Written by: Zach Dadson
The Niagara River Lions were fueled by a strong defensive performance Friday night beating the Windsor Express 104-81 on the road.
The win gives the River Lions their first winning streak of the season (and in team history) and puts them at 3-0 against the Central Division since Grâce Lokole took over as Head Coach. Perhaps even more impressively, the River Lions have beaten each of the division’s three other teams on this divisional win streak. Niagara had struggled early in the season and this recent stretch of strong play gives the team a lot to feel good about as they head down the stretch and into the playoffs.
The River Lions struggled to get it going in the early minutes of the game and found themselves down 14-6 after 6 minutes. Niagara dug deep, battled and finished the quarter on a 6-0 run to bring the game to within two at 22-20.
The River Lions started the second quarter as hot as they finished the first. They tied the game 22-22 on a bucket by Mike Allison who finished the night with a double double (11 points, 10 rebounds) in 28 minutes of play.
After the lead exchanged hands several times, Allison put Niagara up 28-27 midway through the second quarter and the River Lions wouldn’t trail the rest of the way. The River Lions went into halftime leading the Express 50-41.
After taking a double digit lead in the third quarter the River Lions kept the game out of reach the rest of the way and ultimately won by their largest margin of victory this season (Niagara won Friday night by 23 points).
The River Lions racked up 31 assists Friday night and all 12 players scored including 6 players who scored in double digits.
Tramar Sutherland led the way for Niagara scoring 17 points and collecting 7 rebounds. Sammy Zeglinski joined Mike Allison in the double double club with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 3 assists.
Logan Stutz nearly got his second double double in as many games Friday night with 16 points and 9 rebounds. B.J. Monteiro, the newest River Lion, looked a lot more comfortable on the floor in his second game with his new teammates scoring 12 points, collecting 5 rebounds and dishing out 7 assists.
Chris Johnson was the sixth River Lion with double digit points Friday night with 10 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists.
In addition to their strong offensive effort, the River Lions did an excellent job on defense against the Windsor Express. Niagara held Windsor to only 81 points, a huge accomplishment for the River Lions who are allowing opponents to score an average of 112 points per game.
The win improves the River Lions’ record to 3-2 since the team made a coaching change and puts them firmly in third place in the Central Division ahead of the Orangeville A’s (5-15) who sit 2.5 games back of Niagara.
The Niagara River Lions will get the chance to extend their winning streak to three games when they take on the Windsor Express at home on Wednesday, March 9 for the organization’s Shine the Light on Woman Abuse night.