Consistent Excellence Defines Mad Ants Pursuit of Championship
As the second round of the playoffs beckon, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants are having a sensational season so far. Their goal is to duplicate as closely as possible the run of last year’s NBA D-League Champs.
One year ago, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers closed the regular season with 10 straight wins, then 6 more wins in the postseason to complete a most impressive sweep. Fort Wayne’s streak is at 6 regular season wins plus 2 in the post season. With two more hills to climb, that lofty status is within reach.
In obtaining the top seed, the Mad Ants used a wave of offensive proficiency to ride the crest all the way to the top. It wasn’t always a mountaintop experience.
Thrust into the shadows during the season opener, Fort Wayne was knocked with a bogus technical foul at Texas which initially cost the Mad Ants a chance to force overtime. The league eventually overturned the call and Fort Wayne turned the tables in the completed game at the NBADL Showcase.
During the 1-5 start, the talent was evident. Fort Wayne fell to Sioux Falls in overtime at the Sanford Pentagon and many observers recognized the Mad Ants were going to put things together eventually.
Five straight wins in December started the belief process. For the rest of the season Fort Wayne lost consecutive games only twice. However, the race to the top began with the Mad Ants streaking through February at 7-3, then March and April proved even more fruitful at 12-2 clinching the top seed on the final day of the regular season in a 129-128 thriller over the Los Angeles D-Fenders.
In Round 1, Fort Wayne secured a demoralizing road win in Reno by climbing out of a 13 point hole in the last 5:45 of Game 1. Closing the series was a mere formality on their home court thumping the Bighorns by 22 in Game 2. Witness the impressive Fort Wayne closeout below.
The ongoing odyssey for a title resumes Thursday night in Sioux Falls at the Sanford Pentagon. Game 2 is on Saturday and if necessary Game 3 will be on Monday with both contests in Fort Wayne.