Last year, the Patroons played in the North American Premier Basketball League, finished in sconed place overall, took out the Ohio Bootleggers in a hot three-game series, then went to Yakima and came up short in the NAPB championship.
That was last year, this is this year.
And after a 98-95 come-from-behind road victory over the Jamestown Jackals last Friday night, the Patroons returned to the Washington Avenue Armory for their home opener in the new TBL Basketball League against the expansion New York Court Kings franchise.
Meanwhile, I started my new position with the team – as the color commentator on the Patroons’ Internet streaming broadcast, calling the color commentary as John Longton (from the 2 Buttons Deep website) calls the play-by-play. I’m already nervous as anything, I’ve never called a basketball broadcast before – okay, I did at least once, back in college I did the color call for a Hamilton College women’s basketball game and I’m totally thankful that no audio of that broadcast exists – and here I am, ready to call a game.
So I treated this game as I would treat attending a church. In church, you stand when everyone stands, you sit when everyone sits, you kneel when everyone kneels, you bow when everyone bows, and if you do everything right, you get a cracker and some wine. So I treated this in the same manner. I let John do the speaking, and I waited until there was an opening. I added whatever thoughts I could, and then let John take over again.
And everything’s ready to go … and I get a call on my cell phone from the Armory manager.
“Chuck … we need a favor from you. Can you sing the national anthem again?”
Okay … here’s the deal. Last year, in the deciding game of Albany’s playoff series with the Ohio Bootleggers, the national anthem singer wasn’t scheduled. The available options were less than desirable. So I did what any red-blooded announcer would do … I went to the floor, I sang the Star Spangled Banner, and that was that.
I thought that was a one-time thing. Silly me. But when the Armory manager asks you to do something, you do it because you know it’s for the good of the team.
So I sang the Star Spangled Banner one more time.
(looking around to make sure there was no video footage)
Now it’s time to watch and call the game. And let me say this – the Court Kings got crowned. Albany opened up a big fat lead and that big fat lead got bigger and fatter throughout the night. Steven Cunningham – 20 points. Lloyd Johnson – 20 points. Hell, Sajae Pryor and Jerel Scott scored in double figures. Sajae Pryor and Jerel Scott scored more points Saturday night than they scored for the Patroons all of last year.
And win the game moving further and further into a victory, head coach Derrick Rowland swapped in his second line. Then he swapped in his third line. And he kept setting up plays, and the Patroons kept dropping everything in the hoop. Slam dunks. 3-pointers. Alley-oops. Layups through triple coverage. They could have climbed into the balcony and tossed it behind their heads – and it would have been nothing but net. 🙂
And as much as the Court Kings tried, the game just slipped away from them. There’s an old argument that in basketball, you can’t trade 3-pointers for 2-pointers. In the Court Kings’ case, they were trading 3-pointers for bricks and airballs. At one point in the fourth quarter, the Court Kings had shot the ball – gotten their own rebound – shot the ball – gotten their own rebound – shot the ball – over and over and not a single ball went through the hoop. Any more bricks like that and you could start construction on a border wall. Thank you, I’ll see myself out.
In the end, Albany walked out with a 60-point victory. That’s their largest margin of victory in over 12 years – the last time Albany had that kind of a point victory was in April 14, 2007, when the Patroons – then in the USBL – took apart the New Jersey Meteors 128-70.
It was also the most points scored by a Patroons team in over 25 years, the current record for Albany was a 160-point effort in February 25, 1992 against the Yakima Sun Kings – a game that went into four overtimes and was won by Yakima, 166-160.
So let’s see. Patroons victory – awesome.
Current Patroons record in the TBL – 2-0, in first place.
Number of Patroons wins in which Chuck Miller sang the National Anthem – 2 for 2.
Works for me. Can’t wait for the Pats’ next home game, this Friday night against the San Diego Waves. Good seats are still available, come down and see the game.
I don’t expect another 60-point win… but I’ll take a 2-point victory any day.
As we all know … a win is still a win. 😀