Bay Area Faces Tough Hartford Team Sunday at 4 PM in Second Round of Postseason
Severn, MD (April 27, 2012) – The goal of any coach is to have his team as prepared as possible when it comes playoff time. For the Bay Area Shuckers their readiness was forged through the heat of a brutal South Division schedule.
“I see our team as similar to the Hartford Lightning, relying on good depth, but I think the strength of our regular-season schedule as what will make us tougher and more resilient. We played over 60% of our schedule against the top two teams in the league. We will be ready to play our best against Hartford,” noted Shuckers Head Coach Bob Topp.
The 60% Coach Topp refers to is the nine of 14 regular season games the Shuckers played against South Division rivals, the Palmieri Jeans (12-2) and the Beltway Bombers (11-3). Against the number one seeded Palmeiri the Shuckers lost two close games at the Jeans dropping a 121-112 decision in December and falling 152-138 to close out the regular season on April 14th. On February 18th the Shuckers handed the then undefeated Palmieri their first loss of the season 133-123 at home.
At home against the number two ranked Bombers the Shuckers played one of the most exciting games of the year defeating the Washington D.C. region based team 149-148 in overtime on January 28th. They also suffered tight losses to the Bombers at home losing 128-125 on February 11th and 121-114 on March 10th. Their other three match-ups were routes by the Bombers as Beltway won 132-115 on December 10th at the Shuckers, and also won on the Bombers home court 151-114 on December 3rd and 131-96 on February 25th.
The outcome, despite the 2-7 division record, was a battle-tested Shuckers team, which went 4-1 against Big Apple and North Division teams (combined the Bombers, Jeans, and Shuckers went 19-2 against the Atlantic Coast Professional Basketball League’s other two divisions) to earn a #6 seed and a first round bye.
All that adds up to a Sunday 4:00 PM tip-off against the North Division’s best, the Hartford Lightning (11-3). The Lightning, like the Shuckers an expansion team, quickly established themselves as not only the top North team, but one of the league’s best reeling off three straight victories to start the season. In those wins they averaged over 140 points per game and won by more than an average of 29 points.
Then came consecutive, close losses to Palmieri (134-128) and the Garden State Rebels (97-93) before piling up seven straight victories averaging 132 points per game. The Lightning then closed out their final weekend of play with losses at the Bombers (114-108) and a win at the Toms River Shooters (118-106).
“As an organization we are very proud of what we have accomplished in our first season to earn a first round bye. It is also very exciting playing our first playoff game and travelling to Hartford to take on one of the top teams in the ACPBL. Coach Izzy Caro and General Manager Jen Byrka have done an incredible job on and off the court. We have to focus on what was successful for us; playing unselfish team basketball. We do that and it should be a great a game,” commented Shuckers General Manager John Wolfe.
What: Atlantic Coast Professional Basketball League (ACPBL) Second Round Playoff Game
Where: Sport and Medical Sciences Academy, 280 Huyshope Ave., Hartford, CT 06106
When: Sunday, April 29th 4:00 PM
Bay Area Shuckers Profile:
Head Coach: Bob Topp
2011 Record: 6-8
Playoff Record: 1st Game
Average Points For: 121.50
Average Points Against: 124.57
Longest Win Streak: 3
Leaders Scoring: Adrian Bowie 28.85 ppg, Terry Hosley 26.62, Jamarr Johnson 15.27
Leaders Rebounds: Jamarr Johnson 8.36 rpg, Derek Savage 7.33, Briane Rock 5.89
Leaders Assist: Adrian Bowie 5.73, Mike McKenzie 3.92, Derek Savage 3.78
Shuckers Players to Watch: ACPBL MVP Candidate Guard Adrian Bowie (Maryland) led the Shuckers in scoring and assists while his fellow guard Terry Hosley (Maryland Bible) racked up over 26 points per game while leading the Shuckers with 29 steals and 21 three-pointers. Guard Lamarr Shorts (Bryan) also had a career game last weekend tallying 31 points; including a Shuckers record six-pointers. Jamarr Johnson (Widener) was also one of the Shuckers best all around players leading the team with 8.36 rebounds per game while tossing in 15.27 points a contest. On a roster with nine rookies, five-year veteran and Team Captain, Guard Mike McKenzie (Delaware State) also provided solid leadership and stellar play with 7.00 points, 3.92 assists, and 2.75 boards per game. Along the front-line Eric Bigby (Liberty), Harvey Paige Jr. (AACC) and Zac White (Washington and Lee) stepped into expanded roles down the stretch and responded. Bigby averaged over 11 points and five rebounds in just five games. Paige, the team’s Iron Man, was the only player to suit-up every game and had a season high 17 points in a 124-114 OT win over Toms River. White continued to be a defensive force under the boards leading the Shuckers with 25 blocked shots. Late season additions Guard Christian Patrick (Methodist) and Gerald Stansbury (Marymount) also provided strong play off the bench.
Hartford Lightning Profile:
Head Coach: Izzy Caro
2011 Record: 11-3
Playoff Record: 1st Game
Average Points For: 128.07
Average Points Against: 111.21
Longest Win Streak: 7
Lightning Players to Watch: The Lightning line-up is stacked with Division 1 talent with four starters from NCAA D-1 schools: Doug Wiggins (UConn), Mike Evanovich (Fairfield), Garrett Kissel (Vermont) and Brian McKenzie (Providence). Wiggins played at UConn and Umass before playing at two NAIA schools, including Mountain State in West Virginia. He led Mountain State to a runner-up finish in the national tournament. McKenzie brings pro experience from England Germany last season. The fifth starter, Charles Easterly, is a local Hartford legend who led the North squad in the recent ACPBL All-Star Game with 21 points. Lightning reserve Diedrick King won the league’s slam dunk competition.
Other ACPBL Playoff Action this weekend:
Saturday, April 28th
#10 Manhattan Pride (0-14) at #7 New York City 524 (6-8)
#9 North Jersey Pros (4-10) at #8 Toms River Shooters (5-9)
Saturday, April 28th
#5 Garden State Rebels (10-4) at #4 Hudson Valley Kingz (7-7)
Sunday, April 29th
#8/#9Winner at #1 Palmieri Jeans (12-2)
#7/#10 Winner at # Beltway Bombers (11-3)
#6 Bay Area Shuckers (6-8) at Hartford Lightning (11-3)
For more information on Bay Area Shuckers, please visit www.BayAreaShuckers.com.