Fort Wayne Mad Ants’ Poor Shooting Contributes to Loss
In the rematch between the Fort Wayne Mad Ants and Iowa Energy on March 20, the Energy decisively defeated the visiting Mad Ants on their home-court. The final score was 101-77. Willie Reed and Jarnell Stokes shined once again, but this time in a win, putting in 24 points and 20 points respectively. The two also led the Energy in rebounds with Stokes grabbing 15 rebounds and Reed having 14 boards.
For the Mad Ants, Jordan Crawford was the leading scorer with 16 points, and the second leading scorer was Ramon Harris off the bench with 13 points. The Mad Ants collectively shot 33 percent from the field as a team, and 18 percent from beyond the three point arc. This was a very important game for both teams because it would bring them one step closer to achieving a playoff berth.
The first half of this game was a much slower pace than the previous match-up. The Mad Ants played a more methodical game and the Energy did the same with their half court sets. There weren’t as many fast breaks, but the Mad Ants capitalized on more of them than the Energy, ironically, which seemed at first to be somewhat of a role reversal.
However, the Mad Ants struggled to get the ball into the basket, both inside the paint and when shooting from the outside. At times, the Energy did as well, which is why the score remained so close. In the second quarter, Fort Wayne began to drive inside more aggressively, and it worked initially. Trey McKinney-Jones’ quick first step allowed him to get past the Energy’s stiff defense for easier layups. McKinney-Jones finished the game with 9 points and 3 steals.
By the beginning of the second half, the Iowa Energy led by 11 points. Reed and Stokes locked down the paint and were not allowing any easy baskets. The best the Mad Ants could hope for was drawing fouls, but the calls did not always come. When they did, the foul shots would not sink. The Energy had their way on offense, especially when their mid range shots started to fall. Stokes and Reed have been improving on their versatility outside of the post, and it was on display in a dangerous way. The Mad Ants had a tough time guarding them in general, but two dynamic stretch fours is asking a lot for seven-footer Travis Hyman.
The Mad Ants were outscored in every quarter of the game. They only scored 18 points in the third quarter and 19 points in the fourth. The Energy did the bulk of their scoring in the second and third quarter, scoring 30 points in the second quarter alone.
The Fort Wayne Mad Ants are now 24-21, and fall to third place in the Central division, while the Iowa Energy rise to second place at 23-20. The Mad Ants only have two more divisional games, against the division-leading Sioux Falls Skyforce, and five more games overall. They need to win out to control their own destiny for a shot at the playoffs.
By Joshua Hamer