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The Journal Gazette

  • Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Ben Moore of the Mad Ants drives against Jon Horford during the 1st quarter at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.

  • Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Ben Moore of the Mad Ants dodges Grand Rapid’s defense for two points during the 1st quarter at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.

  • Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Je'lon Hornbeak of the Mad Ants drives for a layup against Bronson Koenig during the 2nd quarter at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.

  • Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Jarrod Uthoff of the Mad Ants and Derek Willis of the Grand Rapids fight for tip off.

  • Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Trey McKinney Jones pops a 3 pointer against Landry Nnoko of the Grand Rapid Drive during the 2nd quarter at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.

  • Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Walt Lemon Jr. drives against Zeke Upshaw and Bronson Koenig of Grand Rapids during the 2nd quarter at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.

Saturday, December 30, 2017 10:10 pm

For Mad Ants, it's relief

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

With tonight's 118-117 victory over the Grand Rapids Drive in the books, there’s definitely a sense of relief within the Mad Ants’ locker room.

“Our attitude and everything has kind of been down over the last couple of weeks,” Mad Ants coach Steve Gansey said. “We wanted to come out and battle for 48 minutes. They’re a good team and they’re playing really well. It was great that we just got over that hump tonight and got that win. I don’t care how it was or how it looked. This team needed a win bad and we got it tonight. And it was at home, which was good, too.”

So what was the difference?

“The difference was the energy. Especially on defense, we just brought a lot more energy,” Ben Moore said. “Even when we made mistakes, the energy would bring us back, the talking and things like that. It would help us get back. … Today, it felt more together. We were all on the same page. We were all talking and encouraging each other and it felt more together out there.”

Walt Lemon Jr. had 30 points. DeQuan Jones had 20. And Stephan Hicks had 20.

The Mad Ants (12-10) used all 10 of their players and Skylar Spencer was the only one who didn’t score. Using their depth is important. The Mad Ants had a lot more energy. I think the thing they really need to improve is their interior defense.

Grand Rapids (11-12), which came in having won 4 of 5 games, was paced by Landry Nnoko’s 27 points, while Marcus Thornton had 21 points that included 5-of-7 shooting from 3-point range. K.J. McDaniels had 18 points and Kenneth Smith had a triple-double with 18 points, 17 assists and 10 rebounds.

jcohn@jg.net