Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania & New Castle, Delaware-January 25 &26, 2020-The Philly Cannons, winless thus far in 2020, travelled to Wilkes-Barre, PA to face the number 2 ranked team in the nation, the Wyoming Valley Clutch, in an American Basketball Association (ABA) contest Saturday. The short-handed Cannons only dressed six (6) players but gave the Clutch all they could handle coming up short in a 131-130 loss.
Philadelphia got out of the gates fast and controlled the entire first half taking a 66-62 lead into halftime. However, as expected, Wyoming Valley came out in the 3rd quarter with a 15-3 run turning the tide in their favor and taking the lead. The Cannons stayed the course though and continued knocking down 3 point shots, bringing the game to a 6 point deficit for Philly heading into the 4th quarter. Philly continued their hot shooting in the 4th, making 9 more three pointers in the last quarter, and 20 3’s for the game. The Cannons were up by as many as 7 points in the 4th stanza, and held a five point advantage with only 2:20 remaining on the clock. “We just couldn’t finish off the win with too many crucial free throw misses in the clutch (no pun intended),” said combo guard Marcus Thomas, who lead all scorers with 38 points. “We played hard, stood our ground in their hostile environment… only made us stronger and displayed what we are capable of accomplishing,” said 1st year wing guard, Tyree Tucker, who hit 7 of the 20 three pointers including 5 in the fourth quarter alone.
The Cannons placed five of the six players that dressed in double figures. In addition to Thomas’ 38, Khayyir Laws went for 31 points including 4 three pointers, and Tucker scored 23. Shawn Williams added 18 and forward Isiah Gans contributed 11 points. “With six guys on the road against the number 2 (team in the country), we played a great game despite missing free throws… we got good production from all six guys that played,” stated Laws.
On Sunday, the Cannons journeyed down Interstate 95 to New Castle, Delaware to face the revamped West Chester Wildcats for an ABA contest with significant implications in the Mid -Atlantic Region playoff race. West Chester jumped on the Cannons early hitting from the perimeter, while Philly could not finish in the paint leading to an early seven point lead for the Wildcats after the first quarter. The second quarter was more back and forth between the two rivals, with Philly’s Deione Lathem giving the Cannons the lead on a put back at the buzzer for a 56-54 lead.
In the second half, after some lapses, the Cannons were able to take control of the game in the fourth quarter. “We started off good by locking in on defense then let up…but we regrouped and locked back in,” said Laws, who had 21 points in the game. “I just feel like we locked in when we needed to…and put the key stops together at the right time,” offered Thomas, who led all scorers again with 35 points. The Cannons were able to secure their first win of 2020 defeating West Chester 121-108. “That game was a lot of fun,” said Team President, Roger Beckwith who filled in for Head Coach Andre Rivers for both games since Rivers was needed on the roster. “This win was big…needed this for the playoff race,” said Laws. In addition to Thomas’ 35 and Laws’ 21 points, forward Shaquille Duncan was a force inside with 20 and Shawn Williams added 10 to place four Cannons in double figures.
The Cannons, now 5-8 on the season, will continue on the road next Saturday, February 1, 2020 for a 7:15 PM tip-off with the Hub City Hogs out of Hagerstown, Maryland. The matchup will take place at 18614 Crestwood Drive, Hagerstown, Maryland. The ABA consists of over 150 teams nationwide, and the Cannons compete in the Mid Atlantic Division with the Baltimore Hawks, DC Soul, Hub City Hogs, Pottstown Flames, Virginia Veterans, West Chester Wildcats, York Buccaneers, Richmond Elite, PG Valor, the Ephrata Thunder, Fredericksburg Grizzlies, Philadelphia Raiders, Norristown Knights, Roanoke Rising Stars, and the West Virginia Warlocks. Please visit www.phillycannons.com & www.abaliveaction.com for more information.