Beltway Bombers win APBL cham­pi­onship

Slow third quar­ter not enough to hin­der hoops team to ti­tle

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By TED BLACK tblack@somd­news.com

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.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

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.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

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.

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