Photography by Gary Lloyd McCullough.

Photography by Gary Lloyd McCullough.

The Jacksonville Giants have advanced to the ABA Final Four with a convincing 130-96 victory over their in-state rivals the South Florida Gold. The resilient effort puts the Giants in contention to win their third ABA National Championship in six seasons. This is the sixth straight year Jacksonville has made the ABA Final Four. The Giants have defeated South Florida in all five meetings of the 2015-16 season. On the weekend of December 19th and 20th the Giants topped the Gold with scores of 132-102 and 134-105. On New Years weekend Jacksonville continued the winning streak with wins of 99-85 and 107-82.

“Making it to another Final Four is a great accomplishment for the whole team and organization,” said Assistant Coach Jerry Williams.”

Jermaine Bell led the team with 18 points, of which 14 came in the opening quarter. Delwan Graham added 17 points and Calvin Warner contributed 15 which rounded out the top scorers for Jacksonville. The Giants will take on the DMV Warriors, Wednesday night in the ABA Final Four. DMV defeated the Laredo Swarm on Monday night 132-91. Earlier this season, on February 13th, the Giants lost to DMV 113-112. However, since the DMV loss the Giants have a perfect 8-0 record.

“We are excited to be going back to the Final Four,” said Head Coach Kevin Waters. “Our post play has been the key to our success.”

Jacksonville started the game fast and furious, taking an early 39-21 lead. The low post play caused major issues for the Gold. The Giants played focused and controlled as they continued to land multiple jump shots while adding powerful defensive pressure. Point guard Maurice Mickens scored 12 total points on the night while helping Jacksonville in the outside shooting game. Mickens combined with Jerrod Tucker and Bernard Nugent kept the Gold defenseless in the first half. The spark helped fuel the Giants to a 65-50 halftime lead.

The Giants started the second half with a 10-3 run and continued its dominant play. Jacksonville kept the intensity up and eventually took a lead of 83-62 midway through the third quarter.The Giants went into the third quarter with a commanding 102-70 lead.

Jacksonville will now turn their attention towards a rematch with the DMV Warriors on Wednesday night.

“We have championships on our minds,” said Williams.