By Matt Woodman
The Halifax Rainmen find themselves in a hole after Saturday’s 93-92 overtime loss to the Lawton-Fort Sill Cavalry in the opening game of the semifinals.
The Rainmen now travel to Oklahoma where they must win the final two games of the series to become Premier Basketball League Champions.
The Rainmen are considered underdogs againts the league’s defending champions The Cavs, who trailed for less than four minutes throughout regulation time. The Rainmen couldn’t hold on to their four point lead with 53 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, as Lawton-Fort Sill silenced a loud Metro Centre crowd of 2,089 by tying the game at 84 points.
“It comes down to defence,” says forward Eric Crookshank, who posted six points. “It just sucks that we couldn’t win this game and go steal one in Oklahoma.”
The Rainmen realize the difficult task that awaits them. Their next two games are must wins and the Cavs haven’t lost a game at home in the past two seasons. The Cavs went 18-2 during the regular season, compared to the Rainmen’s record of 10-10.
“It’s going to be hard, but were going to try to go in there and get two wins,” says point guard Taliek Brown who finished with 16 points. “We have to stay confident, stay together as a team and go out there and play hard.”
The Rainmen also gave up a slim one point lead in overtime, after fighting back from two seperate three point deficits, but the Cavs topped off overtime with a basket that came with less then ten seconds remaining in overtime. The players and coach Mike Evans agreed things have to tighten up in time for the second game.
Listen to Rainmen head coach Mike Evans talk about what his team needs to do in preparation for the next game:
“We have to forget about this loss and we just have to go play. We made some mistakes and will work to correct them,” says DeAndre Thomas who had 17 points, tops amongst both teams.
“We played good the whole game today but we just let down in the stretch,” says Taliek Brown. ” We have to execute better down in their end.”
During the game, Cavalry’s head coach Michael Ray Richardson defended his jacket choice to some Halifax fans after they gave him a hard time about the design.
“Everytime I wear this jacket to Halifax we win,” Richardson yelled back.
Rainmen fans are hoping its luck doesn’t carry over to Oklahoma.