Giants Sweep Showboats
Giants Sweep Showboats
After a history making Saturday night, the Jacksonville Giants continued toward their goal their road to the ABA Championship with a 140-98 win over the Jackson Showboats. The Giants hold an overall record of 11-4 and are 5-1 since the start of 2016.
“I am proud of the guys,” said Giants head coach Kevin Waters. “It was a total team effort.”
Jacksonville was led by Bernard Nugent, Dazeran “Duke” Jones, and Calvin Warner. Nugent led the Giants with a season high 28 points. Jones had a season high 20 points while Warner had 15 points. The young trio gave the Giants a spark of energy throughout the game.
Early on the Giants had some struggles, but were able to overcome the mistakes. The Showboats only trailed 29-25 at the end of the first quarter. The Giants were able to make adjustments and outscore the Showboats 34-23 in the second quarter to regain a double digit lead going into halftime. Jacksonville continued their strong play throughout the remainder of the game.
“After starting with a sluggish first half we put together a solid performance in the second half,” said Waters.
The Giants will now turn their attention toward a showdown and Final Four Rematch on Saturday with the Chicago Steam. The Steam are sixth in the ABA Power Rankings and trail the Giants by one place. The game will take place on Saturday night at Veterans Memorial Arena at 7:00 p.m.
1-9-16 Giants Set Attendance Record in Dominating Win over Jackson Showboat
Giants Set Attendance Record in Dominating
Win over Jackson Showboats
The Jacksonville Giants did not disappoint the fan base during Duval County Public Schools night. The Giants set an attendance record for a Jacksonville professional basketball team with a crowd of 8,951. The attendance milestone was also an American Basketball Association (ABA) regular season record and the most since the league was reformed in 2000. The previous record for a Jacksonville-based team and the ABA was set two years ago when the Giants had a crowd of 8,354.
The nearly nine thousand fans witnessed the Giants showcase a decisive 134-78 victory over the Jackson Showboats. The win keeps the Giants (10-4) in contention for their sixth straight Southeast Division title, just a half game behind the Miami Midnites (10-3).
“It was a great crowd and a great night to recognize Duval County public school teachers and staff,” said Giants’ Owner Ron Sholes. “This was a great team win,” added Giants’ head coach Kevin Waters. “We have a lot of talented basketball players on this team and we are really heading in the right direction.”
The record crowd observed an action packed night of basketball and entertainment. From the sharp-shooting 3-pointers from Giants’ guards and perennial ABA all-stars Ed “Hollywood” Horton and Maurice “the Reese” Mickens to high-flying slam dunks the crowd had no shortage of big plays to cheer about. Giants’ power forward Elijah Smith showed the fans why he’s called “Superman” with his big crowd pleasing slams. But it was the Giants’ aggressive full court pressing defense that led the way and helped put the Giants ahead to stay mid-way through the first quarter.
The Giants’ authoritative defensive scheme forced a total of 30 turnovers for the Showboats. The Giants held the Showboats to only 11 second quarter points and headed into the break with a 69-37 halftime lead. Then, the Giants continued their overbearing play throughout the second half and continued to add ally hoops and slam dunks to the highlight reel and giving the fans what they wanted. Newcomer Calvin Warner (6’8″) started for Jermaine “Slim” Bell who has missed the last two weeks of action, but should be back next weekend when the Giants host the Chicago Steam in a Final Four Rematch. Warner, 35, is a Jacksonville native that has played extensively over the past 12 years. “He’s a veteran player that brings great play on the low post and good decision making,” said Waters. Warner demonstrated just that with several blocked shots and provided a dominating presence under the basket on both offense and defense. That’s something the Giants desperately need against the top tier teams in the league.
“The crowd was amazing,” said Giants veteran player Ed Horton, who played with the Giants in their first and third seasons. “I’ve never seen this many people in here before. The intensity and atmosphere was great and we appreciate having everyone come out.”
“To have the crowd come in and do what they did says a lot for the city,” said Giants Assistant Coach Jerry Williams. “Especially with the talk of NBA-D League. I think it shows that the City of Jacksonville can support that.”
Horton led the team in scoring with 20 points followed by Chris Blake (15 points), and Bernard Nuget (14 points). Bastian led the team with 10 rebounds, followed by Brown with 8.
The Giants will be back at the Veterans Memorial Arena next Saturday night, January 16 at 7:00 p.m., against the Chicago Steam in a Final Four rematch from last season.
-Matt Potak, Sports Correspondant
1-7-2016 Giants VS. Miami
Giants Top Miami 111-108 in Thriller!
The rivalry between the Jacksonville Giants and Miami Midnights has intensified. Following an exciting four game South Florida road trip, the Giants have improved to 9-4 on the season after a 111-108 victory over division leader Miami. After nearly four quarters of grueling play, the Giants found themselves trailing 107-105 with 1:21 left in regulation. Giants point guard Maurice Mickens went 1-2 from the free throw line which cut the deficit to 107-106. On the next possession, Mickens had an inbound steal which led to a Calvin Warner layup putting the Giants back in the lead 108-107. On the ensuing Midnights possession, Antonio Hester made one free throw, tying the score at 108-108. Giants guard Ed Horton quickly took matters into his own hands taking the ball down court and landing a short jump shot to regain Jacksonville’s lead,110-108. Jerrod Tucker’s late free throw sealed the victory for Jacksonville. Bernard Nugent was the leading scorer with 20 points and Mickens was the second leading scorer with 18 points. Hester led Miami with 32 points. “Sticking to the course made us prevail,” said Mickens. Jacksonville split the recent two game series with Miami and has a 2-2 record against them this season. The resilient play of the Giants keeps them in contention for a sixth straight South Division Championship. Jacksonville concludes their South Florida road trip with a 3-1 record while out scoring their opponents by a combined score of 435-376. “Execution pulled the game to a win,” said Tucker. Jacksonville jumped out to an early first quarter lead of 25-19. The Giants used an aggressive defensive strategy that kept pressure on Miami. The defensive pressure forced bad shots and miscues for the Midnights. Horton, Nugent, and Mickens provided an offensive spark for Jacksonville. Jacksonville had a 40-25 lead midway through the second quarter. However, Miami made a late second quarter run on the strength of point guard George Gray and Hester. The Midnights went on a 14-2 run late in the second quarter to cut the Giants lead to 55-49 heading into the half. The second half became one for the ages for both teams. Gray landed a jump shot to tie the score at 55-55 and the battle, between the two leading teams in the ABA South, started to get more energetic. The Giants took a 75-74 lead going into the fourth quarter. Elijah Smith had two highlight real dunks to keep the momentum for Jacksonville. Miami continued to have a difficult time stopping the tandem of Mickens, Horton, and Nugent which kept the Giants in control. Giants Fast Facts After Thursdays Win: -Jacksonville is 2-2 vs Miami this season -Jacksonville went 3-1 on the South Florida road trip -Jacksonville outscored opponents 435-376 during road trip -Jacksonville is currently 5th in the ABA Power Polls -Jacksonville is still in contention for a 6th straight South Division title Next game this Saturday, January 9th, where The Giants take on Jackson Showboats at 7pm Veteran’s Memorial Arena.
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