ALBANY — It’s been obvious this season that the Albany Patroons have great depth, but they haven’t needed to use it so much out of necessity until now.
Playing without starting guard Mike Williams in Game 2 of the TBL Championship Series, Albany endured a brief injury to another starter, and had its reserves give great minutes in a 112-102 win over Shreveport at the Washington Avenue Armory on Wednesday.
The deciding Game 3 will be at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Armory.
“There’s strength in numbers,” said Patrons coach Will Brown, who saw starting big forward Anthony Moe leave the game for most of the first quarter and a little of the second before re-entering with a heavily taped left knee. “Next guy up; guys got to step up. The guys that come off the bench, they all want to start, they want more minutes. They’re getting the opportunity.”
Guard Kameron Williams, an Ohio State graduate, replaced Mike Williams in the starting lineup and responded with a team-high 26 points and a game-high 45:33 played. He was especially sharp on 3-pointers, making four of eight.
“People figured out what Kameron Williams can do,” Brown said.
Reserve BJ Glasford provided a spark, scoring 23 points, grabbing eight rebounds and three steals.
The Patroons used a 10-0 run in the first quarter on a three-point play from Luther Page, drive from Glasford, a 3 from Kameron Williams and a drive from Trevis Wyche to forge ahead 24-14 for a lead it never relinquished.
The Patroons built the lead up to 31-19 after the first quarter and used another 10-0 run in the second to extend it to 45-23.
Starting guard AJ Mosby (20 points, eight rebounds, six assists) had a simple explanation.
“Defending,” Mosby said. “When we rebound out of our defense and cause them to have a few turnovers, we capitalized on those mistakes.”
Shreveport chipped away at the lead in the second half, eventually cutting it to nine points twice, the last being 88-79 with 8:32 left. Kameron Williams responded with a jumper and a 3-pointer to give Albany the breathing room it wanted.
Jared Sam added 18 points for Albany as the last Patroon to reach double-digits, but everyone who played contributed big minutes. Reserve guard Trevis Wyche may have exemplified that best. He scored four points, had seven rebounds and four assists, but hustled at both ends of the floor every possession.
Albany is going for its first championship since 2019, when it won the TBL title. The 2020 season was cut short due to the pandemic, and Albany opted to skip 2021.
Everyone knows it won’t be easy, but Thursday night should also be a lot of fun for those in attendance.
“They’ve got a lot of guys who can score the ball and shoot,” Mosby said of Shreveport. “We know they’re going to make adjustments. We’ve just got to be ready for those adjustments. We’re going to make adjustments as well. As long as we do what we did tonight, rebound and defend, we’ll be all right.”
“If you want to win a championship, there’s no excuses,” Brown said. “You’ve got to find a way.”
Jordan 4-1-10, Myers 13-2-28, Cummings 7-1-17, Moore 3-2-8, Parks 3-0-8, Brantley 1-0-2, Richardson 3-2-8. Totals: 44-9-102.
Dillard 1-0-2, Mosby 7-2-20, Wyche 2-0-4, Sam 7-4-18, Moe 2-2-6, Williams 10-2-26, Glasford 10-1-23, Show 2-0-6, Page 2-3-7. Totals: 43-14-112.
Shreveport 19 23 27 33 — 102
Albany 31 30 23 28 — 112