Reading Rebels defeat Frederick Flying Cows in TBL battle of heavyweights

Apr. 26—Although Javon Adams did not play high school basketball in Berks County, the 6-9 power forward who grew up in Reading is making a name for himself with the Reading Rebels basketball team.

After graduating from Olympus Prep in Williamstown, New Jersey in 2022, Adams is back in his hometown playing in his first season with Reading.

With a strong desire to put on a show for his city, Adams scored 22 points to help lead Reading to a 137-119 win over the Frederick Flying Cows (11-2) Thursday night at Jack McCloskey Court at Alvernia in a key divisional matchup atop the Atlantic Northeast Division of The Basketball League.

"Honestly, this is a basketball city," Adams said. "We got state champs with Reading High here, but most importantly, I didn't get to play high school here, so for me to be able to put on the Reading jersey means everything. I'm just happy to rep for my city."

Heading into Thursday night's game, Frederick held sole possession of the Atlantic Northeast Division of the The Basketball League, while the Rebels (13-2) sat in second place.

Leading 70-66 after the first half, Reading outscored the Flying Cows 30-26 in the third quarter. Adams scored a team-high 12 points in the fourth to help the Rebels pull away with the victory, which included several acrobatic dunks during the closing minutes.

Using his long frame at both ends of the floor, Adams also provided a strong defensive presence for Reading, blocking several shots and displaying a dominance off the glass.

"Javon does a great job on the floor," First-year coach Mike Mahon said of Adams. "He's highly athletic, and honestly, he's a next level player down the road once he gets the skill development he needs, which is why they brought me in here. So we're working.

"The fact that he can just get out in front and fill that lane in... He's doing a great job getting above the rim."

Also for the Rebels, Aquille Carr scored a game-high 33 points and made five 3-pointers, Ronald Scott had 16 points and Kutztown University graduate Anthony Lee had 24 points and also made five 3-pointers.

Wilson graduate Travaun Coad scored two points in the first quarter before suffering what appeared to be a knee injury and did not return to the game.

A strong emphasis on defense has seemingly paved the way for Reading under Mahon, who replaced Fleetwood graduate Mick DiBenedetto as head coach early last week.

"I want to thank my coach for coming in and building us up and making sure that we got a bond," Adams said. "Honestly, we're more intense, but most importantly, his thing is defense. And that's exactly what I'm here for as the head of the defense. I'm here to make everybody around me better. Make everybody around me want to play and go hard."

"We're getting better on defense, Mahon said. "We're making stops when we need to, and that's keen to try and get our own identity. So we made some stops. And that was, for me, how we made our run. Anthony (Lee) had a great game and everyone just played their tails off for Travaun (Coad)."

The Rebels have won 11 straight games with the win against the Flying Cows. In Sunday's 131-102 win against the Connecticut Crusaders, Adams scored 25 points and recorded 12 rebounds as well as three assists.

With a championship mentality and players hitting their strides, Reading has its sights set on a deeper postseason run after being eliminated in the first round in 2023. Though, despite their ambitions, the Rebels are taking nothing for granted as they continue to grow as a team.

"Our main goal is a championship," Adams said. "We want that goal. We want everything. We're coming for first place and for everything that we can conquer. But most importantly, we just have to stay together. We have to take these wins, and low key, act like they're losses so that we can continue to strive to be great."