February 5, 2017

ABA basketball hopes to drop Anchors in Worcester

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Matthew Wright / For Worcester Sun

From left, owner Tom Marino, former WPI star forward Clyde Niba and coach Anthony Leonelli hope the New England Anchors find a home in Worcester.

They’re broke, they have no home-court advantage, and their original owner abandoned them just days before the season started.

But that’s not stopping the New England Anchors — a fledgling professional basketball team in an historic and once preeminent league — from settling in, finding success and keeping their eyes on a playoff spot.

Now, if only they can find a permanent home, and a few fans, maybe even here in Worcester. First, though, the team must finish its inaugural season.

The Anchors, who have played home games at South High Community School and Worcester State University, found themselves with a 7-2 record and ranked 20th in the Jan. 29 power rankings of the approximately 84-team American Basketball Association[Editor’s note: the volatility of the league makes an exact count mostly a guessing game.]

Under the new ownership of Worcester State alum Tom Marino, and led by head coach Anthony Leonelli, the Anchors are outscoring their opponents by an average of 33 points in their seven victories.

“[Leonelli] put together a ridiculous team. We’re 7-2 and we haven’t won by less than 16. Basketball-wise, things are wonderful. We score a ton of points,” Marino said.

The Anchors are averaging more than 126 points per game.

“We’ve got a great group of guys with great basketball backgrounds. These guys have bought into our plan and as a result we’ve won a lot of games. It’s been fun to watch,” Leonelli said.


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