FORT WANYE, Ind. (WANE) -All four teams in the 2015 Central Basketball Association semifinals came from quality organizations, with talented player pools, and experienced coaches. But from those four clubs, Chattanooga and Middle Tennessee stood out, as the two-time regular season champion and the reigning defending champions, respectively. Based on that, coupled with their history in their respective matches, it seemed inevitable that it would be Chattanooga v. Middle Tennessee for the title game on Sunday afternoon.
But as typically the case in sports, the games are not played on paper, but, in the case of basketball, on the court.
In the first semifinals game between Chattanooga and Fort Wayne, it was the hosts who stunned the visitors by implementing a defensive plan that Chattanooga’s backcourt could not solve. Fort Wayne, with their top-ranked defense this regular season, showed their strength was not a fluke, as they limited Chattanooga to a season-low 17 points in the first quarter, and a season-low 31 points in the first half. The trend continued in the second half, as the 4-seeded Fort Wayne Flite held off a late rally, and upset the top-seeded Chattanooga Rail Runners, 85-80, in front of their home crowd at the McMillen Center in Fort Wayne. For the Rail Runners, this was their second semi-finals defeat in as many years, and have now won regular season championships in consecutive seasons without a trip to the title game. For the Flite, this is their first trip to the CBA Championship game in their two-year history. Fort Wayne was led by Antonio Cannon (24 points) andJames Humphrey (21 points), while Chattanooga was led by E’Jay Ward and Fred Sturdivant with 17 points each.
The second semifinals game started off similar to the first game, as Bowling Green and Middle Tennessee, although both not known for their defensive performances, battled to a 16-14 first quarter finish, with Bowling Green with the edge. The trend continued at the half, with a low scoring 38-36 affair, with the 2-seeded Hornets remaining on top. In the second half, however, it was a completely different game, as Bowling Green erupted with an offensive show, stretching the lead to as many as 31 points, before ultimately knocking off the defending champions, 97-78, and advancing to their second title game in three seasons. Kalen Kimberland led Bowling Green with 30 points, while Dominique Rouse led Middle Tennessee with 17 points.
The 2-seeded Bowling Green Hornets will face the 4-seeded Fort Wayne Flite in the 2015 CBA Championship game tomorrow afternoon, May 31st, at 3:00 p.m. at the McMillen Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana, as both teams eye their first ever league title.