Hurricanes 56-33 (3-5)
Express 56-26 (5-3)
|Score (click for boxscore)||Game MVP||Hi Points||Hi Rebounds||Hi Assists|
|1. Hurricanes 129, Express 122||Kevin McHale||38 Kevin McHale||15 McHale||10 Jeff Malone|
|2. Express 128, Hurricanes 113||Alex English||33 Alex English||14 Jack Sikma||8 F.Lever/J.Malone|
|3. Express 137, Hurricanes 135||Joe Barry Carroll||36 Joe Barry Carroll||14 T.Catledge/J.Sikma||11 Fat Lever|
|4. Hurricanes 125, Express 121||Kevin McHale||35 Kevin McHale||15 Rodney McCray||8 Fat Lever|
|5. Express 149, Hurricanes 139||Joe Barry Carroll||34 Alex English||11 F.Lever/J.Carroll||13 F.Lever/J.Malone|
|6. Hurricanes 140, Express 122||Allen Leavell||33 Walter Davis||12 Fat Lever||18 Fat Lever|
|7. Express 127, Hurricanes 123||Alex English||31 Walter Davis||13 Jack Sikma||13 Fat Lever|
Game 1 – A see-saw first period saw Rocky Mountain jump out to a 4-0 lead, before Mt. Dora finished the first 12 minutes on a 9-4 run to go up 30-28. Kevin McHale had 10 points and Joe Barry Caroll 8 for their respective teams. Carroll added 12 more in the second and the Express held McHale to 6 to take a 64-62 lead into the locker room. The Express went on a 14-6 spree coming out of the half for a 78-68 advantage. It disappeared in the blink of an eye as MDH turned the tables, going on a 17-2 run and an 85-80 lead. The game was close from there. Rocky Mountain did build a 118-112 advantage with 4:30 on the clock only to see it evaporate once again as the visitors pulled off a 17-4 rally to close out the game and gain home court advantage with the 129-122 victory. McHale led all scorers and rebounders with 38 and 15 respectively. Darrell Griffith chipped in 21. Carroll topped RME with 35, Alex English finished with 25.
Game 2 – Mount Dora started game 2 right where they left off in game one, frustrating the Rocky Mountain faithful. They built a 21-13 lead over the first 8-1/2 minutes and were up 28-21 when the buzzer sounded. Game One’s MVP, Kevin McHale, was doing it again, scoring 8 in the first period. The Hurricanes built a 12-point advantage over the first 5 minutes of the 2nd before the Express got rolling. Alex English scored 8 points in a 21-10 RME run to cut the visitors’ lead to 55-54 and they maintained that differential to trail only 61-60 at halftime. English scored 14 in the 2nd and topped all scorers with 19 for the half. Coach Brandon Orlando got way up in his squad’s faces and let them know the importance of this game. They responded with a 25-12 spree to open the 3rd quarter and never let the Hurricanes get closer than 9 points the rest of the game. The Express tie the series a one each with the 128-113 win. English won game MVP honors with a game-high 33 points. Lafayette Lever barely missed a triple-double with 17 points, 12 rebounds and 8 assists. Walter Davis also contributed 17 points and dished out 6 dimes. McHale led MDH with 23 points and Jeff Malone tallied 18.
