They are back! The 6-time ABA Champion Jacksonville Giants showcased their skills in a 157-102 route of the Florida All Stars. Jacksonville landed an impressive 21-three point baskets on the evening. The Giants dedicated the win to Bernard Nugent’s late mother Sharon. 

The last time we saw the reigning ABA Champions was a March 8th regular season finale win over the St. Augustine Glory. The Giants had just concluded their regular season with a 24-1 record and looked to be on the way to a seventh ABA Championship. However, the COVID-19 pandemic began which caused a cancellation of the 2020 ABA postseason. 

Fast forward 10 months later and the Giants were back on the court. The season opener took place off site in Clay County at Ridgeview High School. The Giants made sure that fans abided by social distancing rules and other health related policies. The amazing Giants game day atmosphere was still strong. Fans still witnessed the long awaited return of mascot Mr. Biggs along with the Gems and Jewels dance teams. The team still performed various game day activities such as the $500 half court shot, dress like a Giant challenge, and the dribble relay. 

“It feels great to be back on the court,” said Giants head coach Jerry Williams. “I’m very happy with the way we played giants basketball.”

The Giants had eight players score in double digits. Brandon Davis led the team with 27 points on the evening. Davis landed an astonishing nine three pointers in the game. Bernard Nugent (24 points) and Ben Howze (20 points) rounded out the top scorers for Jacksonville. Nugent also had seven steals. 

“We just needed to settle down,” said Williams. “We were missing shots early but I knew that we just needed to calm down.”

Early in the game, the All Stars played very competitive and had Jacksonville on the ropes. Tied at 17-17, the Giants went on a 14-4 run to close out the first quarter. Nugent and Miguel Paul converted several long range three point shots. Isiah Hill and Calvin Warner excited the crowd with two slam dunks.  

Jacksonville continued their explosive scoring run and never looked back. Howze, Clarence Tillman, and RJ Write kept the fast tempo offense maneuvering in a strong manner. The Giants offensive tempo kept the All Stars off balance throughout the game. Devin Johnson led the Florida All Stars with 37 points. 

Jacksonville returns to the court on Saturday, January 23 with a showdown vs the Atlanta Aliens at 6pm. The game will take place off site at Christ the King Catholic School. For ticket information check out 

Story by Matt Potak