Hamilton Honey Badgers vs. Niagara River Lions
A rematch of last season’s semi-finals, the Niagara River Lions got revenge for their close loss with a 97-85 win against the Hamilton Honey Badgers at the Meridian Centre in St. Catherines.
The scoring started immediately, with Niagara’s new addition Daniel Mullings driving right to the basket against Hamilton’s Briante Weber. Weber comes into the league with the most NBA experience with 45 games under his belt.
For the first quarter and a half, the River Lions held a slim lead over the Honey Badgers, until the three point shooting started to click. Former Canisius and Missouri player, Kassius Robertson, hit two threes in the second quarter while Ryan Anderson, a veteran of the professional Canadian basketball scene also hit one.
At the end of the first half Niagara had a 14 point edge.
The Honey Badgers would cut the lead to 12 with a three from former Ryerson standout Jean-Victor Mukama three minutes in but that’s the closest they would get in the quarter. The River Lion’s balanced attack allowed for eight different players to score.
Going into the fourth Niagara was up 18 points.
When it got to Elam Ending time, the Honey Badgers had made strides to make it a closer score but were still down 14. Free throws from Trae Bell-Haynes pushed it to 16. Niagara and Hamilton traded buckets until Owen Klassen and Alex Johnson knocked down back-to-back threes to bring the deficit to single digits.
Unfortunately for Hamilton, Robertson hit a jumper, Bell-Haynes hit a free throw and Mullings made the game-winning layup. The Player of the Game was given to Daniel Mullings for putting up 22 points and nine rebounds.
The Niagara River Lions will play again tomorrow against the defending champions Saskatchewan Rattlers at 1 p.m. while the Hamilton Honey Badgers play the Guelph Nighthawks on July 27. at 5 p.m.
Ottawa BlackJacks vs. Guelph Nighthawks
The Ottawa BlackJack’s first game in franchise history ended in disappointment, losing to the Guelph Nighthawks 89-71.
The inaugural game for the league’s seventh franchise started off good as OttawaU alumni Johnny Berhanemeskel hit the first shot in their history.
This game would mimic the game earlier in the day, with Ottawa and Guelph trading buckets but no team gaining any momentum.
It wouldn’t be until halfway through the third quarter when the Nighthawks made it more than a one possession game, with Jamal Reynolds driving to the cup on back to back layups. At that point the Nighthawks had a six point edge, 53-47.
Ottawa took the lead briefly with two minutes left, but a Reynolds jump shot and free throws from Bucknell guard Kimbal Mackenzie gave Guelph the lead again to close out the quarter.
The Nighthawks never looked back, they kept pushing the pace and extending the lead in the fourth quarter. The Player of the Game was given to former Old Dominion center Jonathan Arledge for a 14 point and 10 rebound double-double.
The Guelph Nighthawks will take on the Hamilton Honey Badgers on July 27. at 5 p.m while the Ottawa BlackJacks will look for their first win against the Edmonton Stingers right after at 7:30 p.m.