March 16, 1998 in Sports

No Place Like Home Quest Repeat As Abl Champ By Winning 3 At Columbus

Associated Press
 

Although the Columbus Quest had a dominating offense and a stingy defense all season, the team’s biggest advantage might have been its home court.

Columbus won its second straight American Basketball League title Sunday night, defeating the Long Beach StingRays 86-81.

The Quest opened the best-of-5 series by losing twice at Long Beach, but won three straight games at Battelle Hall to retain the championship.

Columbus has won a league-record 26 consecutive times on its own floor after losing this season’s home opener and is 49-3 at home in the league’s two seasons.

The Quest also took five games to win last year’s ABL title, defeating the Richmond Rage in the final game in Columbus. The Rage moved to Philadelphia in the off-season.

“We just refused to lose,” said Quest coach Brian Agler. “We just hung in there and we made the plays when we had to. Everybody forgets we were down two-to-nothing, but we put ourselves in a corner and fought out of it.”

Valerie Still scored 25 points for Columbus and repeated as the playoffs’ MVP. For the series, she averaged 14.6 points and seven rebounds per game and led the team in steals with 16.

Still, 36, has been playing professionally for 14 years, including 12 in Italy, and hinted this might have been her last game.

“For me at this moment, there’s nothing more I can do on the court,” she said. “It really is hard to get up for games. I like playing. … I like having fun, but if I don’t have that killer instinct, it’s hard to get motivated.”

Andrea Lloyd of the Quest had announced earlier this year that she was retiring at the end of the season.

Clarissa Davis-Wrightsil of Long Beach set a league playoff record with 36 points before fouling out in the final second of play. Andrea Nagy also fouled out for Long Beach, which committed 35 fouls while Columbus was called for 22.

Columbus finished with a 41-10 overall record after going 36-8 in the regular season.

Quest 86, StingRays 81

At Columbus, Ohio

Long Beach (81) - Davis-Wrightsil 12-19 9-9 36, Griffith 4-6 2-2 10, Lacy 4-11 0-0 8, Williams 4-7 4-4 13, Nagy 1-2 0-0 2, Stafford 0-1 4-5 4, Wilkerson 2-4 0-0 4, Johnson 1-3 0-0 2, Bauer 0-1 2-2 2. Totals 28-54 21-22 81.

Columbus (86) - Lloyd 1-5 3-4 5, Smith 3-7 10-10 19, Still 7-13 10-11 25, Johnson 3-8 2-4 8, Edwards 2-8 8-9 12, Thirdgill 0-0 0-0 0, Tate 5-9 3-3 15, Davis 0-0 0-0 0, Potthoff 0-2 2-2 2. Totals 21-52 38-43 86.

Long Beach 12 21 16 32 - 81

Columbus 14 19 25 28 - 86

3-point goals-Long Beach 4-10 (Davis-Wrightsil 3-8, Williams 1-1, Johnson 0-1), Columbus 6-16 (Smith 3-5, Tate 2-3, Still 1-2, Lloyd 0-1, Johynson 0-1, Edwards 0-4). Fouled out-Davis-Wrightsil, Nagy. Rebounds-Long Beach 32 (Lacy 10), Columbus 30 (Still 6). Assists-Long Beach 23 (Nagy 8), Columbus 18 (Smith, Johnson 4). Total fouls-Long Beach 35, Columbus 22. A-6,313.

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