Game 3 – Rocky Mountain jumped out to an early 12-7 lead, but Mount Dora responded as they did several times in the first two games with a big run. This time, their 22-6 spree catapulted them to a 29-18 advantage and they took the first frame 35-27. Detlef Schrempf led the Express with 9 and Rodney McCray topped the home team with 11. The Hurricanes built a 13-point lead early in the 2nd period, then a 22-10 Express run made it a 54-53 game. The teams finished with 35 points each in the 2nd and the home crowd enjoyed a 70-62 display on the scoreboard at the half. The teams were basically even again in the 3rd and the Express had a 100-93 deficit heading into the 4th, thanks to Allen Leavell’s trey at the buzzer for MDH. Rocky Mountain scored 14 of the game’s first 16 points in the 4th to build a 107-102 lead. The Hurricanes clawed their way back and went up 127-123 with 3:50 remaining. Alex English and Joe Barry Carroll each hit a pair of freebies to tie it at 127. Leavell and Kevin McHale put MDH back up 131-127. Moments later with MDH up 135-132, everyone in the arena was standing as the clock wound down and English drove to the hoop with 19.5 left and made the bucket for a one-point game. Rocky Mountain had to foul and with 8 seconds left, Kevin McHale missed two free throws and Schrempf got the rebound. He got it to Mark Price who pushed it to Alex English who heaved it from half court and voila, it went in. RME got the 137-135 win. The Rocky Mountain Express reclaim home court advantage with the miraculous come-from-behind win on the Hurricanes’ home court. Carroll was named game MVP with 36 points, but a good argument could be made for English and his late-game heroics. Alex finished with 25 points and 8 assists. McCray and Jeff Malone each had 25 for Mt. Dora. McHale was 7-8 from the free throw line prior to missing the last two at clutch time.
Game 4 – Mount Dora desperately wanted to avoid going back to Rocky Mountain for game 5 trailing 3-1, so they jumped out to a 34-26 lead after the first 12 minutes. Rodney McCray and Kevin McHale combined for 15 points and Joe Barry Carroll countered with a dozen for the Express. The Hurricanes pushed the gap to 13 points early in the 2nd frame before RME started getting closer. The visitors then scored 9 unanswered points to make it a one-point game with 5:00 left in the half. As they had done many times in the first three contests, Mount Dora took off on a 14-3 run to go back up by 12. When the 2nd period buzzer sounded, MDH was up 67-58. Carroll had 15 for the guests, McHale 13 for the home team. With a little over 9 minutes left in the 3rd, the Hurricanes went category 5, going on a 22-9 tear that gave them a 20-point advantage with 4:08 remaining. The Express got 5 points back before the 4th quarter started to trail by 15. The first 7-1/2 minutes of the final period was all Rocky Mountain. Their 25-11 run left them only a point behind at 112-111 with 4:21 to go. The Hurricanes couldn’t shake them and the score was 123-119 Mt. Dora with 18 seconds left. Walter Davis nailed a jumper at the 15.4 mark and this game was looking a lot like game 3. McHale was fouled, but this time sank both freebies for a 4-point cushion with 4 seconds to go. Mt. Dora smothered the inbounds pass and RME couldn’t get a shot off. The Hurricanes evened the series at 2 games each with the 125-121 final. McHale was named MVP, scoring 35 points with 10 rebounds and 5 blocked shots. McCray added 17 points and 15 rebounds. Carroll finished with 32 points and 14 rebounds to top the visitors. Maurice Lucas had his best game of the series with 19 points.
Game 5 – The Rocky Mountain Express took off from the station at maximum speed, building a 23-6 lead over the first 6 minutes of the game. Walter Davis (13) and Joe Barry Carroll (12) combined for 25 points to lead their squad to a 44-28 advantage. Rodney McCray tallied 11 for the ‘Canes. The visitors would cut the lead down to 11 during the 2nd, but when the buzzer went off, RME was up 86-71. Davis had 23 and Carroll 22 as they went into the lockers. The 3rd quarter was similar to the 2nd as MDH cut into the lead a bit, but the Express spread it back out to 122-108 when all was said and done. The entire 2nd half it felt like Mount Dora was getting ready to go on one of their 17-3 runs that they executed so many times in games 1-4, but it never came to fruition. Rocky Mountain never led in game 4 and they returned the favor in game 5, never allowing Mount Dora to go ahead. Alex English scored 25 of his game-high 34 points in the 2nd half to lead his team to the high-scoring, 149-139 win. Carroll was named game MVP with 28 points, 11 