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East wins ABA All-Star Game - Ayeni named MVP - Feb 28, 2011

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(courtesy of Jeff Elliott, ) It took three hours to complete the first American Basketball Association All-Star Game held in Jacksonville, and it still came down to the final second to decide the outcome. West guard Devon Pearson (6'6''-F-84, college: SMU) (North Dallas Vandals) missed his first free-throw attempt and surprisingly made the second one with one second remaining, leaving the visiting West team a point short as the all stars from the East team prevailed by a 123-122 score Saturday afternoon in front of an enthusiastic announced crowd of 4,488 at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. The game featured the 12 top players from teams west of the Mississippi River against a dozen players from ABA teams from the East. The latter group included the Jacksonville Giants, who were represented by center Jermaine Bell (6'11''-F/C-84, college: Indian Hills CC) and Ed Horton (6'4''-G-85, college: Murray St.)..
Like any typical all-star game, individual play trumped the team concept. The West team managed 11-of-29 shots from 3-point range for 37.9 percent, and the East team needed 40 attempts from beyond the arc to make nine baskets, a meager 22.5 percent. But the East got its most important 3-pointer when it needed it the most. Kayode Ayeni (6'5''-F-88, college: St.Francis, NY) (Jersey Express) drilled one from 24 feet out with 45 seconds left to forge a 120-120 tie.
The West missed a chance to regain the lead and the East's Anthony Jackson (5'6''-G-85) (Columbus Riverballers) was fouled seconds later. He converted a pair of free throws with 22 seconds left to push the East in front 122-120. West guard Richie Williams (5'10''-G-87, college: San Diego St.) (San Diego Sol) was fouled with six seconds left but missed a chance to tie the game by making just 1 of 2. Ayeni duplicated that with four seconds left in the game to push the East back to a two-point lead, but Pearson missed a chance to send the game to overtime when he clanked the first attempt off the back of the rim.
'I didn't have to do much coaching in that first half as a lot of guys were out there exposing their talent,' said East and Jacksonville Giants coach Kevin Waters . 'But then in the fourth quarter, things got a little tight. We wanted to come out with a win, so I started doing some coaching there to help our guys. This was a good game for the players and the fans who came out to see it. Any time the game goes down to the final second, it's a good game for the fans.'
Ayeni, who played at St. Francis College in New York, was selected as the game's MVP. He said it was a perfect ending to his first-ever all-star game.
'I've been excited to be here ever since I stepped off the plane from New York where it was in the 30s and it was close to 80 here,' said Ayeni, a forward for New Jersey who finished with a game-high 25 points. 'I can't put into words my feelings right now. I've never played in an all-star game and I never thought I would reach this level a couple years ago. Now I'm looking to take it one more level [the NBA]'.
The game left a favorable impression on ABA president Dick Packer . He praised the work of Giants owner Ron Sholes and the team staff for their administration of the game 'Jacksonville took a big challenge here and performed great. I can't say anything but nice things about their staff and the way they performed here,' Packer said. 'For a team that is new to our league, for them to jump up and do what they did, that's an impressive showing.'

Gwizzlies' Chris Hampton, a success story - 18 days ago
Mississippi native Chris Hampton (6'9''-C-89) had a small acting role in the Hollywood movie Uncle Drew with NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal and Boston star Kyrie Irving. The 6'9" player has come a long way from nearly being homeless. Southwest Warriors Ralph L. Presley his first ABA coach gave him a place to live and after that Hampton did the rest. He landed a very lucrative day job, been to China on Tours, played in Shanghai China Jump Ten Tournament. "When Chris Hampton (6'9''-C) came to...   [read more]

Joe Newman
West Mass Zombies set for 2019 Season - 19 days ago
The American Basketball Association (ABA) today announced that the Springfield Sting was sold to Bill Bullock and Nichole Bullock, owners of Bulldog Enterprises, a direct marketing company and the Markets of Eastfield, a weekend market place inside the Eastfield Mall in Springfield MA. "Bill and Nichole are tremendous new owners," stated ABA co-founder Joe Newman . "They have the experience and background to have one of the best teams in the ABA." Bullock has a sports marketing background...   [read more]

Joe Newman
ABA heads to Weirton, WV - 19 days ago
The American Basketball Association (ABA) announced that it has added the Weirton Widowmakers to its record-setting number of expansion teams scheduled to begin play in November. "This is our second active team in WV," stated ABA co-founder Joe Newman . "And while they'll be listed as part of the Northeast Region, they'll also be playing games with teams in the North Central and Mid-Atlantic Regions. The East WV location makes travel very easy for so many teams. The rivalry between the WV...   [read more]

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