The Cedar Valley CourtKings made history by playing their first game in the brand new Midwest Basketball League (MBL) Saturday night (April 23, 2016). Despite seven players scoring in double-figures, the CourtKings fell to the Chicago Clovers, 109-95, at Hyde Park Academy High School in Chicago.

Five former Mount Mercy players accounted for 77-percent of Cedar Valley’s scoring, with Rashad Carrington’s 18 points leading the way. Lamar Wall followed with 16, Alex Coleman chipped in 15, Alex Houston tallied 13 and LaDon Singleton had 11. Former Northern Iowa guard Anthony James and ex-Wartburg center Clay Cook each scored 10 points for the CourtKings.

The CourtKings (0-1) built an early 4-1 advantage, then mostly played from behind the rest of the way. The three-point edge would be their largest of the game.

The Clovers (1-0) established a high-low combination early, utilizing the strength of center Chris Smith in the post and the shooting skills of former Bradley guard Walt Lemon, Jr., on the perimeter. They combined to score 21 points in the first quarter and accounted for 65 of the team’s 109 points.

Chicago built a 27-17 lead late in the first quarter and owned a 30-22 advantage after the opening 12-minutes of play. The Clovers’ lead eventually increased to 42-30 in the second quarter, before Cedar Valley mounted a comeback.

Down by 12 midway through the period, the CourtKings went on a 20-6 run over the next eight minutes. They rallied to tie the game at 48-all, then took the lead at 50-48.

Chicago ended Cedar Valley’s run with a three-pointer, which put the Clovers ahead 51-50. The CourtKings scored the next basket, but the 52-51 advantage would be their last lead of the game. Chicago closed the quarter with a 9-2 run and owned a 57-52 edge at halftime.

Cedar Valley never led in the second half, but cut the deficit to two points late in the third quarter. They trailed 79-72 after the period and were outscored 30-23 the final 12 minutes.

Lemon scored a game-high 33 points to lead the Clovers in their inaugural game, while Smith tallied 32. Lyvonte Eskridge also added 14 points off the bench to help Chicago.

The CourtKings return to the Windy City for the second game in franchise history this weekend. Cedar Valley faces the Chicago Fury at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday (April 30) at the Stern Red Shield Center.

Cedar Valley’s home opener against the Minnesota Broncos is Sunday, May 15 at 7:30 p.m. at the Cedar Valley SportsPlex in Waterloo. The first 75 fans through the door will get a special ‘inaugural home game’ T-shirt, compliments of Craft Cochran Company and the Cedar Valley CourtKings. It will also be Jordan Eglseder autograph night. UNI’s former 7-foot center will be signing autographs and taking pictures with fans from 6:15 to 7:30 p.m.

The MBL is a semi-professional league that features former college players, who are looking to advance to the next level. The league consists of 11 teams that are split into two divisions. The CourtKings compete in the six-team West Division, along with squads from Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The East Division is made up of five teams from Indiana and Ohio. The league's six-game championship series will be held in Minneapolis in late August.