May 2, 2006 > Ballers continue unbeaten streak
Ballers continue unbeaten streak
The Tri-City Ballers of the International Basketball League (IBL) withstood a comeback by their Bay Area rivals, the Oakland Slammers, last Friday night, the 28th, as they hosted the Slammers at Newark Memorial High's event center. Led by guard Javon Harris' 12 points and forwards Wayne Oliver's and Rock Winston's 10 points each, the Ballers jumped out to a 68-56 half-time lead. However, the Slammers were far from dead as they cut the deficit to 101-99 after three quarters behind the hot three-point shooting of Oakland guard Malachi Thurston.
In the meantime, Tri-City was experiencing personnel problems as center DeVoughn Lamont picked up his fifth personal foul in the third quarter and center Marquel Abrams did the same in the fourth quarter. Like the NBA, the IBL plays four quarters of twelve minutes each, but unlike the NBA which requires six fouls before fouling out of a game, IBL players only get five. In addition, forward Joe Buck, who started the game at center, was whistled for his second technical foul in the fourth quarter which meant an automatic ejection from the game. Despite continued hot shooting of Baller's Harris and Winston, along with that of forward Anthony Johnson, the Slammers were able to come all the way back and tie the score at 133 at the end of regulation.
As the five minute overtime period began, Baller Oliver picked up his fifth personal foul. Tri-City was down to one center, two forwards and five guards to continue the game - three players carrying four personal fouls. At this point, Baller star guard Harris, last year's league scoring leader, stepped up his game and netted 10 points in the overtime period to continue Tri-City's unbeaten string with a 150-139 overtime victory. The Ballers were led by Harris with 39 points, Winston 25, Johnson 21, Oliver 19 and William Walker 13. Oakland's Thurston poured in 37 points.
Saturday, the 29th, it was Oakland's turn to host the Ballers on the campus of Oakland's Merritt College. This time the game was not as close, as Tri-City's record improved to 5-0 with a 131-111 victory; they remain the only undefeated team in the IBL's western division. Winston led six Baller players in double figures with 29 points while Walker had 23 and Harris 22. Thurston led Oakland with 28. The Ballers next play at Chico and then continue their road string with four games in four nights against two teams in Colorado. Next home game for Tri-City will be against Oakland at Newark Memorial High on Friday, May 19 at 7:15 p.m. followed by a game the next night, the 20th, at 7:15 p.m. on the Newark High campus against the Chico Force