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MARCH almostbasketball NEWS

Streaking Knights Turn 18

KANSAS CITY (March 22, 2002) - Despite having played a draining overtime game the night before and having just eight healthy players in uniform, the Kansas City Knights gutted out a 136-109 win over the Southern California Surf Friday night at Kemper Arena to run their ABA-record winning streak to 18 games.

With Doug Smith and Derek Grimm nursing back injuries, and Rex Walters out with a bad wrist, the Knights turned to Maurice Carter (36 points), Rick Huges (24 points, 9 rebounds) and David Vanterpool (22 points) to beat the Surf for the sixth straight time since their last loss on February 2.

Seeing rare extended action, Kansas City's Ryan Sears scored a career-high 16 points in the win. Southern California's Derrick Dial, who leads the league in scoring, pumped in 33 in the losing effort and added 10 rebounds.

Thursday night's game was not nearly as easy, as the Knights won 118-112 in overtime behind Hughes' 25 points and 16 rebounds.

Hughes, a former Dallas Mavericks forward who joined the Knights earlier in the week, scored 16 of his points in the fourth quarter and overtime as Kansas City battled back after trailing by as many as 14 points in the first half.

More Mystery in Motown

DETROIT (March 20, 2002) - In a season that has had more unanswered questions than Pam Anderson's Social Studies midterm, another ABA game scheduled for Detroit has apparently vanished into oblivion.

The Kentucky Pro Cats were to play the Dogs at Cobo Arena Wednesday night, but there is no indication from any source that the game was played. There is no score listed on the league's website, on Oursports Central, or in either of Detroit's two major newspapers.

The Pro Cats played in Las Vegas Monday and Tuesday nights, and may have had travel difficulties, but there has been no word from the league.

Earlier in the season, the Dogs failed to play four consecutive scheduled home games, with no explanation.

Surf Dials Up Win Over Legends

INDIANAPOLIS (March 19, 2002) - Derrick Dial scored 35 points, including four on a shot from just beyond midcourt, to pace the Southern California Surf to a 133-97 blowout of the Indiana Legends Tuesday night at Arlington High School.

Dial took advantage of a heretofore unannounced ABA rule that shots from the backcourt count for four points, drilling a jumper to end the third, then scoring another three with the league's "3-D" rule in effect to open the fourth as the Surf broke a three-game slide.

Michael Hart led the Legends with 24 points, but Indiana absorbed its worst beating of the season.

Eclipse Buried at Arlington

INDIANAPOLIS (March 8, 2002) - Shea Seals scored 42 points to lead the Indiana Legends to a 135-115 win over the Phoenix Eclipse Thursday night as Indiana won its debut in its new home.

Playing at Arlington High School, the Legends trounced the Eclipse behind Seals and Dwayne Morton, who poured in 26 points.

Reports from various eyewitnesses estimated the attendance in the high school gym at between 70-120 fans. Indiana (8-13) hosts the Las Vegas Slam (1-12) on Friday night.

Legends All Wet

INDIANAPOLIS (March 8, 2002) - The Indiana Legends' contention that a leak in the roof of the Pepsi Coliseum is behind their move to a local high school doesn't appear to hold water.

A Legends press release Wednesday stated that "all remaining Indiana Legends home games this season" would be played at Arlington High School on Indianapolis' northeast side because of a leak in the roof of the Pepsi Coliseum on the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

However, a release on the ABA's website said the move would be only for the next two games, and was caused by moisture coming up from the hockey ice beneath the Legends' basketball floor. The Coliseum is also home to the Indianapolis Ice of the Central Hockey League, who have played three games in the building since the Legends noticed the leak at their last home game on January 31.

Legends' General Manager Ricardo Richardson was quoted in the team release as saying, "While the Pepsi Coliseum is a wonderful venue, well located in the community, it has been virtually impossible to solve the moisture problem on the floor and it has caused many problems in recent games."

A Fairgrounds spokesman told almostbasketball, simply "All I can say is that the Indianapolis Ice, Renfro Productions (Indianapolis Boat, Sport & Travel Show), F & F Berns Boxing (Budweiser Fight Night), and the Murat Shrine Circus have all held their events in the Pepsi Coliseum since January without incident... not to mention the numerous hockey leagues and public skaters that also use the building. That should answer your question."

While the Legends have never officially announced an attendance figure for any of their home games (a local newspaper report estimated the home opener crowd at 350), the team has struggled to draw fans, and the leak may have come at an opportune time, allowing a move to a smaller, cheaper facility.

Smith Back in NBA

LEON SMITHPHOENIX (March 8, 2002) - When Leon Smith's life story is made into a TV Movie of the Week, his career in the American Basketball Association will probably not make it off the cutting room floor.

The troubled former first-round draft pick is back in the NBA after signing a contract for the remainder of the season with the NBA's Atlanta Hawks, less than two weeks after he suited up for the Phoenix Eclipse for one ABA game.

Smith began the season in the CBA and was called up to the Hawks on January 14, where he signed two ten-day contracts and averaged 2.3 points and 2.6 rebounds in six games. After Atlanta released him, Smith took some time off and was placed on the (CBA) Gary Steelheads' inactive list.

During his time away, Smith signed a game-by-game contract with the Eclipse, and scored 15 points and grabbed 5 rebounds in 21 minutes in a 113-101 win over Detroit in Phoenix on February 22.

According to a source close to the situation, Smith's Phoenix-based agent was negotiating with the Hawks for a long-term contract and wanted to keep the 6-10 forward nearby during the process. Smith, who went directly from Chicago's King High School to the NBA in 1999 before a host of personal problems derailed his career, then resurfaced in Gary and was called up on Wednesday.

The Steelheads, who apparently weren't aware Smith had played in Phoenix during the time he was inactive, do not plan legal action against the ABA or the Eclipse. Gary owner Jewell Harris went so far as to tell the Gary Post-Tribune, "From our point of view, the way the situation worked out, the ABA is so insignificant. We didnít suffer any harm."