You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

Mad Ants NBADL

  • Whistle in final second grates on Mad Ants
      except the 15 or so players and coaches with the Maine Red Claws – wanted to hear Sunday.
  • Skyforce crashes Mad Ants’ party
      Learning how to close out games successfully can take some time – especially for the Mad Ants, a team that's composed of almost an entirely new cast of players – and Fort Wayne came out of its season-opening 77-70 loss to the
  • Ants caught short as new season arrives
    The reigning D-League chanpion Mad Ants open their season tonight at Memorial Coliseum against Sioux Falls. And they will do so with the same big question they had at this point last season: Is there enough size?
Advertisement
Mad Ants
vs. Texas
When: 5 p.m. today
TV: CBS network, MyTV
Webcast: www.fortwaynehoops.com
Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette
Mad Ants’ Sadiel Rojas is the latest bench player to contribute to a season-ending run that has the Mad Ants in playoff contention.

Ants bench players fueling playoff push

– Much of the fourth quarter of Friday’s 106-86 Mad Ants victory over Reno sounded as though the Memorial Coliseum P.A. announcer’s voice was stuck on record: “Sadiel Rojas – for threeeeeeeeeee!”

Four times inside of nine minutes, the 6-foot-4, guard dropped three point shots that were part of the Ants’ runaway win. And then, for good measure, he added a two-point jumper with 24 seconds remaining to kick his fourth-quarter point total to 14.

Rojas is the latest player to spring from the bench to make a heavy contribution to a season-ending run that has placed the Mad Ants (25-22) into serious playoff contention.

With nine wins in their last 12 games, the Ants closed out Friday night with the seventh-best record in the D-League. They were a half-game behind No. 6 Austin (25-21), and a half-game ahead of No. 8 Sioux Falls (24-22). Austin played at Tulsa on Saturday night, and Sioux Falls was at Rio Grande Valley.

With a 5 p.m. tip, the Ants finish their regular season home schedule today against Texas (19-27), which has lost seven of its last 10 games. A berth into the best-of-three first round playoffs would assure the Ants of at least one more home game.

But back to Rojas, it had been quite some time since he scored 14 in one game. The last time he had 14 points was Jan. 10 against Tulsa.

It had been even longer – like never in his two years in the D-League – since he went 4-of-5 from three-point range.

“It felt great,” said Rojas, who had hit 3 of 21 three-point shots in his previous 11 games. “I haven’t been hitting shots or been in a rhythm lately, and it felt real good. I’m excited. They (his teammates) were excited.”

These days, everyone with the Ants is excited since they set a franchise record Friday with their 25th win.

“It’s been a goal all season,” said forward Brandon Wallace of the playoffs. “Unfortunately, we started out 3-10, but we’ve got a new group of guys, and since then we’ve been rollin’. We lost Luke (Harangody, with an injury), and that was tough for us, but we still found a way to come together to get this playoff push in the right direction.”

The Ants are still getting together.

“When we break every time out of the huddle, we yell ‘Playoffs!’ or ‘Believe!’ ” Rojas said.

“We’re really trying to get to the playoffs and trying to do some damage in the playoffs. We’re not just trying to get there; we’re trying to win the thing.”

stwarden@jg.net

Advertisement