|Sunday, April 7
Porter's streak helps Wizards past Rockford for title
ROCKFORD, Ill. -- The Dakota Wizards were among the teams dubbed the "lower tier" in the first season of the revamped Continental Basketball Association. But the lower tier came out on top.
"We weren't even supposed to be here," said Miles Simon, who scored 24 points and had nine assists to take most valuable player honors as the Wizards beat the Rockford Lightning 116-109 Saturday for the CBA championship.
Chris Porter broke open a tight game with an eight-point run in a two-minute span down the stretch. He wound up with 21 points despite early foul trouble.
"The foul trouble was frustrating, but I just tried to make something happen while I was out there," Porter said.
It was the second consecutive title for the Wizards, who won the International Basketball Association crown last year.
"They were making a great run, and Chris got a putback dunk that was NBA-level, which is why he was at that level before," Dakota coach Dave Joerger said.
"Shoulda, coulda, woulda, right there, maybe, had it, just a little bit more, one more stop -- all those things describe what we did tonight," said Rockford's Dickey Simpkins, who had 32 points and 16 rebounds. "We had it in the grasp of our hands, we just didn't come up with the finished product for whatever reason."
The teams played to a 33-33 tie after one quarter and were tied 59-59 at halftime. The Wizards led 84-81 after three periods, but the shooting statistics from the floor were exactly even at 29-for-62 for two teams that prided themselves on defense throughout the season.
"Both teams played at such a high level scoring-wise," Joerger said. "Making tough shots -- floaters, runners. I don't think there was a lack of defense, I think the game was fast-paced."
Joerger, who now has two championships in two years as a head coach, said he was "completely drained."
"This was a group of guys that was just an absolute joy to coach," he said.