Fort Wayne Mad Ants Take Loss at Home Against Iowa Energy
The Fort Wayne Mad Ants struggled against the Iowa Energy last night at home, falling by a final score of 103-94. Andre Emmett led all scorers for both teams with 25 points, with help from the Mad Ants second leading scorer CJ Fair, who had 16 points. Gary Talton and Ramon Simmons had less stellar games, shooting just 5 for 20 combined on the night. The Mad Ants also acquired two new players on their roster, Shayne Wittington and Will Sheehey, and each would see their first action on the court. As for the Iowa Energy, they were missing two key players who are potential NBA prospects—Kalin Lucas and Jarnell Stokes— as both were suspended for an altercation with each other during practice.
The lack of chemistry showed in the first quarter. There were many turnovers and broken plays on both sides as each team felt each other out. The silver lining for the Mad Ants was Will Frisby’s strong play and hustle. Frisby had 11 points and 9 rebounds to anchor the team’s front court. CJ Fair and Andre Emmett gave their offense a lift by spreading the Energy’s defense out, alternating between drives to the basket and mid-range jumpers. However, the Iowa Energy began to get it together. Former University of Louisville guard Russ Smith showed no humility attacking the paint, slipping by the Mad Ants 7-footers with acrobatic finishes. He was 6 for 14 shooting from the field and made 4 of his 5 free throws. The Energy’s shooting guard, Diante Garrett, went on the shooting spree as well near the end of the first, making 7 out of his 12 shots.
In the second quarter, the Iowa Energy stayed hot and rode the hot hand of Garrett, while Larry Owens and Ferrakohn Hall contributed points from the three point arc, as well as on the boards. Hall alone had 10 rebounds, Owens had 5 rebounds, and Pierre Henderson-Niles had 9 rebounds total. The Mad Ants offense continued to be in the arms of Emmett and Fair. At times, those two were their entire offense. By halftime, the Energy had outscored the Mad Ants 60-49.
The third quarter of the game had a much looser pace. Whittington, Hyman, and Chris Porter made their presence felt defensively, no longer allowing easy cuts to the basket. CJ Fair used his athleticism to guard the perimeter to prevent open jump shots. Eventually, the defense matched the offense in intensity, but the Mad Ants were still outscored by the Iowa Energy 80-66 in the third.
The roles reversed in the fourth, as the Energy picked up their defense by causing turnovers and running fast breaks with Russ Smith. Then, they fired away from beyond the three point line at will. The Energy shot 52 percent, and a third of their scoring from there (36 points). The Mad Ants shot the same amount of threes as the Energy, but only hit 26 percent. Former Indiana University standout Will Sheehey entered the game and played relatively well in his 12 minutes. He made 4 of 6 shots, scoring 8 points and also attempted a three-pointer. Although the Mad Ants scored 28 points in the fourth against the Energy’s 23, they could not overcome the large deficit accrued from the first three quarters.
These two divisional rivals have the same number of losses (12) but the Mad Ants still lead the division with 17 wins. The Iowa Energy are now in third place in the division instead of the bottom with last night’s win, at a record of 14-12.
By Joshua Hamer