Familiar foes prepare to tangle once again tonight. For the BayHawks, it's the third straight home game against the Mad Ants. Fort Wayne and Erie currently sit at fifth and sixth (out of seven) in the conference standings, respectively. That fact alone makes this game meaningful. Neither team can afford to fall further behind the playoff pace at this point.
Erie coming in: The BayHawks will be playing their third straight home game against the Mad Ants. They lost Saturday night 89-87, but then they bounced back with a dominating 100-70 win on Sunday afternoon. Tonight they will shoot for their first two-game home winning streak of the season. Alade Aminu is also coming off a big game. Like the BayHawks, his problem has been consistent, and the team will look for him to post big numbers again.
Fort Wayne coming in: Despite injuries to Rob Kurz and Jared Reiner, the Mad Ants won a big home game last night, defeating Maine 103-93, on the strength of a 34-11 third quarter. The Mad Ants hit 10 3s in the game, including 4 from Kyle McAlarney. Ex-BayHawk Oliver Lafayette had a big game as well, scoring 19 points on 8-13 shooting with 11 assists and 5 steals.
BayHawks keys to success:
- 1st-Quarter Energy
The weekend series with Fort Wayne was determined by the first quarter. On Saturday, Fort Wayne dominated the opening quarter, outscoring Erie 23-13. On Sunday, Erie won the first quarter 27-20 and never looked back. Expect the first quarter to be vital again today, especially with the Mad Ants playing the second night of a back-to-back after travelling in from Indiana.
- Frustrate Sonderleiter
Without Reiner, who had a major impact in the Mad Ants' win on Saturday, Sean Sonderleiter will have to carry the load at center. Whoever he's guarding, whether it's John Bryant or Alade Aminu, should be a focal point on offense. If they can draw a few early fouls, they should be able to control the paint.
- Give Jackson the keys to the car
Cliff Clinkscales has done some good things for the BayHawks, but he doesn't have the all-around game that Jackson brings to the table. Jackson's explosive off the dribble and gets to the rack better than anyone else on the roster. He may commit a few more turnovers than Clinkscales, but he also accounts for more points by virtue of his offensive abilities. Use Clinkscales as a change-of-pace reliever, but let Jackson be the main driver the rest of the way.