rebounds, 5 steals and 3 blocks. Walter Davis finished with 31. Fat Lever had his first triple-double of the playoffs scoring 15 points, handing out 13 dimes and tying with JBC with a game-high 11 boards. He also had 2 steals and a blocked shot. Kevin McHale had 28 points and 7 rebounds to top MDH. McCray ended up with 26 points and 6 boards. The series heads to Mt. Dora with Rocky Mountain hoping to advance to meet the Fresno Stars in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Game 6 – This exciting series moved to Mount Dora’s home court for game 6. Joe Barry Carroll started the game with a dunk and Rocky Mountain kept it close for the majority of the first period. Walter Davis was hitting on all cylinders for the Express, scoring 15 points and keeping the visitors within six at 37-31 after one. RME got an unlikely boost by Phil Hubbard’s 8 second period points; but the guard trio of Jeff Malone, Rodney McCray and Allen Leavell combined for 19 points and the Hurricanes went into halftime up 70-60. McCray and Malone hit fastbreak buckets to open the 2nd half and MDH had a 14-point cushion. The Express went on a 17-9 run to make it a 6-point game, but the home team retaliated with their own 17-9 run to end the quarter and take a commanding 111-95 lead into the 4th quarter. Carroll and Davis combined for 22 in the third, Kevin McHale topped MDH with 9. Rocky Mountain would pull within 14 with just under 5 minutes to go, but Mt. Dora always had an answer. The Hurricanes hold serve and force a game 7 on May 13 back at Rocky Mountain. Leavell finished with a season-high 24 points, dished out 5 assists and earned Game MVP honors. Darrell Griffith tallied 20 points. McHale and Malone each scored 19. Davis led all scorers with 33. Carroll ended up with 25 points, 5 rebounds and 2 blocks. Lafayette Lever had game-highs of 18 assists and 12 rebounds to go with his 6 points. Mt. Dora shot .540 from the field and made 45-54 FTA (RME had 33 fouls and 2 T’s). RME shot better from the 3-point line (.455) than they did with 2-pointers (.430). They only went to the line 24 times, making 19. Game 7 should be a doozy. Stay tuned.
Game 7 – It was the only game 7 of the Conference Semi-Final Round. Rocky Mountain earned home court advantage by winning the Havlicek Division with a 56-26 record. Their opponent in tonight’s game was the Mount Dora Hurricanes, who finished in 2nd place, just 4 games out in the same division with a 52-30 finish. The arena was filled to maximum capacity and they were a rowdy bunch. Kevin McHale quietened them down by scoring 8 points in the first 3-1/2 minutes as the Hurricanes blew out to a 13-5 advantage. They continued the pressure and ended up with a 37-25 lead over the home team at the end of the first. McHale finished with 12 points and Walter Davis topped the Express with 11. RME came out of the huddle on a 9-4 run to make it a 7-point game. The ‘Canes stretched it out to 14 before the home team cut it to six with 17.7 seconds left in the half. Darrell Griffith canned a jumper to put the visitors up 67-59 heading into the locker rooms. Davis and McHale continued to lead their respective teams with 21 and 17 respectively. A 13-3 spree late in the third by Rocky Mountain gave them a 94-93 lead with 27 seconds remaining. MDH got their own rebound and Rodney McCray drove to the hoop, banking it in as time expired. It was 95-94 Mount Dora heading into the final frame. They increased their lead to 8 points (105-97) at the 9:27 mark. The teams exchanged a few buckets before the Express scored 8 unanswered points to go up by two. The Hurricanes scored 5 straight and they were up by three. The pendulum swung back RME’s way, but this time they outscored MDH 12-3 over the next 3:13 to take a 123-117 advantage into the game’s last 82 seconds. McHale and McCray scored quick buckets and it was a 2-point game again. Alex English made it 125-121 and then Jack Sikma scored his 15th point on a jumper with 17.8 to go. Joe Barry Carroll iced the game with a mid-range jumper with 12 ticks remaining. Sikma got a shot off at the horn, but it was a no-go and Rocky Mountain advances to the Eastern Conference Finals with a 127-123 victory. English was named Game MVP with 30 points (20 in the 2nd half) and 7 rebounds. Davis finished with a game-high 31 points and Carroll had 24 points, 12 rebounds and 6 blocked shots. McHale led the Hurricanes with 30 points and pulled down 9 rebounds. Terry Catledge added 20 points and 7 boards before fouling out. McCray tallied 18 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists. The Rocky Mountain Express will travel to Fresno to take on Magic Johnson and the Stars.