Freedom High-Based Pro Hoops Team Denied Championship Repeat By Andrew Phillips After finishing with the best regular season record in the four-team Florida Basketball Association (FBA) for the second consecutive year, the Tampa Bay Rebels were hopeful that they could win a second straight FBA Championship. After jumping out to an early 12-point lead over the team the Rebels defeated in last year’s FBA title game — the Lake Wales area’s Heartland Prowl (which again had the league’s second-best record during the 2013 regular season) — the Rebels then battled back from a 17-point deficit to tie the game midway through the fourth, but still ended up falling just short of a championship game repeat when guard Stan Bufford’s gametying attempt bounced off the front of the rim as time expired. The exciting, 111-109 loss was only the third since the season began in April for the Rebels, who played their home games, including the title clash, at Freedom High in Tampa Palms. Following the game, long-time New Tampa resident and Rebels’ head coach / GM Fernando Rojas, said, “We started the game taking too many outside shots against their zone defense. We had our best performance in the fourth quarter with Cory Lemons, Stan Bufford, Aubrey West and Jeremy Grimball doing an excellent job on the defensive end and making big shots. In the last 40 seconds of the game, we had chances
to tie and even win the game, but the shots didn’t go in. The Prowl is a great champion, and we look forward to next year,” he added. Playing in front of one of the largest home crowds of the season at Freedom, the Rebels called a Stan Bufford timeout with 3.1 seconds remainiing in regulation, down by two. Tampa Bay ran a sideline inbounds play that saw Bufford catch the ball on the left wing and make a strong move to the basket, but his bank shot bounced off the front of the rim as time expired. Rebels point guard Cory Lemons finished with a triple-double, scoring 27 points, dishing out 15 assists, and grabbing 11 rebounds, while Chris Stephenson finished with 24 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists. Bufford added 21 points and 10 rebounds, while center Jeremy Grimball came off the bench to add 13 points. Heartland (which finished 11-3) forward Arnold Louis was named Finals MVP for his 27-point performance in the finale. To learn more about the Tampa Bay Rebels, visit TampaBayRebels.com. The team also utilizes Twitter and Facebook to connect with fans about upcoming games, events and promotions.
For Advertising Information Call 813-910-2575 • Volume 21, Issue 17 • August 17, 2013 • www.NTNeighborhoodNews.com