In the first game of the new season the Burning River Buckets started off slow. But once they found their groove, they began overwhelming the Ohio Bruins winning the game 115-101.
In their second season as an organization, the Burning River Buckets plan on taking the next leap by winning an ABA National Championship. Last year’s Regional Champions in which they defeated the Ohio Bruins, the Buckets are on a mission to go even further this year.
When speaking to team owner and President, George Phillips, I asked him what was the LAL for this year? He responded with two words. “National Championship.” The Buckets felt that after their first year in the ABA, they now understand the rules, and what it takes to win in the ABA.
Bringing back all of last year’s team, they have continuity. A family. That was the sentiment from both Phillips and Gabe Kynard., who both described the team as a “family.” This year, they started off the season against the Ohio Bruins, who they avenged two losses in the regular season by beating in the playoffs. The game started off back and forth, but by the end, the Buckets were victorious.
First quarter started off slowly as both teams were trying to get acclimated. The game’s first bucket were free throws by team captain Dylan Contento. Both the Buckets and Bruins were slow to get offense started. The Buckets lost starting center Michael Ryan early to an ankle injury. The Bruins took advantage by pounding the ball inside. The first quarter was back and forth but the Bruins ended up leading 23-22.
The second quarter started opened with a Gabe Kynard personal 6-0 run. The second year point guard was able to get to the lane and finish over and around the Bruins big men. Because of Kynard getting to the lane, Martell Medley was able to shoot from outside. Medley came in because of the injury to Ryan and was able to provide a spark. He made two threes, which was a sign of more to come. The inside- outside combination and some timely blocks from Contento, he’d the Buckets up 53-43 at the half. Kynard finished the first half with 25 points to lead all scorers.
In the third quarter, the Bruins tightened up their defense. Contento picked up 2 fouls and had to sit, and the Bruins started pounding the ball inside. The Bruins Josh Shannon took advantage of the Buckets small lineup and scored 8 points to lead the Bruins in scoring in the third quarter. The Bruins started to full court press and received a boost from Jay Farrow who was late arriving. The Buckets got timely threes from Medley, who made three straight threes to keep the Buckets ahead 81-75 after three.
The fourth quarter, the Buckets turned up the defense and started to pull away. President Phillips started his usual pacing up and down the side lines as the quarter started and the Bruins were staying close. The Bruins put Shannon on Kynard and it seemed to slow the Buckets from getting into their offense. That lasted until the Buckets called a time out. With the Bruins pressing, the Buckets needed to regroup. After the time out, the Buckets settled down and extended their lead to 100-85 thanks to back-to-back threes from Anthony Coleman and Medley. With about 4 minutes left, I told Phillips the Buckets were good and he finally let out a smile. Gave Kynard finished with 35 points while Martell Medley chipped in 22. Dylan Contento ended with 16 points despite foul trouble. This was a total team effort as KT Taylor and Anthony Coleman came up with great defensive stops and scores.
Next up the Buckets will take on the Akron Aviators on November 12th at 7. You can get your tickets at the door or here.
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