Rainmen Fall to the Cavalry

Eric "Air Canada" Crookshank takes flight to try and keep the play alive against the Fort-Sill Cavalry: photo by Scott Kirkpatrick, stkphoto.com

After a two day delay, the Halifax Rainmen took the court against the PBL defending champs, Fort-Sill Cavalry. The 2-0 Rainmen saw this match-up as a good early season test against a quality opponent.

Halifax held their own and battled the Cavalry hard for three out of the four quarters, but a bad second was the difference. The Rainmen were never able to claw all the way back.

If you omit the second quarter, there was only a two point difference between each team in the other three quarters, with the Rainmen holding the advantage in the final two frames.

But a 26-13 second quarter gave the Cavalry a comfortable lead and defending champs rarely squander such opportunities.

After Fort-Sill started the second quarter on a 10-0 run, the Rainmen lost a bit of focus and poise. They began rushing shots and making bad decisions with the ball; not the way to stop a drought.

The Cavalry were led by Elvin Mims who put up 24 points (20 in the second half) to go a long with his six boards, two assists and two blocks.

For the Rainmen, Taliek Brown led the way with 18 points. Kavon Jones (16 pts, 11 rebs) and Eric Crookshank (12 pts, 15 rebs) each had posted a double-double.

Jones’ play, or lack thereof, may have been the x-factor for the Rainmen loss. When in the game, Jones proved to be a force on the boards and putting up points.

The big man saw limtied action in the first half though. After picking up two quick fouls in the first quarter, Jones took a spot on the bench. He came back in the second, but only managed about two minutes before picking up another foul. He only saw a total of about five minutes of action in the half.

Another contributing factor to his low minutes could have been a collision that saw Jones hit the deck hard in the first quarter. Drivng to the bucket, the Cavalry defender came in hard on Jones and sent him to the floor. Jones was slow to get up, but initially stayed in the game.

By the end of the third quarter, it seemed the Rainmen were beginning to claw their way back from the 15-point deficit at the half, and momentum was swinging their way.

Crookshank and Marshall Mitchell hooked up on a pretty alley-oop that got the crowd back into the game late in the third. Not long after Crookshank nailed a buzzer-beating trey to end the quarter.

A few late fouls, helped Halifax pull close with a few minutes left, getting within eight at one point, but ultimately they couldn’t makeup the ground they’d lost in the second Q.

After the game, Cavalry coach Michael Ray acknowledged the talent on the Halifax team, but attributed the difference to having a relatively consistent roster over the last few seasons.

The Rainmen return to action Saturday at 7 pm at the Metro Centre as they go head-to-head with the Kentucky Bluegrass Stallions.

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