Did you know that there is an American Basketball Association (ABA) team in Hendricks County, Indiana? Did you know that the Indiana Lyons are on the doorstep of their fourth season based out of Danville? And did you know that Lyons games are a great source of inexpensive family-friendly entertainment from November through March? If you haven't been to a Lyons game, you're in for a treat.
The Lyons play their home games at Bosstick Gym -- affectionately known as the Lyons Den -- located at 49 N. Wayne St. in Danville, Indiana. They joined the ABA in 2018, and I attended their first regular season game simply out of curiosity and because I love sports. I had never been to an ABA basketball game before, so I had no idea what to expect.
Two hours of fast-paced high-scoring action later, the Indiana Lyons were celebrating a 104-97 win in their inaugural game, and I was hooked. I bought season tickets, and I haven't missed a game in the Lyons Den since. Now I even work for the Lyons. You could say they made a lasting impression on me!
I didn't know what to expect from my first Indiana Lyons game, so allow me to shed some light and remove any apprehension that anyone might feel about enjoying a basketball game in Danville. I have a special offer for you at the end of this post, too, for the Lyons' 2021-22 regular season opener.
Here's what you can expect at an Indiana Lyons game:
Red, White & Blue Ball
The modern-day ABA is a reincarnation of the original ABA that brought basketball fans the Indiana Pacers, among other teams. The original ABA used a red, white and blue basketball. Today's ABA does the same thing.
Easy on the Wallet
General admission tickets are just $10 per person. If you're a child, a senior citizen, or a military veteran, your tickets are just $5 each. You can purchase tickets in advance online, or you can buy them at the game. Major credit cards are accepted.
There is plenty of free parking all around Bosstick Gym, including two parking lots right across the street.
The Lyons offer hot dogs, popcorn, chips, cold water and soda pop, candy and more at the concessions stand, and the prices are very reasonable.
My favorite special that they run is a hot dog, a bag of chips and a can of soda pop for $4.00. So I can park, get into the game and fill my belly with a pre-game snack, and I haven't even spent $20 yet.
Concerned about bringing the kids to a Lyons game? Don't be. The entire organization is very family friendly. Home games are played on Saturdays and Sundays, and the game time is always 5 p.m. on Saturdays and 4 p.m. on Sundays so that kids can enjoy a basketball game but still get home and into bed at a decent hour.
Before each game, the Lyons bring out a bunch of basketballs and let kids play on the court and shoot baskets. At halftime, the team frequently has games and contests for the kids on the court that double as entertainment for the adults in the stands.
As the Lyons players warm up, kids line up courtside for hand-slaps -- and the players are happy to oblige.
After games, fans (referred to by the organization as the Lyons Pride) pour onto the court, and the players stay and chat with them, shake their hands, sign autographs, thank them for coming to the game, answer questions, pose for photos and take a big group photo at center court with anyone who wants to join them.
Many players are active on social media and are more than happy to connect and interact with fans. The players invest themselves in fans' lives outside of basketball, just as they hope the fans invest in them as both ball players and human beings.
It's a really fun, rewarding relationship between the players and fans.
In case you're entering the Lyons Den for the first time, here are some of the more popular players on the team so that you can cheer them on by name:
- #0 - Kenny Davis - Kenny is starting his second season with the Lyons, and I don't know what he did in the off-season, but holy smokes! He has been absolutely on fire during this preseason! His development from last season to this season has been amazing, and I'm really excited to watch him play this year.
- #1 - Mike Pugh - Coming to us from Mississippi, Mike has athleticism oozing from every pore of his body, and he is routinely among the highest-scoring players on the team. I imagine him as the Porsche of the team. He is smooth and ridiculously fast. It came as no surprise, then, when he was named to the ABA All-Star team in 2020-21.
- #4 - Dillon Ware - A graduate of Danville Community High School here in Hendricks County, Dillon is a very popular player, in part for being local, but even more so for being a dominating force on the court. He is a rebound-grabbing, shot-draining, slam-dunking force to be reckoned with.
