The Rebels faced their first road test of the season as they played a back to back series against the Palm Beach Knights. The renovated Knights are loaded with young talent this year. “Coach Spruill Jr. has done a great job revamping the Knights roster. I have no doubt he is going to have a successful season,” Coach Rojas commented.
The first game, on Saturday May 11th, saw the return of Tampa’s point guard Jonathan Brown, who had been sidelined since training camp after suffering a leg injury. When asked about his injury, Brown replied, “My leg feels fine. I’m just glad to be back.”
The Knights started the contest by implementing a half-court press that allowed Palm Beach to play up-tempo basketball, keeping the score close at the half. The game, however, was dominated by Rebels center Charles Okwandu, who patrolled the paint efficiently and finished the game with 27 points, 20 rebounds and 5 blocks. Forward Jamison Clark also contributed 22 points for Tampa Bay as the Rebels pulled out a 128-106 victory. Earl Mills led the Knights with 22 points while Anthony Daniels chipped in 20 in the loss.
The following day, both teams headed back to Inlet Grove High School to face off in the weekend finale. The home team came out of the gate running the floor hard and made consecutive 3-point shots to end the first half 14 points ahead of the visiting team. The Knights’ Germer Kinsey teamed with Earl Mills and Anthony Daniels to score a combined 52 points throughout the game. In the third quarter, however, Tampa Bay made a comeback thanks to outstanding defensive efforts from guards Stan Bufford, Aubrey West, and Jonathan Brown. Rebels shooting guard Robert Fuchs took full advantage of his time on the court, producing 25 points and 5 rebounds. Stan Bufford finished with a double-double adding 21 points and 10 rebounds as the Rebels completed the weekend sweep with a 118-97 victory.
The Rebels, who now stand at 4-0, return to action on Saturday, May 18th as they face the Palm Beach Knights at 7pm at Freedom High School in New Tampa. Children under 13 receive free admission to the game and tickets cost only $10 for those 13 and older. Tickets may be purchased at the gym on the night of the game or at the R●Sole store located within University Square Mall near the USF campus. For additional information, please visit www.tampabayrebels.com.