January 21, 2016
ST. LOUIS – Each of the seven Midwest Professional Basketball Association teams will be taking the court this weekend, as the league features a jam-packed slate of six games between Friday and Sunday.
The undefeated Pontiac 66ers (3-0) open the weekend on the road against the Chicago Blues (0-2), who are searching for their first win on the young season. Jake Anderson, who spent time in the Chicago Bulls’ preseason training camp, leads the Sixers in scoring at 25.7 points per game. Six other Pontiac players average in double figures in scoring for Durrell Robinson’s team. Marcus Hammonds falls just shy of averaging a double-double, with a 13.7 per-game scoring average, and a 9.3 rebounding average. MPBA veteran Tremell Adams leads the Blues at 20.0 points per game, while Al Rapier averages 18.0 points and 10.0 rebounds per game for Rick Pryor.
Saturday’s first game also features a home team hungry to break into the win column, as the defending champion Champaign Swarm (0-3) host the Lima Express (1-2). Reigning MPBA Player of the Week Michael Rogers leads Champaign with 28.3 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. John Spezia’s team features six players averaging in double figures, including MPBA three-point leader Oliver McGlade, who is shooting 11 of 22 from three-point range. Cordaryl Ballard leads Lima at 26.3 points per game, with James Helton right behind at 24.0 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. Guard Johnny Elliott leads Mark Anderson’s squad on the glass, averaging 8.0 rebounds per game.
The Blues swing right back into action Saturday afternoon, taking on their in-building rivals, the Windy City Groove at the Kroc Center. Handy Johnson’s unbeaten team (2-0) is led by a pair of 20-plus-point scorers, Dion Cooksey (25.0) and C.J. Hampton (24.0). Four other Groove average in double figures in scoring, including Isiah Martin, who averages 14.0 points and 9.5 rebounds per game.
On Sunday, the MPBA returns to Bloomington’s U.S. Cellular Coliseum for the first of two regular-season double-headers. The first game features Lima taking on the Gateway Steam (0-1). First-year coach Milton Stith is led by three twenty-point scorers, Lonnel Johnson (27.0), Bryant Allen (23.0) and Lanard Bryant (20.0). Connell Crossland scored 17 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in the Steam’s only contest thus far.
While Lima and Gateway are doing battle, the Groove and 66ers will tip off in Pontiac in a matchup of unbeaten teams.
The final game of the weekend will take place in Bloomington, as the Swarm take on the St. Louis RiverSharks. St. Louis is 2-0 under Ray Farrell, having to come from behind in the second half in both of their road wins. Reigning league Most Valuable Player Justin Bocot leads the RiverSharks and the league at 28.5 points per game. Five other ‘Sharks average scoring in double figures.
Fans can watch each and every MPBA game this weekend and all season long in high definition on MPBA.tv, live and free of charge. The MPBA website, www.theMPBA.com, also features league standings, statistics, and league leaders, as well as complete rosters and results from the season to date.