GIANTS ROLL THE TIDE TO CLAIM THEIR SIXTH SOUTHEAST DIVISION TITLE AND ARE HEADED TO BALTIMORE AND THE ABA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP PLAYOFFS
The third ranked Jacksonville Giants dominated the St. Petersburg Tide 130-77 to win the American Basketball Association (ABA) Southeast Division Title.
Jacksonville has won the ABA Southeast Division six out of the last seven years. The Giants will be heading to Baltimore to compete with the leagues best in their chase for a fourth national title. Winning the division gives the Giants an early round bye in the ABA playoffs.
“We are excited to have the division title back in Jacksonville,” said Giants head coach Jerry Williams. “The team’s hard work is paying off.”
The win also gives the Giants a season record of 21-2 and 19 straight wins, currently the longest winning streak of the season for the ABA. The Giants are determined to bring home another National Championship to the city of Jacksonville.
“We are staying focused on the playoffs. Our goal from the beginning of the season has been bringing the championship back to Jacksonville and to the greatest fans in the league,” said Williams. “We have been taking it one game at a time. The Southeast Division Title is a big step towards our goal”, Williams continued.
The Tide stayed competitive with Jacksonville in the early goings of the contest. C.J. Bargman and Aaron Jennings helped St. Petersburg to an early 23-20 first quarter lead. Bargman (23 points) and Jennings (22 points) were the leading scorers for the Tide.
The early deficit didn’t phase the Giants as the defending ABA Champions went on a 39-18 second quarter run to take a commanding 59-41 halftime lead. Maurice Mickens scored 12 second quarter points, leading the attack.
The Giants continued to use an overbearing offense to push their lead to over 30 points in the third quarter. The guard play was once again a major factor in the scoring frenzy. Mickens finished the game with 24 points with fellow guard Larry Dumas putting up 26 points (to lead all scorers) and Bernard Nugent adding 16. Dumas also had 12 rebounds giving him a double-double for the game.
The inside defensive play was also superb in the weekend series. The combination of team captain Jerrod Tucker, Elijah Smith, and Jermaine Bell shut down the Tide’s inside scoring.
“We are very excited about the playoffs,” said Tucker. “The guys have been working very hard and I’m proud of them. The team chemistry has continued to improve throughout the season and is driving us toward Baltimore to bring the championship back to Jacksonville”, the captain continued.
ABA League headquarters will be releasing more playoff information as the remaining teams are determined in the next couple of weeks. Keep up to date with the Giants and the ABA 2017 Final Eight by visiting www.jacksonvillegiants.com and liking us on Facebook.