(Photo by Ryan Luster)
by Neil Meyer
Fort Wayne, Indiana- Tonight the Fort Wayne Mad Ants (13-7), (1-1) welcomed the Windy City Bulls (12-9) (0-2) to Memorial War Coliseum. The last time out for the Mad Ants was back on December 29th when they fell to the Windy City Bulls 131-121 behind a huge game from Ethan Thompson who finished with a game-high 34 points for Windy City.
The Mad Ants on the other hand saw four players score with 20 or more points led by David Stockton who went 10-13 from the field with a team-high 27 points. The Mad Ants shot nearly 58% from the field in the team’s 131-121 loss but saw Trevelin Queen finish with 26 points on 12-15 Shooting. Jermaine Samuels also contributed 25 points.
The Mad Ants would welcome Pacers player Isaiah Jackson after being assigned to the team yesterday. Pacers head coach Rick Carlise made it sound as they were going to give Jackson the opportunity to pick up more minutes over the next week before potentially assigning him back to the Pacers. Jackson was averaging 6.1 points and 5 rebounds for the Pacers during the 2022-2023 season to date.
The Mad Ants would jump out to an early 5-0 lead over the Bulls after a huge slam from Isaiah Jackson. Jackson was starting to make his presence known inside early to start this one after being sent on assignment yesterday. The Mad Ants would pound the ball inside as they trailed 11-9 with 7:01 remaining in the first quarter behind six points and five rebounds from Isiah Jackson in the opening minutes.
The Mad Ants would get a huge spark from Trevelin Queen who knocked down two consecutive threes to make this a 15-14 game. This would spark all the momentum for the Mad Ants as they took a huge 30-20 lead with just over two minutes remaining in the first quarter. The Mad Ants were distributing the ball very well as the team had 11 assists in the first quarter with eight of those coming from Gabe York
and David Stockton.
The Mad Ants ball movement through the opening quarter was phenomenal and that allowed Two-way player Trevelin Queen to get going early on as he led all scorers with 11 points. Windy City would look to cut the deficit as they started to get hot from behind the arch behind triples from Simonovic and Coupet as they trailed 50-40 with 7:47 remaining in the second quarter.
The Mad Ants would keep the ball moving after a kick out to Trevelin Queen would result in a huge two-hand slam that would give the Mad Ants a 10-point lead. The Mad Ants would try to force the ball inside to Jackson but tended to force some passes that resulted in turnovers. That would allow the Bulls to get out and running and push the tempo which is something they really like to do which allowed the Bulls to be very
effective on the penetrate and pitch after a made three making this one a seven-point game where the Mad Ants led 60-53.
Carlik Jones would come down and hit a huge pull-up jumper to make this a 64-59 game at the break which would give him 12 points in the first half for the Bulls. Meanwhile, the Mad Ants would record 19 assists on 22 made shots in the first half, eight of those by David Stockton. The Mad Ants ball movement was phenomenal there in the first half but they tended to get a little sloppy down the final stretch of the
Deividas Sirvydis led all scorers with 14 points for the Mad Ants, while Isaiah Jackson recorded 12 points and seven rebounds in the first half and continued to be a huge factor inside for the Mad Ants.
The Bulls would come out on a seven-two run and would make this a 66-66 game after a Jones made field goal. The Bulls would continue to keep their momentum going after making a huge run to end the second half as after a flagrant foul by Sirvydis would give the Bulls a huge opportunity to take their first lead since early in the first quarter. However, the Mad Ants would force a timeout trailing 75-73 after a
huge slam after the Bulls defense collapsed and left Jackson all by himself for an easy dunk. Windy City would take an 81-75 lead following an Ethan Thompson made jumper as the Bulls continued to turn it on here to start the second half. The Bulls started to get hot from deep behind made threes from Thompson and Matthews the Bulls would extend their lead to eight down the final stretch of the third quarter.
The Bulls would get another huge spark of momentum after Trevelin Queen picked up a
technical foul that would allow them to finish the first half on an eight-point run and take a 102-86 lead to the fourth quarter.
The Bulls would hold a 109-96 lead with just under six minutes remaining as they kept their foot on the gas after a huge third quarter where they scored 43 points. The Bulls would continue to power it on this time Marko Simonovic would throw down an absolute poster to take a 117-105 lead shortly after Isaiah
Jackson threw one down on teammate Carlik Jones on the other end.
Things would get a little chippy down the wire where the Mad Ants trailed 122-110 as Trevelin Queen would pick up his second technical foul of the game and be ejected ending his night where he would finish with 17 points and seven rebounds.
The Windy City Bulls would hold on to defeat the Mad Ants 128-116 as the Bulls improve to (13-9 overall) while they pick up their first win of the regular season. The Bulls would shoot nearly 51% from the field while the Mad Ants shot 50% from the field in a high-scoring battle. Ethan Thompson would finish with a game-high 34 points on 11-17 shooting after a dominant second half where he scored 28 of those 34.
“Both team’s shot the ball very well.” Said Mad Ants head coach Tom Hankins following the team's 128-116 loss to Windy City. For some reason, Ethan Thompson plays great against us as he was averaging 23 points against us coming into tonight. He is a guy that is really getting better.
The Mad Ants on the other hand fall to (13-8 overall and (1-2 in the regular season) where they were led by Isaiah Jackson who was recently sent on assignment to the Mad Ants earlier this week. Jackson would finish the night with a team-high 24 points and 12 rebounds in his first game with the Mad Ants.
“Isaiah was good, he hasn’t really run up and down a whole lot or played much live-game action. He just had one practice with these guys, not really knowing each other is a huge factor.” Said Mad Ants head
coach Tom Hankins. I thought he was great around the rim, caused a lot of problems defensively. If he continues to play a few more games with us he will continue to get better. I was really pleased with how he played.”
In his first game back since being sent on assignment, Jackson impacted the game on both ends of the court and his play was defiantly noticed by many. Jackson was averaging just 6 points per game and 5
rebounds for the Pacers this season.
“I was super tired; I haven’t played any game situations like that in a minute. It felt good to go out there and play with these guys. I know it’s a process,” said Jackson. Sitting in Indy with the development that myself and the team are trying to get me too, I felt like I wasn't getting better sitting around. I feel like it was a good decision on both ends and I am ready to take on the challenge.”
The Mad Ants also saw a huge night from Deividas Sirvydas who finished with 19 points, while Trevelin Queen and Jermaine Samuels dished out 17 points for the Mad Ants. While the Bulls would see a huge night from Carlik Jones who finished with 26 points, while Marko Simonovic scored 23 here tonight at the Allen County War Coliseum.
The Mad Ants will quickly turn their focus as they travel just under three hours up the road to Grand Rapids, Michigan to take on the Grand Rapids Gold tomorrow night at 7 pm as they look to bounce back after a hard-fought 128-116 loss tonight to the Windy City Bulls.