With all 10 players making a positive impact on the game during their time on the court, the Tampa Bay Rebels opened the 2014 FBA season with a 122-115 victory in Lakes Wales over the Heartland Prowl. The balanced attack saw all 5 Tampa Bay starters reach double figures and 9 players in total score during the game, while Cory Lemons, Bryce Kachinski, and James Devlin each tallied at least 5 assists.
In a tightly contested first half, the Rebels managed 18 assists on 23 field goals and hit 10 of 18 shots from downtown, but struggled on the defensive end which resulted in a 65-62 halftime deficit. The Rebels picked up the intensity on the defensive end of the court during the 3rd quarter, holding the Prowl to just 22 points while taking a slim 88-87 lead into the final period. Tampa Bay continued to extend the lead into the 4th quarter spurred on by the defensive effort, including a crucial block by newcomer Saladeem Dewberry on a Prowl dunk attempt late in the fourth quarter. The block energized the Rebels and helped them seize control of the momentum as they outscored the Prowl 34-28 in the fourth and secured an important road victory early in the season.
Cory Lemons finished the game with 27 points and 13 assists, while Bryce Kachinski hit 5 three-pointers on his way to 23 points. Center Joe Katuka asserted himself inside, scoring 17 points, grabbing 10 boards and adding 2 blocks, and Spenser Mitchell added 15 points and 7 rebounds. James Devlin provided solid defense with 3 steals and added 15 points. The second unit was led by Jonathan Brown with 8 points, while Rob Fuchs added 7 points. Saladeem Dewberry chipped in 6 points in addition to several key defensive plays, and Jamison Clark scored 4 points, while Stedmen Burnett made his impact felt on the defensive end of the court.
The Rebels will play their home opener on May 17th at Freedom High School against the Miami Midnites. The game will start at 6pm and will feature giveaways from Burger21. To keep up to date with the latest Tampa Bay Rebels, please visit www.tampabayrebels.com.