Beltway Bombers win APBL championship
Slow third quarter not enough to hinder hoops team to title
Before the outset of the game and then prior to the start of the third quarter on Saturday night, Beltway Bombers head coach and team owner Chaz Dudley cautioned his players about the explosiveness of his opposition, the APBL United, in the American Professional Basketball League title game at the College of Southern Maryland in La Plata.
The Bombers (15-1 overall) had been the league’s best team throughout the season, winning by an average margin of over 25 points per contest while leading the league in scoring offense and scoring defense. But prior to the start of Saturday’s APBL title game, Dudley reminded his players that the final measuring stick for the season hinged on Saturday’s game.
“Before the guys broke the huddle before the start of the game, I reminded them that everything we wanted to accomplish this season rested on this game,” Dudley said. “I reminded them that all of their efforts during the regular season had gotten us to this point, but now everyone had to step up their efforts even more and play with added passion.”
Through the opening half, the Bombers heeded the advice of their coach, racing to a 60-48 halftime advantage that might have appeared comfortable under most circumstances. But when the teams emerged from the locker room for the start of the third quarter, Dudley had one last hint of advice for his squad with the league title well within their grasp.
“At the start of the third quarter, I reminded the guys that we still had to take away their two best players and then be able to withstand a run,” Dudley said. “Our goal was to stretch a 12-point lead to a 20-point lead heading to the fourth quarter, but I told our guys their goal was to limit our advantage to five points or less. So, the third quarter was going to be a battle of wills.”
In retrospect, the battle of wills during the third quarter went favorably for APBL United, which rallied to claim a two-point lead briefly before the Bombers reclaimed the advantage heading to the fourth. During the final frame, while the Bombers were able to rotate fresh, effective players onto the floor, the United squad wilted late and the Bombers eventually
pulled away for a 123-105 victory.
“During the third quarter, United did a lot of things well and we did not do a lot of the little things,” Dudley said. “We gave up open looks and second chance baskets. The effort just wasn’t there. But by the middle portion of the fourth quarter I could tell our guys were fresh and their guys were gassed. They just ran out of steam after all their work in the third quarter.”
Dudley mentioned that the Bombers pulled away late thanks to a crucial turning point. Bombers guard Dez Simms had committed an unforced turnover, enabling the United a possession that could have trimmed the deficit to nine. But Simms redeemed himself by making a steal and a layup and within minutes the Bombers had stretched the lead back to 20 points with four minutes to play.
“After the game the guys were already looking forward to training camp in October and making a bid to repeat,” said Dudley, whose team won the APBL title previously back in 2012-13. “But I told them are focus is not on a repeat. We had to savor this one and think about getting the next one. When we had all of our key players available, we were almost impossible to beat. I wanted them to maintain that mindset heading into next season.”
In the title game, Derrell Armstrong led the Bombers with 24 points, Danny Sumner added 22 and Boo Jackson contributed 18. Four other Bombers scored at least double figures to help the squad pull away late over United for the league crown.
Beltway Bombers coach and team owner Chaz Dudley confers with his players during a timeout earlier this season. On Saturday night Dudley guided his team to a 123-105 victory over APBL United to capture the American Professional Basketball League championship game at the College of Southern Maryland in La Plata.
Beltway Bombers center Danny Sumner drives to the basket in a game earlier this season. Sumner scored 22 points on Saturday night and was one of seven players for the Bombers to reach double figures as the local squad prevailed over APBL United for a 123-105 victory in the American Professional Basketball League Championship game at the College of Southern Maryland in La Plata.