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MPBA weekend preview

By Craig Fata, 01/27/16, 1:00PM CST


Groove look to remain unbeaten as Steam eye first win


January 27, 2016

Six of the Midwest Professional Basketball Association’s seven teams are in action again this weekend, as one team looks for its first win, and another looks to remain unbeaten.

Opening the weekend are the Gateway Steam (0-2) and the Chicago Blues (1-3) Friday at the Kroc Center in Chicago.  The Blues won an overtime thriller over the previously unbeaten Pontiac 66ers last week, and the next night fell two points short of going to overtime with the unbeaten Windy City Groove.  Gateway lost Sunday to the Lima Express in Bloomington.

Kansas All-American Sherron Collins, who joined the Blues just before last weekend’s games, leads the team at 19.0 points and 4.5 assists per game.  But Collins isn’t the Blues’ only weapon—six other players average scoring in double figures, including Al Rapier, who averages 17.5 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. 

Lonnel Johnson leads the Steam and the MPBA in scoring at 31.0 points per game.

The next night, the Blues head down I-55 to take on the Pontiac 66ers.  After starting off 3-0, the 66ers have dropped their last two contests, including a 147-144 overtime heartbreaker to the Groove.  Pontiac boasts a pair of 20-point-per-game scorers in Jake Anderson (24.2) and Alfonzo Houston (23.4) at the top of an extremely athletic lineup.

Also Saturday, the Groove (4-0) journey to Champaign to take on the Swarm, who just earned their first win on the season by taking down the previously unbeaten St. Louis RiverSharks.  Reigning MPBA Player of the Week Dion Cooksey leads the Groove at 29.5 points per game, with six other Groove players also scoring in double figures.  Isiah Martin is another Groove standout, at 17.2 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.

Michael Rogers leads Champaign (1-4) at 26.5 points and 7.8 rebounds per contest.  Adrien Coleman (21.0) and Jordan Walker (19.8) bolster the offense, as does MPBA-leading three-point shooter Oliver McGlade.

On Sunday, the 66ers head east to Lima to visit the Express (3-2).  Lima’s record has been the opposite of Pontiac’s—after dropping their first two games, the Express have won three straight.  James Helton is having a monster season for Lima, averaging 27.0 points and 7.8 rebounds per game, while Cordaryl Ballard is also putting up 25.0 points and 4.8 assists per game.

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