It's been a rocky season for the Erie BayHawks. Inconsistent play has led to a disappointing season that will see the team finish with a losing record and miss the playoffs after qualifying for the postseason as an expansion team last year. The season wraps up tomorrow night in Maine in a game that can be seen on Versus (tune in after the Final Four finishes!).
Tonight marks the final home game for the BayHawks. The friendly confines of Tullio Arena have been a bit too friendly for visiting squads this season. Erie is 9-15 at home. The good news is that their home finale opponent is the league's worst team, the Springfield Armor, who are just 7-42 this year. It's Fan Appreciation Night, and I have courtside seats, so here's hoping the BayHawks close out the home slate on a high note!
Game 49 Preview: Springfield Armor (7-42) vs. Erie BayHawks (19-29)
Springfield coming in: The Armor haven't won a game since March 16 when they defeated Albuquerque 108-104. They're currently on an eight-game losing streak. Worse yet, the Armor are 0-24 on the road this season. With tonight being their last game of the season, Springfield is going to be determined to break through and avoid the embarrassment of the 0-fer. It doesn't hurt that the Armor did defeat the BayHawks once earlier this season either, although both rosters are considerably different than they were back then.
Erie coming in: After winning five of their first six games in March, Erie closed the month by losing four of five and being eliminated from playoff contention. Point guard Cedric Jackson was called up by the Washington Wizards and thus will not be with the BayHawks for the final two games. Jackson's departure will shift Blake Ahearn back into the role as the primary ballhandler. The good news for Erie is that Mike Gansey is slated to return to the lineup tonight after missing the past three games recovering from the flu.
BayHawks keys to success: Honestly, there's not a whole lot new to say at this point in the season. Both teams are playing for pride, so I'm not going to get into the X's and O's for this one. But there are three storylines worth following tonight.
- The Rockers Reunion
Ridiculous Upside's Scott Schroeder dubbed Ahearn and Gansey as the Rockers. I'm not sure if the Armor is more Iron Mike Sharpe or The Intruder, but you get the idea. When Cedric Jackson was with the Spurs, Ahearn and Gansey were really clicking in the BayHawks backcourt. Jackson returned, Gansey got sick, and production dropped off, but the tandem gets one last chance to shine in Erie tonight, and there will be no Barber Shop Incident that breaks up this team
- Fan Appreciation Night
A large crowd is expected tonight in Erie as it is the final game of the season and Fan Appreciation Night. I don't know how much of a difference a packed crowd can make on a game, but I think it's safe to say the BayHawks would like to give their fans a good showing to close out the home schedule.
- Springfield's Last Hope
As I mentioned earlier, the Armor has not won a road game all season long. However, one of the Armor's closest calls came during their only other trip to Erie. Springfield led by 8 points with just over four minutes remaining before the BayHawks mounted a late surge, eventually winning 95-94 thanks to two clutch three throws from Gansey. If Springfield loses again tonight, that 0-25 mark is going to stick with them for a long time. On the flip side, Erie doesn't want to be the team that ended that streak, especially in the home finale.