The Lawton-Fort Sill Cavalry are no strangers to success.
Although it’s well-documented the Cavalry have not lost since Jan. 22 and have ripped apart the Premier Basketball League on a 15-game winning rampage, the Oklahoma-based franchise has been down this road before.
The Cavalry posted a sparkling 65-26 record over the past three seasons and won back-to-back titles in the Continental Basketball Association before migrating to the PBL this season.
“They’ve been doing this for three years now,” said Rainmen head coach Les Berry, whose club meets the Cavalry in Game 1 of the PBL best-of-three semifinals tonight at 7 p.m. at the Metro Centre.
“They have a lot of chemistry and a lot of pieces offensively and defensively. They’re athletic and they’re big and strong.”
Six players — DeAnthony Bowden, Elvin Mims, Shawn Daniels, Tim Ellis, Brandon Dean and Eddie Smith — played for the Cavalry last year and all but Ellis and Mims were around two years ago. It’s the kind of roster continuity rarely seen in minor-pro hoops.
The Cavalry also boasts a head coach with a famous profile in Michael Ray Richardson, a former NBA all-star who was banned for life after eight seasons for violating the league’s drug policy three times.
Richardson is excited to get started.
“I want to win it,” Richardson said. “It’s a great matchup. We have to use our size and our speed, not have turnovers, take care of the basketball and make good defensive stops.
“We know it’s going to be a dogfight.”
The Rainmen are clear underdogs in the series and realize they can’t sit back and wait for the Cavalry to slip up. History shows they won’t.
“They’re not going to beat themselves,” Berry said. “They know how to win basketball games.”