Two cities. One thought. Beer City, then and now.
Nestled on the banks of Lake Michigan sits a midwest American town that has been known for it’s dirty water for more than a century. Across the Great State Lake and 30 miles upstream, lies the newest rendition of Tapsville.
Saturday, basketball took center stage in the battle for Beer City bragging rights as the Grand Rapids Fusion took to the road to face off against the Milwaukee Falcons in IBA action. Coming off their physical matchup the week before in Kenosha, the Fusion again felt the pain in the Cheese State.
Playing without star big man “Mr. Double-Double” Delonzo Wilkins due to suspension from ejection last weekend, the Fusion played short-handed against one of the biggest teams in the league. Jaquelle Buerkins and Chuck McLaurin also missed the game, leaving Grand Rapids without nearly 60 points of offense and 30 rebounds on average.
The Falcons big men dominated the boards without the three Fusion players in uniform, grabbing 53 to GR’s 29. It didn’t help that the road team committed 18 turnovers and missed 16 free throws on the night.
Down 18 at halftime, the Fusion quickly fought back and got back within nine points early in the third quarter. But the Falcons would stretch the home advantage to start the fourth quarter and took advantage of the Fusion’s woes from the charity stripe.
Courtney Blackmore continued his heavy workload returning to form after knee surgery with 35 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists and six steals. Kevin “Top Flight” Grant ended up with 31 points, 12 rebounds, eight assists and a block. Coach Marco Wilkinson is excited about this team’s balance of youthfulness and veteran leadership and sees the team coming together.
The Fusion should have the full arsenal of weaponry ready and in action this Saturday when they return home to host the Windy City Blazers at Kuyper College (3pm).