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Ants march a well-trod path

Gen. “Mad Anthony” Wayne, whose statue still guards Freimann Square against British invasion, definitely was not a roundballer. Neither was he in fact perpetually angry, nor insane. The nickname was in recognition of his approach to military engagements in the Revolutionary War.

The Mad Ants’ name honors his memory. And it doesn’t take a historian or an entomologist to see that the Ants have something of the same feisty spirit that the founder of Fort Wayne was known for.

In their seventh season, the Ants will march into battle for the NBA Development League championship in Santa Cruz, Calif., at 9:30 tonight, against that city’s Warriors. The second game of the best-of-three series will be at Memorial Coliseum on Saturday, and a third game, if necessary, will be here Monday night.

The Ants, who have never won a championship, continue a long tradition of professional basketball in Fort Wayne: the Caseys, the General Electrics, the Zollner Pistons, the Hoosiers and the Fury. The Zollner Pistons were the only city team to win pro championships, in the old National Basketball League in 1944 and 1945.

The NCAA tournament’s March Madness largely passed Indiana by this year. That makes April Madness all the sweeter in Fort Wayne. Let’s hope the Ants make it to the top of the hill.