By Dave Loveton, Director of Media Relations
Monday, July 16, 2012

Lightning wins big in SPL debut
L.A. to play six games in prestigious league

Hassan Stephens tallied 28 points on Sunday night at Roybal Center in Los Angeles, leading the Los Angeles Lightning to a 130-105 basketball victory over the Nippon Tornadoes of Japan. It was the Lightning’s first game in the prestigious Southern California Summer Pro League.

Tarron Williams added 25 points and Trayvon Lathan poured in 20 of his 21 points in the first half as the Lightning built a 71-46 lead. Lathan, a 6-8 guard who led the Lightning in scoring in the IBA Spring Season at 25.4 per game, sat out the final 20 minutes in favor of younger players.

“Our guys stayed focused, even with a big lead,” said L.A. coach Ron Quarterman. “It’s a great experience to be part of the Summer Pro League. There’s a lot of talent this year and it’s a first-class organization with great leadership.”

The SPL is entering its 39th season as the premier summer showcase for basketball's greatest teams and showmen. The league is the perfect stage for undiscovered players.

Every NBA team has participated in the SPL, which has featured more than 800 current and former NBA players as well as international players and ex-college stars. Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum of the Lakers have played in the league, along with Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitski, Isiah Thomas, Karl Malone and Lightning players Lamond Murray and Tyus Edney.

The Lightning will play six games over the next two weeks at the Roybal Center, located at 1200 West Colton Street. They’ll take on the New York Elite Pros on Thursday at 4 p.m. and the Pro 4 Team on Friday at 6. Lightning stars Chris Ayer, Billy Knight and Jerry Dupree, who missed Sunday’s opener due to prior commitments, are expected to play on Thursday.

“The SPL is a very important part of our development process,” said Lightning owner and general manager Mark Harwell, who was named 2012 GM of the Year by the Independent Basketball Association. “It gives our players a showcase and opportunities to get jobs overseas.”

For information on the SPL, visit their web site at http://www.summerproleague.com/about_us.html.

Photo by Michael Lopez