-Matt Potak

The defending ABA National Champions showed tremendous resiliency on Tuesday night. The Giants overcame a 13 point halftime deficit and defeated the Port City Tornadoes, 109-85, in the first round of the ABA Tournament. The Giants played championship caliber basketball, throughout the second half in the victory. 

“The whole team came together in the second half and played a great game,” said Giants head coach Jerry Williams.

Jacksonville struggled early in the game. Port City took a commanding 55-42 halftime lead. The Tornadoes were led by the strong offensive play of the Thrash brothers, who combined for 37 points. Defensively the Giants struggled to contain the Tornadoes. 

“We started horrible,” said Williams. “We regrouped at the half and played Giants basketball.”

Jacksonville went on a second half flurry that resulted in them outscoring Port City 67-30. Jacksonville was led by reigning league MVP Maurice Mickens. Mickens scored a team high 22 points and was practically unstoppable in the second half.  Port City changed strategies to contain Mickens, but it wasn’t successful. 

“I’m very proud of the guys,” said assistant coach Marcus Thomas. “We stuck together and needed this test.”

Mickens and guard Dylon Cormier used a potent outside shooting game which resulted in a combined for 42 points between the two. When Mickens was double teamed, Cormier stepped up landing several big time shots. Veteran Calvin Warner added 15 to round out the top scorers for Jacksonville. Warner also added several blocks on the defensive side of the ball. 

“Defense was amazing in the second half,” said Warner. 

The Giants defense set an ABA playoff record for second half points allowed, only giving up 30 second half points. The speed and stamina of Jacksonville proved to be the deterring factor. The Giants forced multiple Port City turnovers, which resulted in the scoring flurry. 

The Giants advance another round into the ABA Tournament in St. Louis. More information about the Giants next opponent and game time will be posted on the website.  

“It was a great team win,” said team captain Jerrod Tucker. “We came together.”