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Written by: Zach Dadson
The Niagara River Lions fell in their bid to make it three wins in a row on Wednesday March 15 dropping their road game against the Windsor Express 93-89.
Despite being delayed in their arrival due to snow lingering from Tuesday’s storm across southern Ontario, the River Lions started the game hot hitting two three pointers to give the team a 6-0 lead in the game’s first minutes.
The tides turned quickly however as the Express went on a 13-3 run giving the home team a 13-6 lead.
Newest River Lion Nick Okorie put an end to the Windsor rally knocking down a corner three that tied the game 16-16.
The two teams traded leads the rest of the first quarter and Windsor went into the break leading the River Lions 30-26.
While Niagara was able to limit the Express to just 19 points in the second quarter Windsor went into halftime leading 49-48 after Juan Patillo hit a midrange jumper in the final seconds of the quarter.
The River Lions had 6 steals at halftime and had forced the Windsor Express to turn the ball over 11 times. Their defensive efforts weren’t able to slow down Windsor’s hot shooting however as the Express went 20-30 FG in the half.
Scoop Jardine made a layup early in the third quarter to give the River Lions the lead and neither team was able to create room for itself on the scoreboard as Niagara outscored Windsor just 18-17 in the third.
Windsor led 69-65 after three quarters.
Windsor got off to a quick start in the fourth quarter starting the frame on a 6-1 run. The good start gave the Express a 9-point lead.
The lead became double digits near the 8-minute mark in the fourth quarter as DeAndre Thomas managed to score off a good pass on a play that had clearly broken down for the Express.
While they kept pace, the River Lions weren’t able to make up ground in the next 5 minutes. Niagara trailed 87-77 with 2:55 left in the game.
The River Lions used the fast pace offense that had given them easy baskets all night against the Express to put them right back in contention as the team went on a 6-0 to make it a one possession game, 87-84.
A made three-pointer by the Express extended the lead back to 6 points.
Kirk Williams Jr scored off a fast break and was able to convert the free throw after being fouled on the play. River Lions trailed 90-87.
Marcus Lewis found Kirk Williams Jr in the paint for a quick two points to make it a one-point game with 38.4 seconds left.
Unfortunately for the River Lions that was as close as this one would get as Wally Ellenson made both his free throws following this play and, despite having two chances to tie the game from beyond the arc, Niagara came out on the losing end of a 93-89 game.
Nick Okorie led his team in scoring in just his second game in a River Lions uniform finishing the night with 20 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists.
Kirk Willams Jr, in another solid game against his former team, put up 14 points and 4 rebounds.
Scoop Jardine had 13 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds for the River Lions while Carl Hall finished the night with 12 points and 3 rebounds.
Juan Patillio led the Express with 26 points, while Windsor’s newest addition Tony Bennett put up 18 points and 4 assists.
Niagara returns to the Meridian Centre on Thursday March 23 when they take on the KW Titans on Greek Night in the Lions’ Den.