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Basketball team brings title back to Indiana

DANVILLE, Ind. (WISH) – There is something special about bringing a basketball championship back to the Hoosier State.

“We couldn’t have done it without just trusting each other,” said Indiana Lyons guard Mike Pugh. “Trusting each other, hanging out and just believing first of all – just believing in us and knowing that we can get the job done.”

The Indiana Lyons believed the whole season.

The Lyons are part of the American Basketball Association (ABA). The team has been around for five years and plays its games in Danville.

The Lyons’ fifth year of existence may have been the charm as they were named the league’s co-champions.

“It’s pretty cool,” said Indiana Lyons center Jackson Stone, a Danville native. “I love all these guys. It’s awesome.”

The team did not win the outright ABA title due to circumstances out of its control. The site of the title game in Missouri experienced severe weather on game day. It resulted in damage to the gym.

League officials then could not find a way to relocate the game due to the short turnaround time. So, it was determined that the Lyons and their opponent, the Burning River Buckets, out of Cleveland, Oh., would be co-champions.

“To be labeled co-champion, we’re making history,” said Indiana Lyons guard Michael Carter. “We did everything that we could do. It was totally out of our hands.”

The title was the first ABA title for a team from Indiana since the Pacers won it in 1973.

“To do something in five years of our existence, feelings can’t even describe the excitement we have,” said Tyrone Brown, the team’s president, CEO, and coach.

Brown said this was always the goal that the team set out for itself.

“We kept building every year,” said Brown. “Every player that’s come has been a benefit to our organization.”

One of the team’s fans has a unique perspective on the Lyons’ championship run.

That fan, Richard Nevitt, followed the Lyons all season long. And the wild part is that he also saw the Pacers’ ABA championship back 50 years ago.

“It felt so good to see them (Pacers) do it, just like these kids (Lyons),” said Nevitt.

Since the Lyons accomplished so much this season, they realize they will have a target on their back next year. But, Brown said the team will embrace that.

“The Lyons will be back,” said Brown.

The Lyons will host a public celebration on Saturday, May 20 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. EST inside Bosstick Gymnasium in Danville.