeat to the Wizards (118-116, 6-1) on Wednesday, the 6-0, 180 lb. Oklahoma (’99) product torched his former team (2001-02) for 36 points, 7 assists, and 7 steals.

Other players receiving consideration for American Conference honors were Great Lakes Storm guard DeSean Hadley (19.0 ppg, 6.5 rpg), Rockford Lightning guard Danny Johnson (23.0 ppg, 5.3 rpg), and Grand Rapids Hoops guard Alex Scales (23.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg). The three other players receiving consideration in the National Conference were Sioux Falls Skyforce guard Kelly McClure (20.0 ppg, 8.5 apg), Yakima Sun Kings forward Ike Harmon (18.5 ppg, 10.3 rpg), and Dakota center Oliver Miller (11.0 ppg, 9.3 rpg).

The Steelheads earned the most Player of the Week awards this year with seven, followed by the Sun Kings (six), Wizards (five), Lightning (four), Skyforce and Hoops (three each), and Storm and Stampede (two each). Yakima’s Damien Cantrell was honored a league-high four times, followed by Dakota’s Andy Panko (three).

AROUND THE CBA (Team notes contributed by the respective team’s media relations department)

DAKOTA WIZARDS: The Dakota Wizards held off a hard-charging Stampede for a 118-116 win at the Idaho Center. The Wizards were trying to break the CBA record of eight 7-0 quarter-point victories. But after going into the fourth quarter with a 22-point lead, Idaho outscored Dakota 45-25 in the final 12 minutes, and had a chance to tie or win the game with 1.2 seconds left, but George Reese´s shot attempt came after the buzzer sounded. Andy Panko paced the Wizards with 25 points and 10 rebounds. Former Wizard Michael Johnson had 36 points for Idaho…Having clinced the National Conference the night before, the Dakota Wizards came out flat in Wednesday's 97-92 loss to the Idaho Stampede. Idaho jumped out to a 15-point lead, but Dakota managed to cut it to one in the final minute before Idaho sealed the game with free throws. With Andy Panko sitting out with the flu, the Dakota Wizards came up just short against the Gary Steelheads 98-96 Saturday evening. Led by Malik Dixon's 18 points, the Wizards had six players in double figures. Oliver Miller and Derek Grimm combined for 27 points and 24 rebounds…The Dakota Wizards have clinched home court throughout the CBA playoffs with a 123-107 victory Sunday over the highly regarded Rockford Lightning. The Wizards earned 5.0 quarter points while Rockford got 2.0. And the Wizards did it without Andy Panko, who sat out a second straight game because of the flu. All but two of the Dakota players dressed for Sunday's game scored in double figures. Keith Carter led the way with 25 points and Kevin Rice was right behind with 22. Cory Bradford added 17 points, Derek Grimm and Oliver Miller each put in 14, Malik Dixon scored 13 and Shawn Daniels had 12. The Wizards didn't miss many shots, as they went 51-for-87 from the field for 58.6 percent. Ronnie Fields scored 24 points and Danny Johnson had 22 to lead Rockford. Albert White added 20 points. The Wizards open the playoffs Tuesday against Yakima. Game time is 9:15 p.m. at the Bismarck Civic Center.

