IBL Crockett powers 'Cats past Lightning
Mahoning Valley led 36-17 after one quarter in the easy win.
STRUTHERS -- Mahoning Valley guard A.C. Crockett said the Wildcats are starting to feel comfortable with each other on the basketball court.
That was evident from the start of Mahoning Valley's entertaining 118-91 victory over the Akron Lightning Friday night at the Struthers Fieldhouse.
Just two weeks ago, the Wildcats had to rally from a 14-point halftime deficit to defeat the Lightning 114-110 in their International Basketball League opener.
Friday, Crockett led Mahoning Valley with 24 points and six assists and committed just one turnover.
The former Youngstown State University standout has taken over as the team's starting point guard and he helped the Wildcats get off to a fast start against Akron.
Mahoning Valley had runs of 8-2 and 14-5 and closed the first quarter with a 7-2 spurt to jump on the Lightning 36-17 after the first 12 minutes.
"I liked our intensity tonight," said Mahoning Valley coach Rob Spon. "We did a great job of that tonight, especially on defense.
"They have great shooters," Spon said. "We did a great job with transition defense. Last game, they made 16 3s but tonight we did a good job of getting out on their shooters."
The Wildcats held Akron's leading scorers Kevin Kovach to zero points in the first half and nine overall, and Jason Edwin to 8 first half points and 12 on the night.
In the first game, that duo combined to score 60 points against the Wildcats.
Crockett and former LaBrae standout Chad Allen sparked Mahoning Valley in the first quarter.
Allen was a force in the paint on both ends of the court and set the tempo for the game early.
"All our guys are getting familiar with their roles," Crockett said. "That makes it easier to get things going early in the game. That and having a week off allowed us to come out with a lot of energy."
McFadden nets 16
Struthers native Rick McFadden heated up in the second quarter along with former Rayen star Lawrence Culver and Joe Lewandowski as Mahoning Valley continued to pour it on against the Lightning.
McFadden finished with 16 points while Culver added 12. At halftime, the Wildcats held a 56-33 lead.
"This team has great chemistry," Spon said. "Everyone loves playing together and its starting to show.
"Guys are getting the job done when they get in the game and they all play well together no matter what combinations we go with."
The Wildcats shot the ball extremely well as they made 51 percent of their field goals, including nine from 3-point range.
Akron struggled shooting the ball all night and connected on just 33-of-101 shots from the field.
The Wildcats' Kevin Netter came off the bench to score 19 points and played a strong game especially in the second half when Spon began resting the starters because of today's 6 p.m. game against a strong Dayton team.
The Jets feature former Ohio State and Cincinnati University guard Damon Flint and CBA veteran Keith Blankenship (6-foot-11).
"Dayton's probably the best team in the league," Spon said. "It should be an interesting game for the fans and a great challenge for us."