Last night the Maine Red Claws held on for a win against the Iowa Energy 106-96.
The first place Iowa Energy came into town last night for a match-up against your second place Maine Red Claws, and as expected, it was an exciting, well-played game by both teams. The Red Claws made all the adjustments they needed to make after last Friday’s disappointing last-minute loss and came out on top in an important matchup that could set the tone for the remainder of the season.
Last night the Red Claws were really functioning as a unit, and as a result played some of their best basketball of the season. They started out the game hot, running out to an early lead over the Energy, but Iowa wouldn’t let that stand, creating a run of their own – and an impressive 30-22 lead by the end of the first.
In this game, though, whenever Iowa started getting some momentum going, Maine would come right out and answer. They didn’t let Iowa’s offensive powerhouse take control for very long, whether in the first quarter or the fourth. Heading into the fourth, Maine had a five-point lead over the Energy, but Iowa came out with another run and entirely turned that around midway through the quarter. Unlike last Friday, Maine was unfazed, and answered back with a run of its own. The Red Claws not only kept the game close, but re-established an impressive lead in the final minutes that they never relinquished, holding on to the momentum – and the game.
While Morris Almond led the team with 21 points and 16 rebounds, Paul Davis had an impressive night as well, notching a 12-point 14-rebound double-double of his own. He was in many ways a leader last night – either he or Almond seemed to come with the ball at every possible opportunity. Marcus Landry, though he only had five points, made some important contributions as well, including a few fine passes and an important shot late in the game. He also seemed – dare we say it? – more energized this game than in his first appearance as a Red Claw. Indeed, Landry’s contributions were somewhat indicative of the entire bench effort last night, who contributed 35 points and made many intangible contributions to the win.
The Red Claws played some excellent basketball last night, clicking on all cylinders. They took advantage of every Energy mistake and didn’t make many of the mistakes that cost them the game last week. They created some good momentum heading into Sunday’s match-up against Iowa, sure to be another impressive showdown between two top teams.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Morris Almond
NEXT THREE: Sunday, March 14, 5:00PM vs. Iowa Energy….Tuesday, March 16, 7:00PM @ Fort Wayne Mad Ants…Wednesday, March 17, vs. Albuquerque Thunderbirds.