GARY STEELHEADS: The Steelheads finished their most successful season in their three-year history. The team won a franchise-high 25 games and finished 25-23 (.521). The Steelheads were in the playoff battle until the last game of the season as they won six of their last seven and seven of their last nine games down the stretch. They went 3-0 last week … They had a CBA-high seven players of the week including forward Galen Young for the week of March 2-9. It is the third week in a row that a Steelhead has won the American Conference Player of the Week and the second time in three weeks for Young. Jemeil Rich won it the week of Feb. 23-March 1 … Bryant Notree won the award twice while Oliver Miller and Silas Mills also won it one time each … Duane Ticknor was named the American Conference Coach of the Month for February and March as he led the Steelheads to a 9-7 mark and a 3.9 quarter point average … Rich was named to the CBA's All-Defensive Team. The 5-foot-9 guard, who grew up in Gary, tied with Ronnie Fields for the CBA lead in steals per game with 2.6. He was second in the league in assists per game with 7.5 per game … Saturday's season finale, a 98-96 win over Dakota, drew 4,983 fans - the second largest crowd in Steelheads' history. Only the 5,020 on Feb. 15 superseded that figure. The Saturday game was televised live on Chicagoland's Television (CLTV). It was the third time the Steelheads were live on CLTV. They made one national TV appearance. That was on Feb. 15 on HDnet vs. Great Lakes … The 15 home wins are also a franchise record as are the 10 road wins … The Steelheads had a four-game road winning streak twice and also reeled off a franchise-high eight-straight wins in December-early January. That tied Dakota for the most consecutive wins in the CBA this season … The Steelheads had three CBA All-Stars in Miller, Notree and Rich. Notree won the Slam Dunk Contest … Front office staff members will talk with students on Tuesday at Bishop Noll Institute in Hammond. The high school is having its annual career and college fair.

GRAND RAPIDS HOOPS: The Grand Rapids Hoops won three of their final four games to secure the fourth and final berth to the 2003 CBA Playoffs. The week began with a visit from the Yakima Sun Kings on Wednesday, March 5. The Sun Kings, who played the day prior at Sioux Falls, had travel complications that resulted in the game's start being delayed for one hour. Yakima arrived late to the arena after a long day of travel and the results were as expected. Grand Rapids easily defeated the Sun Kings 116-91 and secured all seven quarter points. Alex Scales led the way with 23 points, while Kevin Simmons chipped in 17 points and 15 rebounds. The Hoops then traveled to Gary to face the Steelheads who they led by three quarter points for the final spot with three games remaining. Led by Galen Young's 21-point, 13-rebound performance, the Steelheads prevailed 111-102, taking five of seven quarter points to even the two team's season total at 164.0. The race for the final spot came down to the season finale, as Grand Rapids hosted the Sioux Falls Skyforce. Grand Rapids came out swinging in an attempt to earn more quarter points than Gary, who was hosting the Dakota Wizards later in the evening. The Hoops were able to do just that as they dominated the Skyforce 141-104, securing 5.5 quarter points. Due to the fact that Gary was able to earn just 4.5 points in their victory that same evening, the Hoops clinched the final berth. The Hoops completed March 3-1, their first winning month of the season. Olden Polynice grabbed a CBA season high and franchise record 26 rebounds in the victory over Sioux Falls. Grand Rapids 114.4 scoring average was the highest in team history, while the team also set the franchise mark in giving up 112.1. The Hoops now face the Rockford Lightning in a best-of-five series for the American Conference championship. Game One is scheduled for Tuesday, March 11 at 8:05 p.m. EST at the Rockford MetroCenter. The two teams return to Grand Rapids for Game Three on Tuesday, March 18 at 7:05 p.m. Due to venue conflicts, Grand Rapids holds the home court advantage in the series, with the final two games (if necessary) scheduled for the DeltaPlex Arena.

GREAT LAKES STORM: The Storm’s season officially came to an end on Saturday, March 8th as they fell to the Rockford Lighting 108-100 (5-2). James Head and DeSean Hadley both led the Storm with a combination of 46 points. Justus Thigpen had a double-double night hitting 19 points and 10 rebounds. The Lightning’s Danny Johnson led Rockford with 27… Tuesday morning assistant coach Jere Shockey went over to St. Thomas Aquinas School to read to 6th graders as part of the Storm’s Read to Succeed Program and the school’s March Read-A-Thon month.

