WATERLOO -- For the opening 24 minutes, Sunday's battle between the Cedar Valley CourtKings and Green Bay Area Titans was a tightly contested battle of 3-1 teams.
The CourtKings needed buzzer-beaters from David Stanley at the end of the first period and Jared Sutherland in the second to keep it close before wearing down Green Bay in the second half for a 138-121 Midwest Basketball League win.
Stanley's deuce cut an 11-point Green Bay lead to 39-30. Sutherland's long-range shot sent the CourtKings to halftime with a 68-67 lead.
"I think we came out to start the game and saw they only had six players and thought, hey we've got this," guard Jaree Crawford said. "We just were not playing CourtKing ball to start and those guys kept fighting. Coach got into our heads and told us at halftime that we were not playing our game. We needed to settle down."
The Kings stormed out in the third quarter, scoring the first 11 points as Crawford and Emeche Wells went to work inside and out.
Wells knocked down 12 of his 24 points in the third and Crawford hit 10 of a game-high 33 points.
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"I love to touch the ball," Crawford said. "I like the ball inside and I like getting the ball out front as well. I think we just played more relaxed in the third and we all knew in the locker room that it wasn't us playing in the first half."
"I don't know what the deal was there in the first half, but when I looked in the guys' faces at the break, I could tell they knew they were not playing our style," CourtKings coach Michael Mohlis said. "We didn't control the flow and we definitely did not show the energy we normally come out with, and we lacked communication.
"The guys regrouped at the half and played with more energy, especially on defense, and I believe we made five straight defensive stops and went on a nice run."
The CourtKings never let up as they continued to wear down the shorthanded Titans while making a 43-21 run to end the game.
"With just six guys they really battled the whole way," added Mohlis. "We have to get together as coaches and find that balance in the rotation that is going to work. I sort of got away from that here early. We just need to get our flow down and run a little crisper than we have been."
Aundre Hicks chipped in 18 points, Brady Burford 17, Stanley 14 points and Anthony James 11 for Cedar Valley.