If you were to research Racine and its history in in athletics, you would find an extensive legacy, etched with championships and athletes who have gone on to accomplish huge success. Racine county basketball has been a power for years, with schools such as Jerome I. Case and St. Catherine’s enjoying multiple division championships. Considering this, you would think that Racine had reached the pinnacle of their basketball glory.
Enter the Racine Storm. Racine Storm is the brainchild of owner Attorney Michael Tyler, who also owns a sports and consulting agency (Tyler Sports and Entertainment Consulting) and has helped build a team that will contend for PBL (Premier Basketball League) championships for years to come. With Tyler being born and raised in Waukegan, the team originally was located in Lake County, Illinois. They played in the Independent Basketball Association and when the team re-located to Racine, they didn’t have a place to call their own. In their final season with the IBA, they finally found a home at the Jerome I. Case High School Fieldhouse. This is the team’s inaugural season in the PBL, and they are not waiting for their turn at the top. Instead, they are snatching up opportunities.
With their extreme attention to detail on the defensive end, they have compiled the second best record in the PBL’s Midwest Division (7-3), are currently undefeated at home and most recently defeated the fourth ranked team in their conference, the Indianapolis Diesels, 103-96. The team is defense first and second, looking to disrupt opposing offenses and then push the ball in transition, even throwing lobs to high flyers such as Thomas Cobbs and Reginald “Reggie” Bunch. The team is coached by the cool hand of Clinton Bryant and it was easy to see why the squad is so poised when the game is in doubt. In speaking with players such as Anthony Spencer, the team’s and one of the league’s leading scorers, everyone said that the chemistry couldn’t be better. Spencer himself says the team loves to play with one another and are not only teammates on the court, but friends off of it. “We’ve been playing with one another for a while and we just clicked,” Spencer said. “With practice and spending time with each other on and off the court, that is where the chemistry comes in at.”
Many of the players I spoke with are from the Racine area or nearby, and one of the players was a proud Ranger for two seasons. Tom Wright, a 6’8 forward, was a walk-on that played under Coach Reigel and had nothing but praises for the coach. “When I played, the style back then was well planned out,” Wright said. “Coach Reigel is a meticulous strategist, everything was extremely professional and that is how he ran his teams…It was a good deal and I liked being on the team.” He left to pursue his dream in law enforcement, but when Coach Bryant heard what kind of player he was, he needed to add him to the roster. Wright has been with the Storm ever since.
The team has two home games this weekend; Saturday versus the Ohio Lima Express (third in the Midwest division with a 6-5 record) at 7 p.m. and Sunday versus the Danville Riverhawks (fifth in the Midwest Division with a 3-8 record) at 6 p.m. On behalf of The Ranger News I would like to thank Director of Public Relations, Shawn Quirk, and the Racine Storm for inviting me to the game and being great hosts. Good luck with the rest of the season. The Ranger News will continue to support.