IDAHO STAMPEDE: The Idaho Stampede concluded the regular season in style, going 4-1 in the last five games as the team finished with a 17-31 overall record. Due to the quarter point system being the final factor in the CBA, Idaho (138.5) finished sixth overall in the CBA, ahead of the Great Lakes Storm (137.5) and the Sioux Falls Skyforce (120.5)…In the last week of the season, the Stampede split a series with National Conference regular season champion Dakota, and swept a pair of games from playoff bound Yakima. On Sunday, March 9, Idaho officially ended the season with a 118-109 (5.5-1.5) victory over the Sun Kings. Five Stampede players scored in double figures, led by guard Chris Garner who poured in a game-high 35 points, including seven three-pointers. Fellow guard Michael Johnson posted a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds as he was named the National Conference Player of the Week. During his award-winning week, the Oklahoma alum averaged 25.8 points, 6.5 assists, 6.8 rebounds and 3.5 steals in four games played. He was also named to the CBA All-Defensive team…Also receiving an award after the final week of the season was head coach Rory White, who was named the National Conference Coach of the Month. The award was the fourth in four CBA season for White, and the first this season.

ROCKFORD LIGHTNING: The battle for most quarter points came down to the final quarter of the final game of the CBA's regular season. The National Conference champion Dakota Wizards won that quarter and the game 123-107 over the American Conference champion Rockford Lightning. The game was tied at 89 to start the fourth quarter and each team entered that final period with an identical 208.5 quarter points on the season. The Wizards outscored Rockford 34-18 in the period to clinch home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Dakota was playing without leading scorer and rebounder Andy Panko who was out with the flu. Panko's replacement in the starting lineup, Keith Carter scored a season high 25 points in the 5-2 quarter point victory. Kevin Rice added 22 as seven Wizards reached double figures in scoring. The Lightning saw their 10 game home winning streak come to an end despite Ronnie Fields 24 points. Fields becomes the first CBA player ever to lead the league in Scoring Average and Steals in the same season. After leading the Rockford Lightning to the 2nd best record in franchise history, Chris Daleo becomes just the second Lightning head coach to earn CBA coach of the year honors…In his first year as Bolts bench boss, Daleo led the Lightning to first place in the American conference. The team's 32-16 record was the best in the CBA this season. Under Daleo's guidance, the Lightning recorded the league's only winning road record (14-10) and they also owned a 10 game home winning streak lasting from January 29th through March 8th. Daleo's team showed a consistency unparalleled in Lightning history. This year's squad was the first in the 17-year history in Rockford to finish at least 3 games above .500 for each of the first 4 months of the season. The last CBA team to accomplish that feat was the 1996-97 Sioux Falls Skyforce. Daleo led the Bolts to a 9-2 record in February. That is the best winning percentage for any Lightning team in a month since a perfect 11-0 month in 1993. The coach of that year's squad, Mauro Panaggio is the only other Lightning head coach ever to take home the coach of the month award.The American Conference Champion Rockford Lightning open up their CBA record 10th straight post season with a Game 1 matchup against the American Conference Runners-up Grand Rapids Hoops Tuesday night at 7:05 at the Rockford MetroCentre. The Lightning and Hoops have combined for 24 post season appearances, but the two teams have only met each other one previous time in the CBA playoffs. In 1992-93 the Hoops beat the Lightning in the American Conference Finals 3-games-to-2 in a series in which the road team won all five games. The Lightning finished the regular season that year 44-12 (the only time they had a better winning percentage than this year's squad. The Bolts then took the first two games of the series in Grand Rapids before dropping all three MetroCentre matchups. Single digits decided all 5 of the games and four of the five contests were decided by 5 points or less. Neither the Hoops nor the Lightning have ever won the CBA Title. In each of the last 5 post seasons the Lightning have been eliminated from the playoffs by the eventual CBA champions. In each of the last 8 seasons the team the ousted the Bolts from the post-season made it to the CBA Finals.

