By Tyler Feldman
When the horn sounded and the ball was thrown at the beginning of Tuesday night’s game, the court would only have seven players on it. The Air Ballers, who are still without a win this season, found themselves in a rut to begin the action as a number of players would arrive after tipoff. The Air Ballers would ultimately score just two points in the first quarter, suffering their seventh straight loss to the Titans, 52-63.
“Well we started off with three people, so it was a slow start to begin with,” the Air Ballers’ Pablo Rosa said.
It has gone from bad to worse for the Air Ballers as a season that has tested the team’s mental fortitude remains bleak with just two weeks left. Catching a Titans team off their first win seemed to be bad timing as the newly motivated Titans carried over their momentum from last week’s win.
Steven Echols was on fire, providing a spark both offensively and defensively. He led the Titans in scoring with 19 points on an impressive 8-for-9 from the field, including two 3-pointers. On the defensive end he wreaked havoc, stripping offensive players to finish the night with six steals.
The Titans are known for their desire to push the tempo, but they have lately been given a boost with effective 3-point shooting. Jack Champagne continued to stretch the floor for his team, knocking in three 3-pointers.
When the bench finally filled out for the Air Ballers, they began to get their footing, especially in the fourth quarter where they would score 28 of their 52 points. Jaylon Smalls continued to carry the scoring load for his squad putting up another 20+ point night. Jonathan Cordero provided an unforeseen spark from behind the arc shooting 50 percent from downtown. Cordero and Pablo Rosa would join Smalls in double figures with 14 and 12 respectively.
The Titans have been enjoying their success in the late weeks of the season while gaining some confidence. This team feels rejuvenated and is getting hot at the perfect time. Despite a shaky start they are starting to show flashes of taking the next step. The Titans have a reasonable shot at winning again next week if they can take advantage of a reeling Kekambas team that has lost three straight.
“We had a slow start to the season, but you know, two quick wins and hopefully we get a couple more wins before we end the season,” the Titans’ Rob Blackwell said.