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Mad Ants ready for sole exhibition game

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For more on the Mad Ants, follow Reggie Hayes via Twitter at www.twitter.com/reggiehayes1

Fort Wayne travels to Canton for a Saturday afternoon game

Saturday, November 17, 2012 - 12:01 am

Mad Ants coach Duane Ticknor will get his first look at his team in a game context Saturday afternoon.

The Ants will play an exhibition game at the Canton Charge at 3 p.m. Saturday. Fort Wayne opens its regular season next Friday against Erie at Memorial Coliseum.

“I've been real happy with the effort level of the guys, and that's usually something you hear in camp,” Ticknor said. “We've been emphasizing up-tempo play and getting our big guys to run the floor, and I've been happy with that.”

The Ants return only four players who spent some time with the team a year ago: Ron Howard, Walker Russell Jr., Sadiel Rojas and Sean Sonderleiter. A new group of players, led by No.1 draft pick JaJuan Johnson, hope to be able to lead the team to its first playoff berth this season.

“I like the way the team's coming together,” Ticknor said. “We've tried to build that camaraderie, mixing and matching the young guys with the older guys in drills. Instead of getting upset with (the younger players) for not understanding what we're doing, we're asking those older guys to be more mentoring.”