(Orlando, FL) – The Heartland Prowl gave the Tampa Bay Rebels their first home court loss of the season, winning the 2013 FBA Championship by a score if 111-109.
The game was one of the best thus far in the FBA, with both teams commanding double digit leads at different points throughout the game.
The Rebels’ Cory Lemons set the pace early on, exploiting the zone defense of the Prowl and pushing his team to a 17-5 advantage to start the game.
With some key defensive adjustments and stellar rebounding from Arnold Lewis and Tyrell Harper, the Prowl clawed back to take a 52-44 lead at halftime.
It was the Rebels’ Chris Stephenson show early in the 3rd quarter, who scored 8 straight points to decrease the Prowl lead to single digits. Multiple Prowl 3-pointers by Junior Geidi, Mike Floyd and Bryce Kachinski helped the Prowl take back control, capturing the biggest lead of the night with a 91-76 advantage at the end of the 3rd quarter.
The Rebels refused to give up, using stellar team defense and back to back 3-pointers from Stan Bufford to pull within 1 with less than 5 minutes to go in the game. An additional crucial Aubrey West 3-pointer with less than a minute remaining helped the Rebels tie the game with 28.6 seconds remaining.
The Prowl held for one shot, with St. Fort dribbling the clock down before penetrating the Rebels defense and scoring a contested lay-up drive despite being fouled. He would miss the free throw, giving the Prowl just a 2 point advantage with just 3.1 seconds remaining. With one last opportunity to tie or take the lead, the Rebels called time out and advanced the ball to half court. They inbounded the ball to Bufford, who took one hard dribble to the rim. His bank shot was too hard, sealing the championship win for the Prowl.
The FBA Championship MVP award went to Prowl forward and Savannah State alum Arnold Lewis. Lewis left an imprint on every aspect of the game, contributing 27 points, 15 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 blocks and 2 steals to lead the Prowl to victory. Kachinski also added 24 points, including 5 three-pointers on the night.
The Rebels were led by Cory Lemons, who added the first triple-double in FBA Playoff history. Lemons finished with 27 points, 15 assists, and 11 rebounds. Stephenson finished with 24 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists, and Bufford added 21 points and 10 rebounds.
The 2013 Championship game was a rematch of 2012, and sweet revenge for the Prowl, who fell short to the Rebels in the FBA’s inaugural season. Including the playoffs, the two teams finish with an overall record of 11-3 for the 2013 season. Over the course of five total 2013 games against each other, the Prowl narrowly outscored the Rebels 557-555 in total points scored. In just two seasons, the teams have developed a hotly-contested rivalry that should continue to provide fans with game-day excitement for seasons to come.
The FBA is a Florida-based independent professional basketball league providing a development, branding and exposure platform for athletes, referees and other individuals seeking to further their professional basketball career.