The Tampa Bay Rebels started their 2015 season by accepting an opportunity to play at Fort Gordon, which is considered the most important military base in the Southeast, against the Fort Gordon Eagles of the East Coast Basketball League (ECBL). Fort Gordon is a large, multi-service military installation providing base services and support across a wide spectrum of training, operational and soldier sustainment needs. The Tampa Bay Rebels would like to thank the Fort Gordon Eagles and Coach Eddie Byrd for their hospitality throughout the weekend which featured two very exciting games between the two clubs.
The first matchup between the teams on Saturday, March 21st, was extremely tight throughout the first half as the Rebels missed several easy baskets and shot just 54% from the free-throw line. Although Fort Gordon held the lead during the majority of the first quarter, the Rebels battled back and evened the score at 24 going into the second quarter. With the Rebels trailing by 7 late in the second period and in need of a run, guard Derrod Williams scored seven straight points to bring the Rebels all the way back and even the score at 47 apiece heading into intermission. Tampa Bay finally found a rhythm in the 3rd quarter, outscoring Fort Gordon 36-21 to hold an 83-68 going into the final period. Fort Gordon would not go away quietly, however, and slowly chipped away at the lead, trimming the lead to 101-98 with just over two minutes remaining in the game. On the Rebels next offensive possession, center Marlon Jones knocked down two crucial free-throws to extend the lead to 103-98, stopping the run and giving the Rebels enough momentum to pull out a 108-100 victory.
Derrod Williams finished the game with 28 points, and was aided by double-doubles from both Isaiah Mason (23 points and 10 rebounds) and Marlon Jones (13 points and 10 rebounds). The chemistry of the Rebels was evident as the team assisted each other on 32 of 40 made field goals for the game.
Game two, on Sunday, March 22nd, was another highly competitive game. With the score tied at 17 at the end of the first period, Tampa Bay outscored Fort Gordon 30-22 over the next 12 minutes to hold a 47-39 halftime lead. Fort Gordon, however, opened the third quarter on a 14-5 run to take a 53-52 advantage with 7:30 left in the third quarter. After a timeout, the Rebels outscored the Eagles 12-5 over the next 82 seconds to take back the lead at 64-58 halfway through the third period and never looked back as they fought to a 108-96 victory.
The Rebels placed six players in double-figures, led by Isaiah Mason with 22. Julian Harris added 14, while Derrod Williams and Antoine Williams contributed 13 points apiece. Marlon Jones notched another double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds, and Shaq Barber also chipped in 10 points in the win.
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