Focus is the key for the Rochester RazorSharks, as they look to defend their Premier Basketball League Championship when they face the Central Illinois Drive in a best-of-three Championship Series beginning Thursday.
The RazorSharks won the Eastern Division with a 17-2 regular season record and swept the Sauk Valley Predators by winning the two games by a score of 107-104 and 116-92, respectively.
“We need to focus on what we do best,” said Keith Friel. “We need to get stops defensively, finish easy looks on offense, and play our game, forcing [the Drive] to adjust.”
Leading the way for the RazorSharks thus far in the playoffs is Jerice Crouch, averaging 21.5 points per game and 4.5 assists per game. Jamaal Davis and Todd McCoy are averaging 15.5 PPG and 14.5 PPG, respectively, and Aaron Williams is averaging a double-double, with 10.5 PPG and 10.5 rebounds per game.
The Drive finished their regular season with an 18-1 record to finish on top of the Central Division. They also swept their semi-final opponent, as they defeated the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Steamers 132-103 and 125-108 in their two game series.
“Our goal is to play the same way we played last [against Sauk Valley in game two of the semi-finals],” said Williams. “Its all about staying focused and staying intense. We have to go out and play hard. This championship does not come down to offense, we need to play good defense.”
The Drive were lead by Anthony Slack’s 21.5 PPG and 7.5 RPG and Jemal Farmer’s 16.5 PPG and 9.5 RPG. Guard Daniel Ruffin averaged 15 PPG and 6.5 APG in the series. Todd Peterson was second on the team in the series averaging 18.5 PPG.
“The championship is in our sights,” said Crouch. “We both have momentum, so its all about who is more focused.”
Both teams will be focused and ready on Thursday, as game one of the series will be played at the Blue Cross Arena at the Rochester Community War Memorial in Rochester, N.Y., with tip-off scheduled for 7:35pm Eastern Standard Time.
Game two will be Saturday at 7:05pm Central Standard Time from the US Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington, Ill. If necessary, game three will also be played at the US Cellular Coliseum on Sunday with a 7:05pm Central Standard Time tip off.