The Halifax Rainmen have gotten a taste of what the Premier Basketball League has to offer this season.
The Rainmen, who revamped their roster after finishing out of a playoff spot in 2009, opened their second season in the PBL yesterday afternoon in Oklahoma and were beaten 102-87 by the expansion Lawton-Fort Sill Cavalry.
The Cavalry gained separation when they went on a 15-0 run at the end of the first quarter and the Rainmen’s shooters went ice-cold, connecting on just 30 per cent of their shots and going an abysmal four-for-25 from beyond the arc.
Even the team’s most proven shooter, ultra-calm Desmond Ferguson, couldn’t find his stroke, going two-for-14 overall and missing seven of eight three-pointers.
“We got a good effort, we just shot really poorly,” said Rainmen head coach Les Berry afterward. “When we had chances to get back into it, we just couldn’t make a shot.”
Tony Bennett had a team-high 17 points and forward Eric Crookshank added 16. Berry said Crookshank, guard Gary Ervin and forward John Strickland had “great games.”
The Cavalry, coached by former NBAer Michael Ray Richardson, aren’t an unknown entity.
They won back-to-back titles in the now-defunct Continental Basketball Association and retained a number of key players from that squad.
“They’re very good,” Berry said. “A lot of teams are going to have a problem winning here. Good crowd, high-energy, very physical, and they’re good players. They’re beatable, but we’ve got to shoot better than 30 per cent to do it.”
Rainmen sign pair
The Halifax Rainmen have signed a pair of players they hope will make an immediate impact in their lineup. Sharp-shooting guard Greg Plummer and high-scoring forward Cory Underwood are both expected to join the team for Thursday’s road game against the Quebec Kebs. The six-foot-four Plummer averaged 14.1 points on 44.3 per cent three-point shooting for Vermont last season. Underwood, who stands six-foot-10, averaged 11.1 points and 4.8 rebounds with Albuquerque of the NBA D-League. Owner Andre Levingston said Plummer will help “stretch the floor,” while Underwood fills a void that was created when Mark McCarroll left the Rainmen last week. Because of the Premier Basketball League’s 12-man roster limit, guards Lonnell Jones and Devon Norris are on Halifax’s practice roster and won’t play unless injuries hit.