SB Mavericks hold final scrimmage before ABA Finals

By Kirk Copeland
(318) 525-8853 cell

Saturday, March 28th

(Shreveport, LA.) – Saturday’s final intrasquad scrimmage before the American Basketball Association Championship Finals could not have gone much more according to plan for the Shreveport-Bossier Mavericks.

With only sharp-shooting forward Jermaine Blackburn sitting out to rest a minor hamstring injury, the Mavs kept everyone healthy as the White squad coached by assistant Al Waldvogel edged the Gold team coached by assistant Sarah Gayler, 38-35, in two eight-minute halves at Mavericks Training Facility on the Louisiana State Fairgrounds.

The players were very loose and upbeat during the pre-game shootaround and post-game stretching, but the competition level during the game was possibly the best the team has seen all season.

“We got a lot of good things out of this today,” said head coach Steve Tucker. “Our guys have got a lot of pride and want to win every time they compete at anything. We got after it out there, and I thought everybody contributed. Mike Crain looked great, and Ike (Chad Eichelberger) had some very strong rebounding. Currye (Todd) played very well. Of course, our big guys were great – Jon Rogers and Brandon Davis. (Josh) Pace just did what he always does, and that’s play excellent.

“It was also good that the game was so close, and we had to play in a situation like that. It gave us a chance to work on some specific things. A good day of work like this only helps us to get better heading to The Finals.”

Todd led all scorers with 12 points for the White team, the second week in a row he has topped the score charts for the Mavs. Guard Jonathan Phelps dropped in eight points and Eichelberger added six for the White. Point guard P.J. Couisnard led the Gold squad with seven points, while Pace and Rogers added six each.

Rogers, who is still sporting the black eye he got in last weekend’s scrimmage, was back to his normal, tenacious self, scoring the game’s first points less than 15 seconds into play. He said afterward that he feels good and that he did not think about the eye injury.

“It will take a lot more than that to get in my head,” said Rogers with a grin. “It never entered my mind once that ball went up.”

The Mavericks are preparing to host the Championship Finals April 7-13 at Hirsch Memorial Coliseum. The final four teams facing off in a double-elimination format prior to a best two-of-three series to crown the 2015 ABA Champion. Shreveport-Bossier won last year’s Finals, also hosted by the Mavericks, and have won 88-straight games, a professional basketball record.

Tickets for the Finals can be purchased at or the Hirsch Memorial Coliseum box office. Call 318/631-4930 for more ticket information.

For further information on the ongoing ABA playoffs, visit and


***** Coach Tucker gave the team two days off following the scrimmage to rest and get focused on the upcoming Finals. The Mavericks will get back to work Tuesday to begin final preparations for the event, which starts in 10 days.

***** Most of the Mavericks, the coaching staff, members of the Lady Mavs Dance Team, and other team staff were in attendance for Wyndham Appreciation Cocktail Hour at the Wyndham Gardens Hotel Friday. The team met with the public, including members of the Booker T. Washington High School Alumni Association, and enjoyed food and drink compliments of the hotel. Mavericks guard Tyrone Hamilton is a 2005 graduate of BTW.

***** Alex “The Ticket” Sanders’ Louisville Cardinals sailed into the Elite Eight Friday night with a 75-65 win over North Carolina State. “We got a shot,” said Sanders, who played for the Cardinals in the 1997 Elite Eight, losing to North Carolina. “Our defense continues to play like we’ve been playing lately, I think we can beat anybody.”

***** A sign that the team is loose came post-scrimmage Saturday from Waldvogel. When asked what he thought was the key to his White team’s win, Waldvogel flashed his customary wide grin and said, “I’d like to think it was the coaching.”

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