ALBANY — An Albany Patroons fan brought a hand-made “We Want Shreveport” cardboard sign to the Washington Avenue Armory on Monday night.
The next piece of paper head coach Will Brown wants to see with “Shreveport” printed on it is a plane ticket.
The Patroons earned themselves a trip to Louisiana by blowing out the Kokomo BobKats 121-83 in The Basketball League East Regional Finals in front of a boisterous crown wielding all manner of bells and pots and pans to bang on at the Armory.
The Patroons, led by 36 points from AJ Mosby, answered the bells by jumping to a 29-point lead in the second quarter and holding the BobKats at arm’s length the rest of the way.
Now Albany will begin a best-of-3 series against West Regional champion Shreveport on the road Wednesday before returning to Albany for Game 2 this weekend and Game 3, if necessary.
“Our goal all along has been to win a championship,” Brown said. “To do that, you have to be one of two still standing. Now, realistically, we can achieve our goal.
“We had the best regular season record — and I hate to use this analogy — but the Utah Jazz have had the best regular season and haven’t won the whole thing. So we want to finish the job.”
Mosby, a guard from Alcorn State, scored 20 points in the first half to lay the foundation, then he snapped off three 3-pointers in a short span in the third quarter, just as the BobKats started to show a glimmer of getting back in the game by quickly cutting the Patroons’ lead to 15 in the second half.
Mosby’s 3-pointers and one by Kameron Williams during that stretch of just over two minutes pushed the Albany lead to 77-54, and the run continued as the Patroons went up 86-54 on a dunk by Anthony Moe late in the third.
“I was confident in my shot tonight,” Mosby said. “I’m always confident in my shot, but tonight I knew what I had to do. I had great looks and took them.”
“I don’t think they listened to what I told them at halftime, because I was really disappointed with the last three or four minutes of the second quarter, and it carried over into the third,” Brown said. “Then late in the third we started to settle down.”
“[Mosby was] huge. Huge, man,” Moe said. “We depend on him every day, and he delivers every day. He should’ve been the MVP of the league.”
The game was tight in the first quarter until the Patroons gave themselves some breathing room with a 14-4 run to go up 25-16 heading into the second.
Then Albany ran Kokomo off the floor in the second quarter, leading by as much as 29 late in the first half before the BobKats went on a 10-3 run to cut it to 56-34 at halftime.
Kokomo didn’t make a 3-pointer in the game until there was just over two minutes left in the half, and the BobKats struggle from behind the arc was never more evident than when Johnny Griffin was wide open in the left corner and bounced his 3 attempt off the top of the backboard.
The ball landed in the Patroons’ possession to set up a dunk in transition by Anthony Moe for a 33-18 lead.
Mosby continued his hot half — he was 8-for-10 on field goals and 3-for-4 from 3 — by making a jumper in the lane in transition to make it 49-22 and a 3 for a 56-27 lead.
Kokomo’s leading scorer, Derek Hawthorne, was having a nearly non-existent first half before hitting two 3-pointers and scoring eight points in the final two minutes. He also found Tremont Moore underneath just before the buzzer to cut it to 56-34.
Mosby finished the game 13-for-18 from the field, including 6-for-9 from 3-point range.
Williams finished with 19 points, and Moe had 14 points and 18 rebounds.
“It’s what we’ve come to expect of AJ,” Brown said. “He’s outstanding, as good as any player in this league.
“Kam Williams, I give him an awful lot of credit for staying patient, because he joined our team late in the game. The guy scored, like, 1,300, 1,400 points in the Big Ten [at Ohio State]. He can play. Kokomo’s strength is in numbers; we’re pretty deep, too.”
Plummer 2-0-4, Giles 1-0-2, Arnett 2-2-7, Gibson 9-2-23, Moore 8-2-18, Harris 2-2-6, Boyd 3-0-6, Hawthorne 5-0-13, Henderson 2-0-4. Totals: 34-8-83.
Dillard 0-2-2, Mosby 13-3-36, M. Williams 4-2-13, Sam 3-0-6, Newton 2-0-4, Wyche 3-1-7, K. Williams 7-1-19, Glasford 1-0-2, Show 1-0-3, Page 4-7-15, Totals: 44-18-121.
Kokomo 16 17 23 27 – 83
Albany 25 31 33 33 – 121
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