Not only did the Lava win their first two games this season, but they did so in a commanding fashion. After an 18-point win over the Rumble (61-43), the Lava melted the Ozone by a whopping 40 points (61-21). Most of the damage was on offense done by Jihad Shockley (Columbus, Ohio) and Josh Shannon (Louisville, Ky.), who scored 49 and 29 points, respectively, in the two victories. Faysal Shafaat (Orlando, Fla.) shut the door on both the Rumble and Ozone, racking up 20 stops and 19 loose ball recoveries while also contributing 13 points. With the two wins, the Lava (2-5) rose from last in the standings to fifth place.
Game 1 – Ozone 68, Wrath 36
In Sunday’s lid lifter, the Ozone put together their most complete performance of the season, crushing the Wrath, 68-36, for their second victory in seven tries. It was a disappointing effort from the Wrath, who fell to 5-4 and one game behind the 7-4 Buzzsaw for the final available playoff bye. In the matchup of marvelous McGees – the Ozone’s Keith got the upper hand over the Wrath’s Ty. Keith McGee (Rochester, N.Y.) collected 34 points, his second outing with 30 or more this season, while Ty McGee (Littleton, Colo.) was limited to 17 points, well below his league-leading season average of 27.3 PPG coming into the game. Ozone stoppers Keenan Love (Kankakee, Ill.) and Vincent Boumann (Newberg, Ore.) combined for nine stops and were key factors in the Wrath’s 13-of-39 (33.3%) shooting from the field.
Game 2 – Lava 61, Rumble 43
The Lava got off the schneid in a big way. After so many close losses this season, they finally put a notch in the win column on Sunday, easily dispatching the Rumble, 61-43. Jihad Shockley scored all the Lava’s first 15 points before the Rumble lit their first bulb on the scoreboard. Shockley finished with a season-high 26 points while Josh Shannon added 17. Faysal Shafaat made things difficult for the Rumble all game, rejecting nine shots while retrieving 11 loose balls. The Lava saw the return of Bryce Moragne (Tampa, Fla.) from an ankle injury. He entered the game in the third quarter and scored three points in four minutes of action. The Rumble’s disastrous season continued as they fell to 1-6 and last place in the standings. This year, they have been outscored by an average of 16 points per game, the worst mark in the league.
Main Event – Lava 61, Ozone 21
The Lava kept the momentum from their first victory of the season going in the Main Event, dismantling the Ozone, 61-21. Incredibly, the Lava led 35-2 at halftime. The 40-point victory margin was the second-largest in any contest this season (the Mob beat the Wrath by 41 points on July 30) and the 21 points allowed were the fewest in a game this year. Jihad Shockey led the Lava scoring parade with 23 points. Paxton Henry (13), Josh Shannon (12) and Faysal Shafaat (10) joined Shockey in double figures. Shafaat was also responsible for 11 stops and eight LBRs.
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