SIOUX FALLS SKYFORCE: The Sioux Falls Skyforce finished the last week in CBA play with a 1-2 record, giving them a 17-31 mark for the season. The last place finish in the National Conference leaves the Force out of the playoffs for the first time since the 1993-94 season. This breaks a string of eight straight playoff appearances for the Skyforce. On March 4, the Skyforce overwhelmed a short-handed Yakima Sun Kings team 132-106. The Skyforce had seven players in double-figures, led by Kelley McClure's 21 points, 9 assists. Only six Sun Kings played in that game. On Thursday, the Skyforce traveled to Rockford, where they were upended 144-100 (7-0). The loss, one of the most lop-sided in franchise history, was the 12th consecutive road-loss for the Force, and their CBA-record 8th 7-0 quarter-point loss this season. Kelley McClure again was high-scorer for the Force with 24 points. From there, the Skyforce continued on the road to Grand Rapids with high hopes of being the Hoops' playoff spoiler. The road losing streak continued, however, as the Hoops secured their playoff spot with a 141-104 victory (5.5-1.5). Lawrence Nelson had 20 points, 8 rebounds, and Kelley McClure had 20 points, 9 assists for the Force. The Skyforce end the season having lost a franchise record 13 straight road games.

YAKIMA SUN KINGS: Despite losing their last two home games and three-of-their-last-four, the Sun Kings still had the second-best home mark in the CBA. Yakima's 19-5 home record was topped only by Dakota's 20-4 record. The Sun Kings won 22 games in the Yakima Valley SunDome during the team's 1994-95 CBA Championship season…The Sun Kings were the number one team in the CBA in three-pointers made (356) and three-point field goal percentage (43.8%). Yakima committed a league-low 17.2 turnovers per game, and led the CBA in opponents points per game, holding the opposition to 103.9…Despite missing the final five games of the regular season with a foot injury, Damian Cantrell held off Dakota's Oliver Miller for the CBA double-double crown. The 6-foot-5 forward had 27 double-doubles to Miller's 26. Cantrell ended the season with double-doubles in 21 consecutive games…Cantrell also held off Miller to finish the year as the CBA's rebounding champion. The University of San Francisco-product pulled down 12.8 rebounds to Miller's 12.1. Cantrell was also the top offensive rebounder in the league, averaging 4.4 per game, and led the CBA in three-point shooting hitting 46.0% of his attempts from long-range…Despite being hired less than a month before the start of the 2002-2003 season, Bill Bayno led the Sun Kings to the fourth-best regular season win total in team history. Bayno's Sun Kings recorded 28 wins, the fifth straight year the team has won more than 25 games…The Sun Kings have now qualified for the CBA playoffs for five consecutive seasons.

PRIMETIME PERFORMANCES

Adrian Peterson posted 24 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists, and 2 steals for the Yakima Sun Kings in a 112-96 (5.5-1.5) loss to the Idaho Stampede on Sunday, March 2.

Michael Johnson of the Idaho Stampede posted game highs in points (36) and steals (7), to go along with his 7 assists in a 118-116 (6-1) loss to the Dakota Wizards, Tuesday night.

Ike Harmon poured in 30 points and pulled down 14 rebounds for the Yakima Sun Kings in a 132-106 (5-2) loss to the Sioux Falls Skyforce, Tuesday. Olden Polynice pulled down a CBA season-high 26 rebounds for the Grand Rapids Hoops in Saturday night’s 141-104 (5.5-1.5) victory over the Sioux Falls Skyforce.

Chris Garner scored 35 points, dished 8 assists, and nabbed 5 steals in a 118-109 (5.5-1.5) Idaho Stampede win over the Yakima Sun Kings on Sunday, March 9.

THIS WEEK IN CBA HISTORY

On March 14, 1982, The Maine Lumberjacks defeated the Atlantic City Hi Rollers, 172-171 (4.5-2.5) in overtime, setting an all-time CBA record with 343 combined points in a single game. Forward Jack Dorsey contributed 66 points to the Lumberjacks’ win, breaking Montana Golden Nuggets forward Ron Valentine’s all-time CBA single-game mark of 63, set earlier that year in a 135-122 win over the Alberta Dusters (5.5-1.5) on December 23.

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