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Red-hot Lightning seeks fifth straight win

By DAVE LOVETON
LA Lightning Media DirectorAfter finding its groove the last two weeks, the Los Angeles Lightning hopes to continue its offensive assault this weekend when it completes a 12-game, season-opening homestand against the Windy City Soldiers. The International Basketball League teams will square off on Friday and Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. in Cal Lutheran's Gilbert Sports Arena.

All children (16 and under) will be admitted free with a paid adult.

The Lightning (4-6) has won its last four games by an average of 147-121. L.A. shot 60 and 55 percent in blowout wins over the China Shanxi Zhongyu last weekend, winning by a combined 73 points (157-109 and 158-133). The 158 points were a season high and just eight off the IBL high for this year, recorded by the Holland (Mich.) Blast on April 5.

Newcomers Toby Bailey and Billy Knight, a pair of former UCLA stars, averaged 21.5 points against China with Knight shooting 70 percent and Bailey 60.9. The Lightning, which led by 56 points in the fourth quarter of Friday's rout, hit 37 shots from 3-point land in the two games. Center Ronell Mingo led the way with 22 points and nine rebounds in Saturday's win and is averaging a double-double for the season (21.4 ppg, 10.1 rpg).

Kamran Sufi, a 5-9 guard, handed out 21 assists in his L.A. debut three games ago and is averaging 13.7. Sufi played at St. Mary's from 1993-97 and is the all-time leader in assists (507) and steals (162).

Lamond Murray, the Lightning's top scorer (24.0) and rebounder (11.6), will miss this weekend's games due to a family commitment.

Windy City (7-10), located in Kankakee, Ill., has dropped its last five games, averaging 109 points in those losses. The Soldiers are led by 6-9 Erik Rhinehart, the IBL's 7th-leading scorer at 24.7, and 6-5 Anthony Spencer, who averages 19.5. Barry Bradford is second in the IBL in assists at 8.3.

Los Angeles will hit the road from June 6-15, playing six games in 10 days. The trip opens at Las Vegas on June 6-7, and continues with single games at Windy City (June 11), Gary, Ind. (June 13), two-time defending IBL champion Elkhart (Ind.) Express (June 14) and Battle Creek, . (June 15).