While the rest of the basketball world had their eyes fixed on Glenn Robinson III, Derrick Jones Jr. and the Dunk Contest during Saturday’s NBA All-Star Weekend, the people in Northern Indiana exposed themselves to impending basketball doom. The Grand Rapids Danger and their #12 ranking collected a 148-111 win at the Kroc Center in South Bend against the Northern Indiana Monarchs in ABA basketball action.
One week after the Danger’s decisive comeback victory over the Kentucky Enforcers, the team traveled south with a short-handed roster in an effort to keep their winning streak alive.
Playing without a few key members due to schedule conflicts, Grand Rapids got out to an early lead behind point guard Bradley Whitby and forward Kulawnie Saunders. Whitby’s three-pointer put the Danger up 23-20 with 3:02 left in the first and his subsequent 4-point play (a three-pointer in the 3D bonus) after a backcourt turnover by the Monarchs put coach Forrest Saunders’ team up 33-28 after the first quarter.
In the second frame, it was more of the same. The Monarchs had trouble getting the ball across half court throughout the night and the Danger took advantage. Whitby led the squad with 18 points going into the locker room, but not before Terrence Shaw brought the thunder with a rim-rocking dunk just before the half. Grand Rapids held a 63-50 lead at halftime.
Returning from the break, the defensive pressure accelerated as Grand Rapids went on a 25-10 run, highlighted by multiple 3D baskets, to push their lead to 88-60 as Saunders and Jamel Hatchett continued to collect the Monarchs’ turnovers like children chasing butterflies with a net. “Big Smooth” Jeff Borchers returned to the Hoosier State, where he played for Indiana Tech University, and joined the expedition with an offensive rebound and putback late in the third quarter to push the lead to 107-82 at the quarter break.
In the fourth quarter, Jance Payne led the biggest lineup we’ve seen from the Danger this year, taking the court with forwards Shaw, “D-Bo” Derrick Brooks, DeArmond Davis and center “Terminator” Alex Mustert. Saunders returned and put the finishing touch on the game with a monstrous slam late in the game, helping the Danger win the quarter 27-12 and moving their overall record to 12-4.
Saunders led all scorers with 30 points, Whitby added 29 and Shaw put up 23 points.