It's been a season of firsts for the Mad Ants.
They got a franchise-record 34 victories and earned their first regular-season championship.
Now, they've got their first playoff series victory.
After trailing by seven points early, the Mad Ants defeated the Reno Bighorns 115-93 at Memorial Coliseum tonight to complete a two-game sweep of the eighth seed.
Now, the Mad Ants await the winner of the series between fourth-seeded Sioux Falls and seventh-seeded Canton, which will conclude Monday in South Dakota.
The Mad Ants' next series will again be best-of-three and start on the road.
Leading Fort Wayne tonight was Tony Mitchell with 21 points and seven assists, and Will Frisby with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Reno's Trent Lockett had 20 points.
For the second straight game, the Bighorns played without their starting point guard – and arguably best player – Sundiata Gaines, who has an undisclosed injury. Filling the hole were Walker Russell Jr., the longtime Mad Ants guard, and Tajuan Porter, and they helped the Big Horns to a seven-point lead at 27-20 with an 8-1 run that ended 13 seconds into the second quarter.
The Mad Ants quickly strung together a series of great plays to go up 32-31 with 8:10 remaining in the second quarter. There was a no-look pass from Mitchell to Tim Ohlbrecht in the paint for a basket; a steal that led to a Ron Howard fastbreak and a layup; and a series of crisp passes that gave Sadiel Rojas a 3-pointer.
Chris Porter's rebound of a Mitchell 3-pointer, led to a basket and a free throw, for a 37-31 lead with 7 minutes left. And another Rojas 3-pointer kept the lead at six, 43-37, with 2:34 left.
A long cross-court pass from Howard to Trey McKinney-Jones led to an easy layup and a 61-53 lead with 7:23 remaining in the third quarter.
The Bighorns got back within one point, but McKinney-Jones dribbled past Ra-Shad James and hit a baseline jumper as time in expired in the third quarter for a 71-68 lead.
After knocking down his defender, Mitchell sent a pass inside to Frisby for a dunk and, seconds later, Mitchell went end-to-end for a basket, a foul and an 83-76 lead with 9:12 left in the fourth quarter. Immediately following that, Reno's Mo Charlo threw an elbow at Rojas and received a technical foul for physically taunting, though it took the referees about five minutes and a video replay to determine if Charlo should be ejected.
After a dunk for a 98-82 lead with 4:41 remaining, Mitchell was ejected because he got his second technical foul for kicking a player under the basket. Mitchell was 7 of 19 for 21 points. In the series, he was 14 of 43 for 38 points.
In Friday's 97-96 series-opening victory in Nevada, Matt Bouldin led the Mad Ants with 20 points and Ohlbrecht had the winning basket with five seconds left.
Prior to this season, their seventh, the Mad Ants had been to the playoffs only once and got swept last year by Santa Cruz.
In the regular season, Fort Wayne was 34-16 and chose to play 27-23 Reno.