In only their second year of existence, after beating the Bay State Bombardiers and the Puerto Rico Coquis in the playoffs, the Albany Patroons were now in the CBA championship series. And unlike the playoffs, where they faced Puerto Rico and Bay State in the regular season, they were now up against a team they had not played all year - the Wyoming Wildcatters. Both teams battled hard in the best-of-five postseason series, and were tied at two games apiece on April 8th.
One of the 'Catters responsible for Wyoming's appearance in the playoffs was Boot Bond. A 6'3" second-year guard from Pepperdine, Bond consistently averaged 14 points per game in the playoffs, and his shooting and free throw averages increased with each game.
But the invaders from Casper, Wyoming, were not ready for center Andre Gaddy. Gaddy, a 6'10" rookie from George Mason University, averaged 19 points and 11 rebounds in the Bay State and Puerto Rico series, playing as hard as he could, looking for that NBA callup.
As Game 5 began, Boot Bond immediately hit shots from everywhere, scoring 18 points in the game's first half. With five minutes left in the half, Bond capped off his scoring binge with an 18-foot shot that swished through the net. Wyoming led Albany 49-35 at that point.
Immediately the Patroons woke up. Lowes Moore made a three-point basket and Andre Gaddy hit two shots in the lane. And when 'Catter Willie Jones picked up his fourth foul and was benched by coach Jack Schalow, Albany was in the groove. Moore scored two points off a spin move, spurring eight straight points by the Patroons. By halftime, Wyoming's 14-point lead was trimmed to one point, 53-52.
The Pats took the lead in the third quarter, as Albany's Rudy Macklin rattled off a postsason-high 14 points in the period.
Yet Wyoming wasn't about to concede the series. Bond & Co. kept the pressure on the Patroons, cutting into their lead. With nine minutes left, 'Catter Orlando Phillips scored three points on a layup, a foul and a free throw. Albany's lead was now just one point - 91-90.
Both Andre Gaddy and Lowes Moore tried quick scores, but their shots missed the cylinder. Wyoming's All-Star, Del Beshore, recovered the ball and passed it to Orlando Phillips.
Phillips was wide open - the shot was his to make. Reverse? Dunk? Slam? Simple layup? Behind the back? An in-your-face jam?
We'll never know. Phillips let the ball slip through his fingers. The Pats' Mark Jones recovered it, sprinted down the lane and scored two points.
Even after that gaffe, Wyoming kept playing hard. With six minutes left in the season, Albany led 95-94.
That's when the Patroons stepped up to the level of great basketball champions. Andre Gaddy, Ralph McPherson and Mark Jones combined for nine straight points, effectively distancing themselves from the challenges from Casper.
And as the minutes ticked away, Wyoming, down by 15, called a timeout. The Armory erupted in cheers, whistles and applause. In the Armory's "upper deck" seats, the fans unfurled a handmade banner - the Patroons' Dutch shoe and ball logo with the words "CBA 83-84 Champs."
After two more minutes of play, the game - and the season was finally over. Patroons 119, Wildcatters 109. Phil Jackson was given the CBA Championship Trophy, and he held it aloft while his team poured champagne on his head.
The next day, Pats fans packed Academy Park for a victory rally. Everybody involved, from Team President Jim Coyne to Mayor Tom Whalen, from team leader Lowes Moore to Playoff MVP Andre Gaddy, stood at the dais in Academy Park and thanked the people of the Capital District for supporting the "Champion" Patroons.
Not since the Albany Senators baseball team won the Eastern League pennant in 1954 had there been such support for the home team.
Johnson 4-6, 0-0 8; Anderson 4-4 2-2 11; Mosley 2-6 1-2 5; Beshore 4-9 5-5 13; Bond 15-24 4-4 34; Jones 9-12 1-1 19; High 0-1 0-4 0; Bradley 4-9 5-5 13; Phillips 2-6 2-3 6. Totals 44-77 20-26 109.
Gaddy 11-25 7-9 29; McPherson 5-13 11-11 21; Macklin 8-13 5-6 21; Moore 5-12 4-4 14; Sanders 7-16 0-0 14; Rowland 1-2 0-0 2; Schweitz 1-6 2-2 4; Jones 5-7 6-4 14; Elliott 0-1 0-2 0; Magley 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 43-97 33-38 119.
WYOMING 27-26-30-26 109 ALBANY 23-29-35-32 119Three-point goals - Anderson. Rebounds: Wyoming 40 (Mosley 10), Albany 43 (Gaddy 14, McPherson 11). Assists: Wyoming 22 (Beshore 9), Albany 20 (Moore 8). Total fouls: Wyoming 35, Albany 22. Technical fouls: Moore, Beshore. A-2,865.
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