The Grand Rapids Drive (28-22) closed out their regular season on a high note by beating their division rival the Fort Wayne Mad Ants (23-27) on Saturday night on the road by a 121-118 final score. The Drive clinched the franchise’s first Central Division with tonight’s win.
Like most games for the Drive lately, they were led by the two-way player duo of Kalin Lucas and Isaiah Whitehead. Whitehead scored 31 points, his second-highest total of the season, grabbing six rebounds and going 13-of-27 from the field. Lucas saw his five-game streak of at least 30 points end, but still scored 22 points going a perfect 12-of-12 from the line to break his own team season record for free throws made in a game. Adam Woodbury added 14 points and 11 rebounds for Grand Rapids and Michael Bethea Jr. gave a boost off the bench by scoring 17 points.
Alize Johnson poured in a game-high 34 points with 11 rebounds for the Mad Ants and Rob Gray was excellent off the bench, going 10-of-15 from the floor for 22 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Stephan Hicks and Edmond Sumner both played well with Hicks going for 15 points and nine rebounds and Sumner for 13 points and a game-high 10 assists.
It was an incredibly high-flying first half, as both teams had a quarter in the first half where they scored at least 40 points. Grand Rapids led 78-70 at the halfway point, their second-highest total in a half this season. But both defenses stepped up in the fourth, with only 35 combined points coming in the final 12 minutes. Gray scored 10 of the 18 Fort Wayne fourth quarter points, but the comeback fell short.
The Drive made just five three-pointers on the entire night (with three of them coming from Bethea), but made up for it by drawing a stellar 38 free throw attempts and missing just four of them.
The Mad Ants’ season has concluded, and the Drive will await their first playoff matchup.