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Atlantic City Seagulls explode for 251 points in ABA home debut (yes, we said 251)
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American Basketball Association

Atlantic City Seagulls explode for 251 points in ABA home debut (yes, we said 251)


PLEASANTVILLE — The home opener of the new Atlantic City Seagulls on Saturday at the Pleasantville Recreation Center might be talked about for decades.

The Seagulls got on a run at the start of the American Basketball Association game and never cooled down, beating the Hornell (N.Y.) Bulls 251-69 in a game that had to be seen to be believed.

The ABA, of which the Seagulls and the Bulls are both new members, is geared toward scoring, but Atlantic City, with help from a couple of the league’s unique rules, easily broke the league record of 222 points in a game. The Seagulls improved to 1-1, having lost on the road in their first game.

The Seagulls were a member of the United States Basketball League from 1996-2001 and won the league title in 1997.

On Saturday, the scoreboard wouldn’t register the 2 for 200, so it read 51-69 at the end. The crowd went wild with each 3-pointer and especially when the 200-mark was reached.

The two 24-second clocks, positioned on the floor behind each basket, never got down to zero for either team.

“We wanted to put on a show for Atlantic City,” Seagulls coach Valentino Thompson said. “The city hasn’t had a team in a while. We showed a lot of energy, and we wanted to give the fans a reason to come back. We have the expectation to have a winning team that will bring energy to Atlantic City. Our starting five is good, but our five off the bench are just as good and can keep up the energy. I’ve told the team that I want them to score 200 points sometime this year. I felt during our practice and shootaround that something special might happen.”

The Seagulls hit 43 shots from beyond the 3-point line and got 66 steals and 85 rebounds.

Teams in the ABA press constantly for turnovers because of two rules. A steal in the backcourt that produces a 3-pointer is worth four points. A basket that comes from a steal in the backcourt is worth three points.

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Leon Daniels, a former Atlantic City High School player, led the Seagulls with 38 points and 32 rebounds. Ja James and Antoine “Cat” Morgano added 36 and 28, respectively, and Shawn Wilson, a former Pleasantville High School player, had 29 points and 11 steals. Brandon “Coop” Alexander scored 30.

Marcus Franklin, another former Pleasantville player, hit two 3s within 10 seconds of each other in the fourth quarter (the second one after a steal on a press) to break the ABA single-game team record of 222 points. Franklin’s first 3 made the score 222-59; the second one made it 226-59. Franklin finished with 32 points, including 10 from beyond the 3-point line.

Jaymere Hadden, who was a 1,000-point scorer for Millville High School and played for Stockton University, scored 21 for A.C.

“We shared the ball the whole game,” said the 6-foot-4 Hadden, a 29-year-old Millvile resident. “We had over 100 points at halftime and were determined to reach our goal. We lost our first game, and we had to get a win in our house. The people who were here should come back if they want to see a show. We really had the energy; it was crazy in here. We’ll try to go on a winning streak now.”

Atlantic City hit 100 points in the second quarter on an Alex Smart basket. The score at halftime was 114-31. Smart, a former Timber Creek High School, St. John’s University and Rutgers-Camden scored eight.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” said the 6-foot-7 Smart, a 30-year-old Clayton resident. “To be part of it is amazing. We had over 60 points in the first quarter. The coach said he wanted to go over 200 at some point, and then we found out the record was 222. We had something like 70 steals.

“And it’s our first home game. You couldn’t write it any better.”

For Hornell (1-1), Craig Robertson scored 16 and Trent Webb 13. Hornell is located about an hour south of Rochester, New York, in Stueben County.

The Seagulls will return to action on the road against the Baltimore Hawks this Saturday. The next home game is against the New Jersey Knights at 4 p.m. Nov. 28 at the Pleasantville Recreation Center.

Contact Guy Gargan: 609-272-7210

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Staff Writer

I’ve been at The Press since January of 1983. I cover all sports in general, but mostly lifeguard racing, and high school field hockey, football, swimming, basketball, crew, baseball and softball.

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