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Apr. 17, 2008
The Vermont Frost Heaves Repeat as ABA Champs
The Vermont Frost Heaves left Quebec City last month with a little something extra to declare at customs—and another ABA title.

They did it again.

In the team's second year of existence they've won their second ABA title!

Congrats Frost Heaves!

Here’s the scoop from Alex Wolff, the team’s Pres & GM:

We did it. Got our 34-4 regular-season record through customs, overcame a parade of injuries, defied the long odds that champions in any sport face against repeating—and beat three teams in four days at the American Basketball Association Final 8 Championships in Quebec City late last month.

That doesn’t just mean two titles in two years. It means two titles in the Vermont Frost Heaves’ two years of existence. And so the bouquets are starting to come in: Another ABA Coach of the Year Award for the 31-year-old who presides over our bench, Will Voigt, a classically trained pianist who went to the smallest high school in the state of Vermont. All-ABA honors for Terrance Green, Issa Konare and Antonio Burks (though anyone who watched our balanced play all year knows that, on the Frost Heaves, individual honors are quite beside the point). And tournament MVP recognition for Dwuan Rice, the 5’9” point guard we snapped up after the Idaho Stampede of the NBA’s D-League let him go just before Christmas.

A native of Pasadena, Dwuan confesses that he signed with us in part because he had never seen snow and wanted to. Two of our biggest fans, Dick and Linda Rouelle, took him snowmachining (that’s Green Mountainese for snowmobiling) over the holiday break. “It’s soft,” Dwuan said after a few flakes settled on his outstretched palm. “I thought it would be hard.”

What was hard? Hard was winning in the quarters against the San Francisco Rumble, which pressed and changed defenses, two tactics foreign to the Northeast of the ABA where we’d navigated our regular season. In the semis we beat the Texas Tycoons 106-100, but not without watching our glue guy, guard Brett Gravitt, turn an ankle, and Konare, a native of Senegal who fell in love with a gal from Vermont at college in North Carolina, writhe in pain after suffering lower back spasms as a result of a fall. Considering that Green was already lost for the season with a tear of his ACL, and power forward and co-captain John Bryant was out of commission as a result of a bum shoulder, these last two blows hardly seemed reasonable.

To simply get Brett and Issa on to the floor for the final the next day against the San Diego Wildcats would provide the remaining members of the team with a huge psychological boost. (For physiological supplement during this demanding stretch, Clif recovery products came in extra-handy.)

Brett used crutches to keep off the ankle, and actually got out there and made plays. Issa, on the other hand, spent a night unable to get out of his hotel-room bed. It was the coach of the Tycoons, the team we’d just beaten, who saved the day. Jean-Paul Afif, a former player at Loyola Marymount, had watched his own career founder amidst chronic back problems, and graciously offered to minister to Issa pre-game with Eastern therapeutic massage. Miraculously, Afif’s magic fingers got Issa into good enough fettle that he started and gave us a handful of Willis Reed-like minutes, actually sinking a couple of three-pointers—the margin of error in our 87-84 victory.

Some 50 fans had made the drive north from Vermont, and our mascot, Bump the Moose, turned up too. We were delirious.

When a customs agent asks, “And are you bringing anything back from your stay in Canada?” there’s nothing quite like having one humongous, bling-encrusted, two-handled trophy to declare.

Photo credit to Roger Crowley/
Players visible, L to R, are: Brett Gravitt, Dokun Akingbade, Dwayne Lee, Dwuan Rice and Antonio Burks.
Posted by:
Le Sensation American
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We like getting our heart rates up, taking a big breath of fresh air, savoring delicious food. But we also love telling stories and here's where we type 'em up. (BTW, it works both ways; leave a comment—please and thank you.)

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