Rainmen Quit the (Not-So) Premier Basketball League

Halifax is now a “No PBL Area”The Premier Basketball League logo with a line through it.

On Monday night, Halifax Rainmen joined the Saint John Mill Rats in exiting the Premier Basketball League (PBL), effective immediately. The Lawton-Fort Sill Cavalry may not be far behind either.

The Rainmen chose to withdraw from the league following a controviersial championship final game between the Rochester RazorSharks and the Lawton-Fort Sill Cavalry. The Rochester RazorSharks apparently won the decisive game, but it is shrouded in accusations of biased officating and match fixing.

The RazorSharks are owned by Dr. Severko Hrywnak, who is also the owner of the PBL. I don’t see any conflict of interest, do you?

“It’s a disgrace to professional sports, especially to minor league basketball.” said Lawton-Fort Sill Cavalry head coach Micheal Ray Richardson, upset over an apparent imbalance in the officiating during the PBL Finals.

The final game of the series saw a 37-17 foul differential between the RazorSharks and Cavalry. Lawton-Fort Sill had only one foul shot in the second half of the game. That is rare for a team that focuses much of its offense on a big-body game in the paint.

The PBL website posted a release announcing the Rochester championship victory written by the RazorSharks, citing their “aggressive attack-the-basket style” as the reason for foul imbalances during the playoffs, this is despite statistics reported in a Rochester paper thatFort-Lawton Sill dominated inside, outscoring Rochester 62-22 in the paint.

The most blatant instance of the inept officiating came late in the game when Cavalry player Eddie Smith stole the ball and was charged with theft…

No really, he stole the ball and drove down the court with a chance to tie the game. A RazorShark defender was called for a foul, sending Smith to the free throw line for the tie. Err…wait… that was until the call was overturned by another official claiming it was a non-shooting foul.

Andre Levingston had seen enough.

“After watching the final playoff series and analyzing the statistics, I have decided to withdraw the Halifax Rainmen from the Premier Basketball League,” said the Halifax Rainmen President & CEO. “I am appalled by the officiating that took place during the playoffs, and am ashamed of the PBL’s operations this season. I want nothing but the best for our city, our fans, our sponsors, and our players, and I can say with confidence that the best is no longer found in the PBL.”

Levingston says that he does not and will not recognize the Rochester RazorSharks as this season’s champions, and that the Lawton Fort-Sill Cavalry are most deserving of the title. Lawton-Fort Sill even declared themselves the 2011 PBL Champions following the game.

Over the next few weeks, Levingston will continue to examine his 2011-12 league options, but is adamant that there will be professional basketball in the city of Halifax next season.

“We are very optimistic and excited about the options we are currently weighing,” he said. “Our organization will always remain committed to providing Halifax with the most professional sporting and entertainment experience minor league basketball has to offer.”

Catch the closing moment of the “game” here:

Perhaps they will look into options, like a summer league which was discussed in yesterday’s Chronicle Herald

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