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Jacksonville Giants calm the Windy City and win back-to-back ABA Championship - Apr 2, 2017


POSTED BY:
GIANNI PASCUCCI
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Maurice
Mickens
(courtesy www.jacksonvillegiants.com) The #2 seed Jacksonville Giants faced the #6 seed Windy City Groove this evening in Baltimore, Maryland for the American Basketball Association (ABA) Championship. It was also a rematch of the 2016 ABA Championship, which was claimed by the Giants.
Led by the Finals MVP, Maurice Mickens (6'0''-G-86, college: Le Moyne-Owen)' 31 points, the Giants wIn back-to-back championships for the second time in just seven years, defeating Chicago's Windy City Groove 120 -102.
Much like 2016, the two teams battled back and forth for much of the game. In the first quarter it was the Groove that opened an eight point lead only to see the Giants battle back and tie the game at the end of the period, 33-33.
In the second quarter the Groove again led most of the quarter and by as many as six until the Giants tied it with less than two minutes remaining. Mickens, Bernard Nugent (6'0''-PG-91, college: Clayton St.) and Jermaine Bell (7'0''-C-84, college: Indian Hills CC) led the way on offense and a stingy defense that only gave up 22 points in the quarter sparked the offense on numerous fast break baskets. Giants' Robert Hornsby (6'5''-F-82, college: Troy, agency: Pro Sports) finished the half with a pair of free throws and a three point shot that sent the defending champions into the locker room with a 60-55 lead, and a lead that they would never relinquish.
The third quarter opened with the teams trading baskets until the Giants went on a run that pushed their lead to 72-60 with 8:00 left in the quarter. The Giants took a 10-point lead into the fourth quarter, 91-81.
In the final period, The Groove cut the Giants lead to five but the Giants scored three straight baskets and pushed the lead to 11 with 8:30 to play on a thunderous slam dunk by Elijah Smith (6'8''-F-89, college: N.Georgia) on an off-the-backboard assist by Mickens on a fast break. The lead was pushed to 17 with just 3:20 remaining on a couple of Nugent drives and a Bell tip-in, 112-95.
The Giants finished the second half strong with a complete team effort that included "a great low post presence on offense and defense by Bell, Calvin Warner (6'7''-F-80, college: Jacksonville) and Elijah Smith in the low post, and our defensive MVP of the Finals (Nugent)," said team owner Ron Sholes after the game. "Defense wins championships, and I'm extremely proud of how we battled all three games," added Sholes.
A balanced Giants scoring attack included 15 points each by Larry Dumas, Bell, Smith and Hornsby, and 14 by Nugent.
After the Giants weathered the storm the first two games of the Finals, winning both games but just two points each, "the team was clicking on all cylinders tonight," said Giants' Head Coach Jerry Williams . "We played Giants basketball and this was a total team effort. I'm just proud of how we came out and dominated the game down the stretch. Windy City is a tough team so it's a well deserved championship victory," added Williams.
After the Giants celebrate their fourth ABA Title in Baltimore this evening, the team will drive back to Jacksonville on Monday and arrive home late in the evening.
  




Joe Newman
Beaver County Indians added to ABA expansion - 1 day ago
The American Basketball Association (ABA) today announced that the Beaver County Indians have been added to the growing list of expansion teams set to begin play in November. "Actually, we're moving the West Virginia Widowmakers to Beaver County located near Pittsburgh," stated ABA CEO Joe Newman . "This will make travel considerably easier with several great ABA teams within close driving distance." The team will be owned by Tjuan Washington, noted rap/hip hop artist, and CEO of ABA Medi...   [read more]

Joe Newman
Dallas-Fort Worth and Henderson, Kentucky join the ABA - 6 days ago
The American Basketball Association (ABA) announced that two other team have joined the league and will begin play when the season starts in early November. First is North Texas Prowlers "We are very pleased and excited about having the Prowlers as part of the ABA," stated ABA CEO Joe Newman . "The team has proven itself both on and off the court and has won championships in several other leagues. They should be a very strong addition to the South West Division." The team is owned by Heat...   [read more]

Joseph Garza
Texas Red Wolves coming back this season - 8 days ago
The American Basketball Association (ABA) announced that the Texas Red Wolves will resume play this season after a two year hiatus. "We are very pleased to have Stephanie and Joseph Garza back," stated ABA CEO Joe Newman . "They did a great job both on and off the court before; we expect them to be even better now." The team will be a part of the fast-growing South Central Division. Nevil Shed will return as General Manager/Head Coach. He led them to the Final Eight Championship Playoffs...   [read more]


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