Splash like their chances at home
BY JOSH LICHTENFELD Post-Tribune correspondent June 21, 2012 11:26PM
Gary Splash head coach Jay Bradford during a game against Battle Creek at the Genesis Convention Center in Gary, Ind., Sunday, January 9, 2011. Photo by Guy Rhodes for The Post-Tribune. PTSPT
Splash vs. Chicago Redline, 1 p.m.
Albany Legends vs. Lansing Capitals, 3 p.m.
L.A. Lightning vs. Kenosha Ballers, 5 p.m.
K.C. Soldiers vs. Lake County Stars, 7 p.m.
Semifinals, 7 p.m.
All-Star game, 3-point and dunk contests, 2 P.m.
Championship, 4 p.m.
Where: Genesis Center, Gary
Tickets: $10 day pass, $25 weekend pass
Usually faltering on four of the last five regular season contests isn’t a building point. Especially when the next game is one-and-done playoff.
But as Splash coach Jay Bradford explains it, his Gary club has some advantages as it heads into the Independent Basketball Association playoffs and All-Star festivities starting Friday.
This is the organization’s first time hosting the playoffs and Gary also boasts a much fuller roster than it had in many of its previous games. So, while the Splash did lose to some fellow tournament teams, Bradford sees the benefits of entering “under the radar” in the team’s No. 5 seed position.
“I think the advantage we have over most teams, is we’re a defensive team and I think our defense will prevail if we come to play,” he said. “I like our chances if everybody comes and sticks to the game plan — if they stick to the game plan, we get it done.”
Part of this confidence is linked to the Splash’s success at the Genesis Center. Overall Gary holds a 9-6 record, with all of its wins coming at home, where it’s 9-1. The Splash rattled off seven straight wins to begin the spring season, but the Chicago Redline snapped that streak with a down-to-the wire 117-114 decision on April 9 in Gary.
Since Gary won in the first game with Chicago, the rubber match for the two clubs is also the first game at 1 p.m. Friday. Three more games will follow that day. There’s two semifinal games starting at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
“We blew that second game, we were going to get the lead and they came back and we ended up losing at the end,” said Splash forward and starter Chris Wesby. “That second game, when they beat us … I had a bad game, Marcus (Jackson) had a bad game, our whole starting five had a bad game.”
Gary’s other five losses came on road. The Splash two games to the Albany (N.Y.) Legends and three to the L.A. Lightning to sinish out the season May 20.
Should Gary move on to Sunday’s championship — which will start at 4 p.m., following the All-Star game and dunk and 3-point contests at 2 p.m. — and face either coastal-based club, Wesby likes Gary’s chances this time.
“It ain’t that difficult, but we’ve just got to play with more urgency,” he said. “We know that we can beat New York and L.A., but they have more quality players that they didn’t have before (including players from overseas).”