Here’s the good news for the Halifax Rainmen: They’re in the Premier Basketball League playoffs. The bad news? They’re up against the PBL’s best team.
The Rainmen learned Friday they had been awarded the bottom seed in a four-team playoff, drawing the No. 1 Lawton-Fort Sill Cavalry in the best-of-three semifinal starting Thursday at the Metro Centre, after the PBL slapped together a patchwork playoff format.
The PBL was scrambling to come up with something after the Puerto Rico Capitanes were reinstated to the PBL on Thursday night, just more than a week after the club has been expelled for violating league rules.
The Cavalry went 18-2 and have beaten the Rainmen, 13-7, in two of three meetings this season, once in Oklahoma and once at the Metro Centre.
“They’re big and they’re strong, but we’re big and we’re strong, too,” said Rainmen centre Larry Turner. “We’re going to use our quickness and intelligence to get a win.”
The Cavalry, new to the PBL this season, won the past two championships in the now-defunct Continental Basketball Association. Several key players from their CBA team are still on the roster.
“They have a lot of veterans and they play a good brand of basketball,” said Rainmen small forward Greg Plummer. “You can’t have any lapses in the game and expect to beat Oklahoma. You have to go in and take the game.”
Thursday will mark the first playoff game in the Rainmen’s three-year history. Games 2 and 3, if necessary, will be held in Oklahoma on April 18 and 20.
The Capitanes, who will finish either second or third and face the two-time defending champion Rochester RazorSharks in the other PBL semifinal, bumped the Vermont Frost Heaves to fifth and out of the playoffs.
The Frost Heaves played at least two games under the assumption they had already been awarded a playoff spot and had already announced a date for their playoff opener.
Tickets were set to go on sale today.
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