Lightning to open season this weekend
They’ll host Battle Creek at Cal Lutheran
The Los Angeles Lightning will unveil the 2012 edition of their high-energy brand of pro basketball this weekend when they host the Battle Creek Knights at Gilbert Sports Arena on the campus of Cal Lutheran.
Saturday’s game tips off at 7 p.m. and Sunday gets underway at 6 p.m.
The Lightning are starting their fourth season. This will be their first games in the Independent Basketball Association, a fast-paced, high-scoring league that features 12 teams from North America, including franchises in Los Angeles, New York and other major cities who play an international style of basketball.
This weekend will also be the debut of the Lightning’s new Ticket Split program, powered by Vendini Systems. Any school or nonprofit foundation can get involved in the program, which returns 50 percent of all proceeds back to the nonprofit or school from tickets they sell.
The organizations that will benefit this weekend are Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ventura County, Robert Fulton Prep School of Van Nuys and The Lighthouse/Place of Refuge Foundation.
The Lightning captured the 2009 IBL title with a half-dozen former NBA players, led by Lamond Murray, Toby Bailey, Bryon Russell, Fred Vinson, Darrick Martin and Juaquin Hawkins. Murray, who once scored 41 points in an NBA game, was named MVP of the IBL championship series.
Russell, a 6-7 forward who went to three NBA Finals with the Utah Jazz and Lakers, is expected to be in the starting lineup on Saturday, along with last season’s top scorer, 6-8 guard Trayvon Lathan (26.4 ppg on 65% shooting, 11.5 rebs, 4.6 assts). Other starters include Billy Knight (25.3 ppg), center Chris Ayer (18.4 ppg, 9.4 rpg) and Kamran Sufi, the IBL record holder with 21 assists in a game.
Ron Quarterman is starting his fourth season as head coach. He's guided the Lightning to 19 wins in their last 22 home games. Thirteen of this year’s 15 regular-season games will be played at home.
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