September 9, 2010

Red Claws returning to Augusta for game

By Scott Martin
Sports Editor

The Maine Red Claws played the first game in franchise history when they hosted an exhibition game at the Augusta Civic Center last fall. The NBA Developmental League team will kick off their second season in Augusta as well.

click image to enlarge

HOOP DREAMS: Maine Red Claws coach Austin Ainge, right, paces the sidelines in front of his father, Danny, seated at left, during the Red Claws preseason game agains the Springfield Armor last fall at the Augusta Civic Center.


Springfield Armor vs. Maine Red Claws
When: 7 p.m., Nov. 15
Where: Augusta Civic Center

The Red Claws will host the Springfield Armor in an exhibition game at 7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 15. Maine also played the Springfield (Mass.) Armor, coached by former Boston Celtics guard Dee Brown, in Augusta last fall, losing 86-78 in their only exhibition game.

"Last year was truly amazing from our standpoint," Red Claws president and general manager Jon Jennings said. "We hadn't played a public game against an opponent and we came to Augusta and had over 3,200 people come out to watch us."

Tickets go on sale to the public today at the Augusta Civic Center box office, which opens at 8 a.m. Tickets range in price from $31.50 for floor seats to $6.50 for general admission.

"It was a very good event for us," Augusta Civic Center director Dana Colwill said. "We are excited to have them back."

The Red Claws will play an intrasquad scrimmage at Deering High School on Nov. 13, but the trip to Augusta will be their only exhibition game. The Kennebec Journal is an official sponsor of the Nov. 15 exhibition.

Maine, the D-League affiliate of the Boston Celtics and the Charlotte Bobcats, opens its second NBA D-League season Friday, Nov. 19 at the Portland Expo against the Austin Toros, the D-League affiliate of the San Antonio Spurs.

The Red Claws went 27-23 in their inaugural season in the D-League, tying the league record for wins by an expansion team, and sold out every home game.

"We are pretty proud of what we accomplished," Jennings said.

The Red Claws are in the process of building their roster. They retained the rights to each player who was on their roster at the end of last season. They are also holding a tryout in Boston this weekend and the league draft will take place in early November.

Jennings said it is important to the Red Claws to play the game in Augusta to promote the team statewide. This summer the Red Claws also hosted clinics at Dunkin' Donuts across the state.

"There is a reason we are the Maine Red Claws and not the Portland Red Claws," Jennings said. "We represent the state of Maine."

Jennings said the game in Augusta will be run just like a Red Claws regular-season game and feature the Red Claws dance team, their master of ceremonies "JC" and their mascot "Crusher."

Scott Martin -- 621-5618

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