FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The Mad Ants (19-13) were unable to hold on to their lead down the stretch when they took on the Canton Charge (19-15) Tuesday night.
The Mad Ants started off physical shooting five free throws in the first quarter, Fort Wayne shot a perfect 5-5. Trey McKinney-Jones’s picked up where he left off Sunday night, scoring eight points in the quarter.
Quinn Cook and Eric Moreland charged Canton close behind the Mad Ants lead. Cook had six assists in the first quarter alone and led the charge with seven points. Moreland was not far behind with six points. Mad Ants finished the quarter ahead 26-20.
Fort Wayne had to deal with having two key players in foul trouble in the second quarter. Both Rakeem Christmas and Stephan Hicks had three fouls midway through the quarter. Hicks was handed a technical foul at the five-minute mark to swing the momentum in Canton’s favor.
Cook stayed hot in the second quarter, scoring 13 points with two 3-pointers. He recorded 20 points going into halftime but the Mad Ants maintained the lead 56-52 to finish out the half. The Charge out-rebounded Fort Wayne 18-14.
Ben Bentil was Fort Wayne’s leading scorer at the half with 14 points. McKinney-Jones tallied 12 points of his own. Stone facilitated the offense with six assists. The Mad Ants were deadly from behind the 3-point line shooting 6 of 12.
Canton cut the deficit to one after the half. Fort Wayne immediately responded with a 16-3 run consisting of four 3-pointers; each point in the run was scored by either Hicks or Stone. Canton fought back with a 14-5 run of their own to cut the deficit to five.
Fort Wayne ended the third with an 88-79 lead. The Mad Ants were led in the quarter by Hicks who scored 10 points and Stone who scored eight. The team went 5 for 7 from 3-point range.
The Charge kept in striking range with the help of John Holland and Moreland who each scored seven points. Cook had a double-double by the end of the third quarter, consisting of 22 points and 10 assists.
Canton was firing on all cylinders to start the fourth quarter. A 3-pointer by Cook gave the Charge their first lead of the game with six minutes remaining. That was part of a 16-0 run in the middle of the final period.
Fort Wayne was unable to recover, receiving several technical fouls in the final minutes. A dunk by Moreland put out any chance of a comeback by the Mad Ants. The Charge held on the rest of the way to win with a final score of 120-109.
Hicks led the Mad Ants in scoring with 19 points. Bentil and Jarrod Uthoff each finished with 15 of their own. McKinney-Jones tallied 14 with Jordan Loyd contributing 13 points to the cause. Stone finished with a double-double of 12 points and 10 assists. Fort Wayne was charged with 5 technical fouls and 2 flagrant fouls in the game.
Cook put on an offensive showcase scoring 36 points along with 13 assists. Roosevelt Jones finished a double-double as well with 15 points and 14 rebounds. Moreland finished with 24 points of his own, and Holland scored 22 points for the Charge.
Fort Wayne will look to snap their three-game losing streak when they travel to play the Westchester Knicks on February 22nd. Tip off will be at 7:00 p.m.