- #7 - Alex "A.B." Brown - There's no doubt who A.B. is. He's the only 7'0" guy on the court most games. He is known for his authoritative slam dunks and his shot blocks that are so ferocious, it's a wonder the ball doesn't explode. Off the court, the Illinois native is one of the funniest guys on the team.
- #8 - Kendric Lee - Brownsburg High School alum Kendric Lee is easy to spot during warmups because of his long hair. He's even easier to spot during games because he's all over the place, terrorizing opponents and routinely leading the team in steals and assists. He can score with the best of them, too. In 2020-21, Kendric was named to the ABA All-Star team.
- #24 - Preston Case - You'll usually find Preston under the rim, battling in the trenches for rebounds and shots from inside the paint. But just as opponents think they've figured him out, he'll drop back behind the three-point line and bury a trey like it's nothing. A quiet but friendly guy, Preston is a silent assassin on the court.
The ABA -- comprised of nearly 200 teams across North America and Japan -- has some unique rules that might cause basketball purists to squirm, but they make for a fast-paced and high-scoring game that's full of excitement and action.
The most noticeable thing that's unique to the ABA is what they call the 3D Light. It's a rotating, flashing red light at the scoring table that looks like the kind of thing that an undercover police officer would slap onto the roof of his car in the 1970s when pursuing bad guys.
A few things can trigger the 3D Light during a game, but most often, it's when a team loses possession of the ball in the backcourt. When that happens, the light starts flashing, and a point is added to any field goal that's made while the light is on. So a typical two-point shot is now worth three points. A three-pointer is worth four points. Sink a shot from half-court while the 3D Light is on, and it's five points.
The 3D Light stays on until the team scores, attempts a free throw, or loses possession of the ball.
Teams must move the ball across half-court in 7 seconds, rather than the 8 seconds that are allowed in the NBA. Half-court violations result in a change of possession and a flashing 3D Light.
Players do not foul out. However, after a player commits his sixth foul, every foul thereafter is considered a technical foul, resulting in the opposing team shooting a free throw and gaining possession of the ball.
You might be wondering, are the Indiana Lyons any good? Yes. Yes, they are.
In their first season, the 2018-19 Lyons won their inaugural game and won 10 straight games to close out the regular season. With their winning record, they qualified for the ABA Playoffs.
In 2019-20, the team again posted a winning record and again qualified for the ABA Playoffs. However, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the ABA to cancel the post-season, leaving a foul what-could-have-been taste in the Lyons' mouths.
Last season, the Lyons romped through the regular season with an 18-5 record, including winning their last five games in a row. They registered their first-ever franchise playoff win on their way to winning the ABA North Central Region, completing the campaign by playing in the ABA's Final Eight Tournament in St. Louis.
So far, the 2021-22 Lyons have trounced two ABA opponents in the preseason and will play their third and final tune-up game this Saturday, Oct. 23 at 5 p.m. in the Lyons Den against the Chicago Rebels. The regular season opener is Saturday, Nov. 6 at 5 p.m. in Danville against the rival Ohio Bruins.
Are you interested in attending the regular season opener? The Ohio Bruins and Indiana Lyons have played fiercely competitive, closely-contested games against each other in the past, and I expect nothing less on Nov. 6.
So for reading this post, sharing it with everyone you know, and developing an interest in the Indiana Lyons, I'd like to offer everyone a 50% discount promo code for tickets to the Nov. 6 game against the Bruins.
To purchase your tickets at half-price, click here. Then enter the promo code INHENDRICKS. Purchase your tickets online, and then we'll see you in the Lyons Den on Nov. 6 and throughout the rest of the season!
- Home games at Bosstick Gym, 49 N. Wayne Street, Danville, Ind.
- All home games on Saturdays at 5 p.m. or Sundays at 4 p.m.
- Tickets: $10/person; $5 for kids, senior citizens and military members
- Purchase tickets online
- Tickets can also be purchased at the door; major credit cards accepted