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Albany Legends make most out of new home

No one will confuse Christian Brothers Academy's gymnasium with the Washington Avenue Armory.

It's smaller, it has bleachers instead of seats and it has a private school attached to it.

But for this season, CBA is home to the defending International Basketball League champion Albany Legends. And the team is making the best of it.

It's not going to be bad, said forward DeAndre Thomas, one of two players back from last year's team. "It's just like a neutral site. You have to go out and play hard every game."

In some ways, CBA gives the Legends a more appropriate setting for their home games. The smaller capacity " CBA seats 1,200, while the Armory seats 3,500 " means fewer empty seats. And the lower ceiling helps generate more noise when people cheer.

The Legends (2-1) gave their loyal fans plenty to cheer about during their season-opening homestand against Kankakee last weekend. They took two out of the three games, beating the Soldiers 115-112 last Friday and 120-106 Sunday. Kankakee took the middle game 121-118 last Saturday.

Last Friday's opener marked the head coaching debut of Ben Smith " a Niskayuna School District teacher who has been an assistant at both the pro and high school ranks.

"Not a bad way to start," said Smith. "I'm very excited about the opportunity this ownership group gave me here."

The home stand also marked the pro basketball debut of former Troy High School standout Emanuel Mayben. The player nicknamed "Tiki" gave the Legends a boost in last Friday's opener, as he scored 18 points including a key three-pointer at the end of the third quarter and two clutch free throws in the final minute of the fourth quarter that sealed the victory.

"It helped me to get in the zone with that shot [at the end of the third quarter]," said Mayben. "I don't really know where we would have been if that shot hadn't gone in."

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