The Tampa Bay Rebels started the 2013 season with a thrilling overtime victory against the Heartland Prowl, winning 123 – 122. Both teams offered fans the best basketball outside the NBA in this rematch of the 2012 FBA championship game.
Stan Bufford, guard for the Rebels, was hot in the first quarter with 12 points, all from behind the three-point mark. The Rebels pull away by 16 points in the first quarter, but Prowl’s sharpshooter Bryce Kachinski scored 14 points in the half helping the Prowl get back into the game as they trailed 60-50 at the half.
The Prowl made a second-half run with strong play from guard Junior Geidi, who finished with 26 points. As the horn sounded to end regulation, the teams were knotted at 107 points. Prowl power forward Derrell Hendrson finished the night with 12 points and made a crucial play in overtime to keep his team within striking distance. The Rebels, however, would not be denied in the extra period, and squeaked out the 1-point win.
Cornell Young, Head Coach of the Prowl, commented after the game, “It was a very competitive game. Both teams showed the same determination to win. It’s a tough loss, but we will be ready for the next game.”
Rebels’ center Charles Okwandu was a force throughout the game scoring a double – double with 22 points and 15 rebounds while shooting 75% from the free-throw line. As a team, the Rebels had a spectacular game from the free-throw line, shooting 87 percent. Chris Stephenson knocked down all 5 of his attempts, while forward Jamison Clark was a perfect 9 for 9 from the charity stripe.
After the game, Coach Rojas said, “I am glad about the win. We played hard and won against one of the best clubs in the FBA. We had good moments of basketball, but we still need to work on the defensive end.”
The Tampa Bay Rebels will return to action on Sunday, May 5th at Freedom High School in New Tampa as they face the Florida Flight. The game will start at 2pm. Tickets are free for children under 13 and are only $10 for those who are 13 and older, and may be purchased at the R●Sole store in University Square Mall or at the gate on the day of the game. Please visit www.tampabayrebels.com for additional information.