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Jacksonville Giants Undefeated at Season’s Half

Following a mild scare against the lowly Heartland Prowl in Avon Park on January 29th, the Jacksonville Giants returned to the friendly hardwood of Veterans Memorial Arena the following night and trounced the same Prowl by a score of 180-114 before a crowd of several thousand.

In doing so, the ABA‘s most promising franchise improved to 15-0 on the season.

Along with the highly-touted Colorado Kings, East Kentucky Energy and the Las Vegas Aces, the Giants — currently ranked second in the ABA weekly power rankings — are one of at least five undefeated teams in the ever-expanding league.

In addition to the once-beaten Seattle Mountaineers (11-1), the Chicago Steam (10-3) and the high-powered Texas Fuel (12-4), all of those teams hope to dethrone the top-ranked Southeast Texas Mavericks (18-1), the defending ABA champions, later this year.

Under head coach Kevin Waters, the Giants are the highest-scoring team in ABA history and are currently outscoring their opponents by an average of 55.2 points per game. Ten of their fifteen games have been decided by 57 points or more.

That's a trend, however, that’s likely to change when the Giants play the first in a home-and-away series against the surging Seven City Knights, a Portsmouth, Virginia-based team that has won its first fourteen games in relatively convincing fashion.

The Giants host the Knights at Veterans Memorial Arena at 1 p.m. on Sunday, February 6, before traveling to Portsmouth for a rematch on March 2.

Like the Giants, the Seven City Knights are an expansion franchise with an eye on the ABA crown. Coming off a 160-108 shellacking of the hapless Harrisville Wizards last weekend, the Knights have outscored their opponents by an average of 29.5 points per game through the end of January.

The Knights, ranked fourth in the ABA's power rankings, could present the first real challenge for the undefeated Giants and their entertaining, frenzied style.

Barely breaking a sweat against what many have considered rag-tag opposition — the visiting San Francisco Rumble brought only five players to Jacksonville for the season opener and the Georgia Gwizzlies, a struggling Atlanta franchise that has bounced from one league to another since its founding seven years ago, yielded 206 points to the Giants in early January — eleven of their final fourteen regular season games will be played on the road. That includes a three-game road trip to California, beginning February 21.

Sandwiched in between a difficult final month of road games, the Giants will be hosting the ABA All-Star Game at Veterans Memorial Arena on February 26.

“Dick Packer, ABA President and I made a surprise visit to Jacksonville on February 2 to meet with Ron Sholes, Kevin Waters and Joe Miller to discuss the All Star Game,” ABA commissioner and co-founder Joe Newman told the Observer.

“We were extremely impressed with the quality of the operations in Jacksonville and the tremendous work they are doing within the community and specifically with their high school program<“ said Newman. “Using the team to help generate substantial revenue for schools is extraordinary and a model we hope to duplicate around the country. And their preparations for the All Star game itself are outstanding. It will be a tremendous event and the fans of basketball will be impressed not only with the tremendous talent, but with the overall show itself. It will be the best sports and entertainment value ever in Jacksonville.”

Two fan favorites — Ed “Hot Rod” Harris and 7-foot sensation Jermaine Bell, whose beautiful baby hooks and spectacular long-range jumpers have delighted crowds all season long — have been selected to play in the All-Star game.

UPDATE: The February 6 game against the Knights was canceled. Instead, the Giants instead played the Florida Makos and won in yet another blow-out by a score of 204-85.

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  1. Jacksonville Giants Undefeated at Season’s Half | Virginia News Press | Virginia Breaking News Headlines | Virginia News Directory