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Holmes leads Yellow Jackets to impressive 183-112 win


Last updated 11/22/2022 at 9:44pm

The Steel City Yellow Jackets improved to 2-0 Saturday Night at home in Allentown but the win was bittersweet. The visiting Naptown Pros from the state of Indiana played despite losing their owner on October 16. Chris Coley was a few weeks short of his 61st birthday when he passed suddenly.

Both teams came together following the 183-112 contest for a prayer to honor Mr. Coley. Steel City Yellow Jackets owner Ace Pippen's mother, Cordelia Hill, led the joint prayer.

Coach Pippens, who has been battling a cold and laryngitis, was on hand but allowed injured forward Claude Scott, Jr. to take the reins of some of the Saturday Night contest. Reviews indicate Scott did an excellent job of play-calling, managing the time clock, and controlling emotions and momentum. His use of substitutions was also smooth.

Naptown had come into the game 1-0 after a season-opening road win against the Akron Aviators, 143-132.

The Yellow Jackets started the game with Tim and James Jackson, Amaru Caldwell, Dominick McClung and new roster addition Artis Cleveland

Guard Kenny Holmes came off the bench to lead an offensive machine. He collected 41 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds in the high-scoring affair. Holmes had 13 points in the first quarter. Timmy Jackson had eight points and new roster addition, center Cleveland contributed six points in the first 12 minutes.

The Yellow Jackets opened up in fine fashion, leading 40-27 after the first quarter.

In addition to Scott, Co-captains Tone Reddic (who is nursing a back injury) and Gilmore Cummings (calf) did not play in the game. Forward Brandon Burnett, who frequently spelled McClung in the season opener was not on hand for the second game.

The Yellow Jackets started to turn on the offensive jets in the second quarter and added 48 points to the Pros' 28. The score at half time was 88-55. Holmes improved in the first 12 minutes and scored 18 in the quarter. James Jackson was closed behind with 16 points and Cleveland added seven.

In the third quarter, the Yellow Jackets posted 43 points and Naptown added 33. Cam Wiley, who didn't score in the first half, added 11 points off the bench in the third quarter. Wiley was explosive in limited action last season, and will be counted upon throughout this campaign.

Brandon Johnson, who had seven points in the first half, added 10 in the third. Johnson had a hip injury late in last week's contest, but came back and performed well here.

The Yellow Jackets turned the offense on, scoring 52 to 34 in the final 12 minutes. Holmes had seven points, but the fourth was Brandon Johnson's domain. On the strength of a 3D four-pointer, Johnson had 12 points in the final period. James Jackson added 10.

After Holmes' 41-point display, James Jackson had 33 and Brandon Johnson added 29 and Cleveland posted 19. Every Yellow Jackets player who played added at least four points to the outcome. Wiley finished with 16 and Tim Jackson with 14 and Amaru Caldwell's 12.

Coray Wright had 28 for Naptown. Terence Billips had 17, Dominique Williams 16 and David Cowherd, 15.

The Yellow Jackets will be back at it next Saturday to finish up the early-season homestand. The top ranked American Basketball Association team faces off against the Ohio Bruins on the 19th. This will be an early-season high-water marker for Pippen's team. The Yellow Jackets lost a contest to the Bruins in Ohio last season. But the Bruins lost in their season opener 115-101 against Cleveland's Burning River Buckets on November 5.


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