2015 FBA Season/15.05.12/[email protected]/Capsule

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Bikers snatch game four

In a must have game for the 4th seeded Texas Lone Stars, the 'stars' of this game were almost certainly Stevie Maxwell as his refereeing crew. Tempers were hot in a game that both teams desperately wanted. The tone was set from the start as Dakota continued its physical play on defense and got the offense rolling early, never trailing in this game, taking game 4 at home 102-88 and keeping home court advantage. The Bikers shot 19 free throws to Texas' 9 in part due to plenty of extracurricular activities.

Dylan Redfield (Red Deer, F) had another monster game and led all scorers with 21 points, adding 6 boards, 5 assists and 3 steals. Travis Buckner led the way for Texas with 18.

This was a game of runs with Dakota opening up the first period on a 12-2 run, hounding Texas and forcing a lot of jump shots. With Mitchell Redding (Rabbit, G) struggling all series, head coach Bud Boorman switched Ryan Malone (Kangaroo, G) on to the red hot Marcus Knight (River Otter, G), sliding Catherine DeMille (Palm Cockatoo, G) onto Redding. The move paid dividends instantly as Redding, who was booed whenever he touched the ball, continued to struggle with his shot and was stripped twice be DeMille on drives, while Ryan Malone held Knight scoreless in the first quarter.

"Coach said before the game to be ready to check Marcus. He's hurt us this series and I wanted to make sure he didn't this time." Malone said in his post game news conference. "That first quarter set the tone."

But it must have seemed like a bad flashback for Dakota fans as Texas closed out the last two minutes of the period on an 8-0 run of its own, bringing the game within four at the end of the quarter behind the bench play of Maurice York (Rat, G/F) and Chester Blackwater (American Alligator, G/F). But to start the second quarter, the Bikers again pushed their lead to double digits, getting out in transition as the Dakota bench countered the Lone Stars with a 10-0 run led by veteran Sebastian Spelt (Mongoose, G) and rookie Keitaro Kurosaki (Black Tip Reef Shark, F). The Biker bench outscored the Lone Star's 31-22 and helped stop a lot of the Texas runs.

"I thought everyone played great and helped each other," assistant coach Jack Wayans (Black Labrador, F) said. "Taro stepped up there in the second quarter, Aesop came up big when we lost Sammy, Cathrine's defense was amazing. Her shot wasn't falling, but she found other ways to contribute. That's what it's all about. Total team win."

Trailing in the game and the series, the tempers started to flair at the start of the second as Maurice York hit Sammy Sickstra (Cougar, G/F) with an elbow on a screen and the normally level headed guard would have none of that. Sicktra pushed Maurice York back and the rat tackled the cougar under the basket as the teams began pushing and shoving one another. No punches were thrown, but both men were ejected with double technical fouls as Texas seemed to be ignited once again by the scrum, closing the gap to eight at the end of the half.

Texas opened the second half scoring the first six points to get within two, but the Bikers again answered their run by scoring 12 unanswered points to get the lead back to double digits half way through the period. Their physical defense began to wear on Texas as the Lone Stars begancomplaining to the refs about the Bikers physicality. Travis Bucker played the entire third period and valiantly tried to keep Texas in the game. With Redfield getting his usual rest, his rival scored 13 of his 19 points, but at the end of the third, they still trailed by 10 going into the final period thanks to the solid play of Elisa Lawless (Ocelot, G) who scored 7.

Marcus Knight came out firing in the fourth quarter with Malone resting, scoring all 13 of his points in the fourth quarter, including two huge threes on the opening possessions. With Sickstra ejected, Dakota showed off it's depth, inserting little used wing man Aesop Tecumseh (Northern Pike, G) to play Knight and instantly, Tecumseh answered the call hitting both of his three point attempts to keep Texas at bay. Moments later Lawless and Redding got in to it when the reserve guard hit the otter in the mouth on a drive with no foul called. Redding immediately threw his hands up and yelled at the refs, drawing T and a roar of approval from the crowd. Head coach Walter Billcheck also got into the action, getting a technical foul for defending his team after a few no calls.

"That can't happen." said Billcheck the game. "I felt Dakota was getting calls we weren't, so I said something. We'll watch the film and make an adjustment. But their bench was huge in that third quarter. Aesop gave them a shot in the arm, Lawless was feisty, you gotta give them all the credit."

Ahti Nereus (White Sturgeon, C) and Wesley Lachs (Sockeye Salmon, F) scored 4 apiece in the quarter with the Lone Stars trying one final run, but the canine duo of Fenruss Brylee (Black Wolf, F/C) and Cassidy Whitelatch (Border Collie, C/F) put end end to that, blocking a combined four shots, all on the aquatic Texas Tag Team. With the game in hand, Whitelatch added the exlimation mark, dunking on Lachs and bringing a roar from the ruckus crowd.

As the Lone Stars began to fall apart, Lachs took a shot at Whitelatch on the other end, frustrated with both canines physical, and in his eyes illegal, play. That drew a technical as well as the collie just fired pumped up the crowd. It was a tough end to a rough game for Texas who could never quite come all the way back following the early Biker run.

"I was just playing my game." Whitelatch said. " I've been workin' hard with Blackjack and Griff. Coach trusted me to start this series and Fenruss and I have really found a rhythm together. It's our job to battle Ahti and Wesley. They're a great tandem, but Monster and I are gonna compete every play. We know Ryan and Dylan are gonna score so we just have to help out where we can. Control the glass, block shots and be physical."

Whitelatch finished with 15 points, 7 rebounds and even added 4 assists. Brylee added 11 points, 6 boards and 4 dimes of his own, while also sending back three shots.

After the game, some of the Texas players took to Twitter to express their frustrations with the game as Buckner called out his team.

Guys, I can't do this by myself! I need you all to pull yourselves together or we are losing out on our one last chance at home! You all hearing what the analysts are saying, that us being here, leading the division, is a fluke? You want to prove them wrong? THEN ACT!

— Travis A. Buckner (@WallaBallah) May 13, 2015