Hello there! My name is Cosmis and I would like to start off the new year by telling you about the Fort Wayne Mad Ants!
*smattering of disinterested applause*
This being my first attempt at anything resembling legitimate basketball analysis anywhere even remotely important, I'll play it safe and just give an
quick overly detailed rundown of the action, focusing on the plays (and players) that caught my attention in the Mad Ants recent game against the Maine Red Claws.
First Quarter- (Maine: 0, Fort Wayne: 0)
A quick first minute of action starts with Walker Russell scoring the game's first basket off a steal. The venerable Mario West then pops in a wide open three. Reigning D-League Performer of the Week Oliver Lafayette retaliates with a three of his own.
First Quarter- (Maine: 9, Fort Wayne: 7)
The ever-active Marvin Phillips banks in an and-one and ties the game, high socks and all. The Red Claws immediately retaliate with another Mario West three, the team's fourth of the quarter and take a 12-9 lead. To this point, I haven't seen a single Crustacean handle the ball in the paint.
First Quarter- (Maine: 16, Fort Wayne: 12)
The Mad Anthonys turn it over on back to back trips, leading to consecutive uncontested layups from Kenny Hayes and Mario West, who now has 10 points in the game, and is talking up a storm. Telegraphing every entry pass will do that to a team.
First Quarter- (Maine: 24, Fort Wayne: 14)
Darnell Lazare, trying his best to fill the rebounding/being tall void left by Chris Hunter's achilles injury, combined with Anthony Kent to get 4 consecutive offensive rebounds before finally getting fouled by Matt Janning (!). He appears to be the only player on either team willing to play in the paint so far.
First Quarter- (Maine: 24, Fort Wayne: 25)
After Lazare and Carlos English spark a 9-0 run, we get a hilariously mismatched jump ball featuring DeShawn Sims and the stereotypical D-League "Hometown Kid" Chris Kramer. Kramer, to his credit, actually wins the tip, which was unfortunately right to a Red Claws player. So he didn't win it, I guess.
Second Quarter- (Maine: 25, Fort Wayne: 26)
The second stanza starts off with Nightmare Ant looking particularly nightmarish while sitting down and slowly bobbing his head to some Lady Gaga. Terrifying. Meanwhile, the Red Claws continue to fire threes every trip while the Mad Ants continue to go to Darnell Lazare, which quickly results in a two point lead. This is soon followed by an astoundingly impressive fast break dunk from Chris Kramer (a "Glenbrook Dodge Ram Dunk!" Gotta love local advertising). Mad Ants by four.
Second Quarter- (Maine: 26, Fort Wayne: 33)
Carlos English leads another wonderful fast break, finding an open Corey Allmond behind the arc to give the Mad Ants a ten point lead. Anthony Kent is doing an almost superhuman job keeping the entire Red Claws frontcourt off the offensive glass to this point.
Second Quarter- (Maine: 36, Fort Wayne: 45)
A rather uneventful stretch is broken by two wonderful plays. First, a spinning, driving layup from Mario West and then a Jerry Sloan-precise PnR from Lafayette and Lazare, who now has 17 points.
Second Quarter- (Maine: 44, Fort Wayne: 49)
Walker Russell gets to the basket on the break and has his shot obliterated by multiple Red Claws. This leads to Jamar Smith throwing a no look alley oop to Mario West for the dunk, easily the most fluid looking offensive play run all game by the visitors. This basketball game, like most, has become a game of runs.
Third Quarter- (Maine: 48, Fort Wayne: 50)
The second half starts of with Marvin Phillips missing a layup, getting the rebound, and then just sort of falling down after trying to throw himself into Tiny Gallon. Hilarious. DeShawn Sims continues his solid game and ties the game on the other end.
Third Quarter- (Maine: 59, Fort Wayne: 56)
DeShawn Sims throws down a near halfcourt alley oop from Champ Oguchi, and Anthony Kent's absence this quarter has been hard felt, as the Gallon/Sims combination continues to dominate Phillips and Lazare on the offensive end. Darnell Lazare continues to get as much as he can back, bouncing in a spinning lefty hook despite being tripled teamed.
Third Quarter- (Maine: 67, Fort Wayne: 62)
Sims' entry pass to Gallon caroms off the backboard and right to the Mad Ants, who bring the ball up court, set up their offense, and methodically look for an open shot. Just kidding! They get the ball to Lazare, who delivers a soul destroying thunder dunk on Mario West. Mad Ants within 3 at the four minute mark. The rest of the quarter finishes off with back to back three point bombs from Matt Janning to give Maine a 75-72 advantage heading into the fourth.
Fourth Quarter- (Maine: 82, Fort Wayne: 73)
A quick Red Claws run is negated by a Chris Kramer three followed by a nice looking Corey Allmond scooping shot. Anthony Kent continues to make his presence felt with a great effort both rebounding and passing out of the post. DeShawn Sims and Mario West promptly re-enter the game.
Fouth Quarter- (Maine: 94, Fort Wayne: 86)
The Red Claws, despite multiple blown Marvin Phillips putbacks, refuse to put the Mad Ants away, thanks in most part to their new found "let Tiny Gallon take a lot of 20 footers" offense. After Mario West turns it over by nearly getting run over by the aforementioned Gallon, the Walker Russell is fouled hard by Paul Harris on the break. This is mainly due to the fact that Paul Harris is large and muscular while Walker Russell is not. Mad Ants still within striking distance. Russell hits both from the stripe.
Fourth Quarter- (Maine: 96, Fort Wayne: 90)
With a little over two minutes remaining, DeShawn Sims gathers a loose ball and gets fouled after the shot clock goes off. However, he misses both free throws, proving that the ball indeed does not lie. It simply believes invalid truths. Walker Russel then connects on an aggressive and-1, bringing the Ants within 3.
Fourth Quarter- (Maine: 101, Fort Wayne: 99)
After Oliver Lafayette awakened from his mini-hibernation, Mario West flipped in an and-1 to give the Claws a four point lead with under a minute to go. Lazare hit two from the line (giving him 36 for the game) and West badly missed a flailing layup due to excellent shot defense from Lafayette. Chris Kramer then tied the game on an and-1 of his own, unfortunately missing the free throw (does that still make it an and-1? Basketball nomenclature is strange, sometimes). Marvin Phillips with the rebound. Time out Fort Wayne.
Fourth Quarter- (Maine: 101, Fort Wayne: 101)
Walker Russell hits a fantastic fall-away 12 footer with less than a second on the clock. The Red claws ran a tip-in play for DeShawn Sims, which he hit, but the officials determined he didn't get it off in time. The Mad Ants stage a massive come from behind victory (not that the comeback was all that big, just the manner in which it occurred was impressive, what with Lafayette and Roderick Wilmont combining for 9 points and all).
Final Score: Maine Red Claws: 101, Fort Wayne Mad Ants: 103 (Box Score)
Player(s) of the Game:
Fort Wayne: Darnell Lazare was the constant tonight, scoring consistently from all angles and contributing the lion's share of the Ants 42 points in the paint. His numbers on the night: 36 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists on 13 of 19 shooting (10-12 from the line)
Maine: DeShawn Sims/Mario West. These two were, unsurprisingly, the best best players on the floor for Maine all game. Not much else to say, really. They combined for 37 points on 14 of 21 shooting.
A big, big win for the Mad Ants and a heck of a way to start off what I hope to be a moderately long and semi illustrious career here at RU. Thanks for reading!