Defending champion Yellow Jackets come out strong against Bridgeport
Last updated 11/22/2022 at 9:45pm
The Defending American Basketball Association (ABA) Champion Steel City Yellow Jackets were not leaning back on their collective laurels Saturday Night when they opened up their 2022-2023 campaign with a pre-season drubbing of the visiting Bridgeport Bombers.
Owner and Head Coach Ace Pippens' Yellow Jackets came out as if they had something to prove, by out-scoring Chris William's club 40-12 in the first quarter.
The Steel City twins James and Tim Jackson led the Yellow Jackets scoring in the first 12-minutes. James scored five first-quarter jumpers for 10 points while Tim had six points. LeAndre Evans, who got more playing time in this game, added six points in the first quarter. Brandon Johnson, who was sidelined during the Yellow Jackets' playoff run in April, had five points. Newcomer Amaru Caldwell had four points in the opening salvo. Incredibly, nine different Yellow Jackets players scored in the first quarter.
The National Champions were only beginning to get started when the second quarter began at A Giving Heart Community Center. James Jackson poured on 12 points, strengthened by two three pointers. Another newcomer, Dominic McClung, as well as Brandon Johnson, each had two points in the second quarter.
If the game had ended at the conclusion of the first half, the Yellow Jackets would have won. Earlier this month, the champions were ranked as the pre-season number one in the ABA's power rankings. It's the first time the club has been ranked first in their history.
James Jackson had nine points in the third quarter to lead the club. Co-captain Gilmore Cummings scored for the first time in the game and added six points in the quarter. At 44-27 in the third, Bridgeport had their strongest offensive output.
Seemingly on cruise control in the final period, the Yellow jackets simply outscored Bridgeport 32-25. Evans drained two three-pointers to lead the Steel City squad in the final moments.
When the buzzer rang, the Yellow Jackets had a definitive, 170-81 win. James Jackson led the squad with 33 points. Cam Wiley had a very strong second half and ended with 22 points. Tim Jackson and Leandre Evans each posted 17 points. Brandon Johnson and ABA playoff MVP Kenny Holmes each added 15. Incredibly, 10 Yellow Jackets scored in double digits.
Cordell Nicola posted 22 points to lead Bridgeport, James Bourne had 12 and Dravin Richards had 10 points.
The Yellow Jackets continue to work toward the team's home opener against the Beaver County Indians at A Giving Heart Community Center on Saturday, Nov. 5 in Allentown.
[Arianna Rosemond contributed to this recap.]