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St. CATHARINES, ON - The first quarter was closely contested and with the offense slow to start, rebounding was the differentiating factor between both sides. Neither team shot the ball particularly well from long range, despite putting up numerous attempts, so the ability to control the glass and get 2nd chance points proved crucial when trying to take control of the game. The River Lions took control of those focal points early on their way to a 7-0 run and although Orangeville did respond to take a 3-point lead, the A’s turnovers (7) put them right back in the rearview to end the quarter. They also had some trouble containing Richard Amardi (7p) from the outset.
In the 2nd quarter the first few minutes continued to spell bad luck for Orangeville. The long-range shots still couldn’t find the bottom of the basket and on the defensive end Scoop Jardine (8p) picked up where Amardi left off. The Niagara lead grew from 23-19 to as much as 31-21 before Orangeville had any kind of response. The offense looked more cohesive when they looked for shots inside in the paint but since they lacked the size against most Niagara defenders, they often had their shots sent back or altered. That didn’t dissuade them from continuing to attack the paint and they managed to cut the deficit to as little as one point in the final 2 minutes with some great play by Jake Anderson (10p) who took charge of the offense. With the offense finally gaining traction and the rebounding battle going in their favour, the A’s were poised to snatch the lead before the end of the half but unfortunately for Orangeville, the late run of offense fell short and Niagara’s Tyler Murray (8p, 2-3 3PT FG) capped off the frame with a long-range bomb giving the River Lions a 47-43 lead.
Corbin Thomas had a huge night with 26 points, 11 rebounds
After the break the A’s looked to be falling apart and their ball security was really to blame. Their many turnovers often put them out of position to properly defend in transition and they found themselves facing the same 10-point deficit they fought back from before halftime. At that point, Corbin Thomas (23p, 9-15FG) stepped up and provided the consistent offensive option they were missing all game. Turnovers were still an issue but a sense of consistency was crucial to Orangeville’s run and they closed the gap to as little as 3 points to end the 3rd. Although the battle on the glass was now firmly on the A’s side, their struggles from the free throw (28%, 6-21 FT) line was the differentiator and held them back from getting much closer.
The final quarter began with the A’s trailing 68-71 but momentum seemed to be swinging to their side. Sadly, the first minute quickly proved that this wasn’t the case and Niagara’s Chris Commons (17p, 6-8 FG) gave the River Lions their biggest lead of the game (11) after a trip to the line. The deficit only grew larger and Orangeville reverted to looking for outside shots, despite struggling from long range for most of the game. On the other end Niagara was the polar opposite and their sharpshooters couldn’t miss if they tried. Marcus Lewis (21p, 5-6 3PT FG) & Tyler Murray (3-5 3PT FG) torched the A’s defense down the stretch which kept them at bay despite Corbin Thomas’ best offensive efforts. Although they played their most prolific offensive quarter in the 4th, the A's also gave up a whopping 42 points and ended the game with a 104-113 loss.
BY THE NUMBERS:
Ball security: Orangeville turned the ball over 22 times which was converted to 32 points for Niagara
2nd Unit: Unable to contain the River Lion's 2nd unit, the A’s bench was out scored by 9
4th quarter defense: A’s gave up 42 points in the final quarter of play
FRIDAY, MARCH 17TH - ORANGEVILLE A'S VS. KW TITANS - 7:00 PM EST
SATURDAY, MARCH 18TH - ORANGEVILLE A'S VS. LONDON LIGHTNING - 3:00 PM EST