Express Electrifying Against Lightning

By Ian Shalapata

(WINDSOR, ON) – A structural engineer is being sought after the Windsor Express and over 2,300 boisterous fans raised the roof last night at The Station. In the midst of a run for the playoffs, the Express were facing their Ontario rivals, the first place London Lightning, and the out-of-towners brought their A-game. The evening saw everything from personal rivalries to strategic coaching, from a come-back victory to overtime excitement. In the end, Windsor eked out a 1 point win, besting London 108-107.

The first two quarters witnessed a see-saw battle with the lead never exceeding a couple of points until Windsor found themselves down by seven at the half, 45-38. In the third quarter, Head Coach Bill Jones realized that something had to change when London pulled ahead by as much as 12 points. Windsor has had a strong bench all season with different individuals stepping up as needed. This time Stefan Bonneau and Eddie Smith took up the challenge and delivered in a big way.

The 5’ 10” point guard, Bonneau, took command of the offense and dictated the play for Windsor. Contradictory to London’s frantic play, Stefan slowed things down and wouldn’t be forced to change the game plan. He contributed 22 points on the night and went 10-11 from the line. With 3.3 seconds remaining in regulation time, Bonneau drew a foul and he calmly drained the two free throws to put Windsor ahead by a point. He also had 8 assists and 6 defensive rebounds. One of the assists was a late-game alley-oop to Kevin Loiselle that had the fans on their feet.

Former Lightning, Eddie Smith, was pumped to play against his old team. He led all scorers with 27 points, and won his on-going feud with his #23 counterpart Tim Ellis. The two could be seen throughout the game battling each other away from the ball.

While the referees allowed the sparing to go on, there were two controversial calls late in the 4th quarter that set the stage for overtime. A deflected ball was retrieved by Windsor in the backcourt and the team was called for “over and back”. While an offensive player cannot return to the defensive zone after crossing mid-court, they can if the ball has been pushed over by the opposing team. The call against the Express turned the ball over to London and, during a stoppage in play, Coach Jones could be seen explaining the rules to the ref.

The second controversial call put London’s Jermaine Blackburn at the foul line with 1.3 seconds left to play. Blackburn made the first basket to tie the game at 92, but missed the second attempt, forcing a 5 minute overtime period. President and CEO of the Express, Dartis Willis, was seen on his cell phone after the call was made. He wouldn’t have been unjustified had he been calling the league president.

With the clock running down in overtime, Windsor had built a six point lead when Morgan Lewis stepped to the line for London. His throws closed the gap to four points with less than a minute to play. The Express were able to extend play in the London zone when AJ Johnson grabbed an offensive rebound and kicked it out to Bonneau at the top of the key, and resetting the shot clock. Bonneau dished to Loiselle who was fouled while making the shot. With Windsor in font 108-104 with 2.1 seconds it was all but over. London then made a buzzer beating trey, but it was too little too late.

The win was the fifth in a row for the Express, matching their previous winning streak. It has placed the team in third place over all, two games over .500 (20-18), and two games up on Moncton who have already completed their schedule. Windsor’s final two games of the season are next Friday and Saturday night when they host Saint John and Oshawa respectively.

Chris Commons lays the ball up under the watchful eyes of Jermaine Blackburn (15) and Tim Ellis. Commons scored 26 points on the night and went 6 for 8 from the foul line to help lead Windsor to a 108-107 victory over London. Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Chris Commons lays the ball up under the watchful eyes of Jermaine Blackburn (15) and Tim Ellis. Commons scored 26 points on the night and went 6 for 8 from the foul line to help lead Windsor to a 108-107 victory over London. Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Darren Duncan contorts himself to get the shot away against Marvin Phillips. Duncan had 5 points and 8 asists in 23 minutes against London. Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Darren Duncan contorts himself to get the shot away against Marvin Phillips. Duncan had 5 points and 8 asists in 23 minutes against London. Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Antwi Atuahene found Windsor's DeAndre Thomas was an immovable force in the paint. Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Antwi Atuahene found Windsor’s DeAndre Thomas was an immovable force in the paint. Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Eddie Smith looks like a fullback as he dekes past Morgan Lewis in the key. Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Eddie Smith looks like a fullback as he dekes past Morgan Lewis in the key. Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Windsor coach Bill Jones discusses the finer points of basketball. Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Windsor coach Bill Jones discusses the finer points of basketball. Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Rodney Buford couldn't stop Eddie Smith from draining 27 points. Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Rodney Buford couldn’t stop Eddie Smith from draining 27 points. Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Kevin Loiselle is the recepient on the tail end of a Stefan Bonneau alley-oop. This display was a winner and had the fans on their feet in appreciation. Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Kevin Loiselle is the recepient on the tail end of a Stefan Bonneau alley-oop. This display was a winner and had the fans on their feet in appreciation. Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Chris Commons pushes off of Tim Ellis before spinning to the baseline and laying up two more points. Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Chris Commons pushes off of Tim Ellis before spinning to the baseline and laying up two more points. Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Kevin Loiselle helps Stefan Bonneau to his feet after he drove the basket and drew a foul. Bonneau went on to drain two free throws to put Windsor ahead by 1 with 2.3 seconds in regulation time. Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Kevin Loiselle helps Stefan Bonneau to his feet after he drove the basket and drew a foul. Bonneau went on to drain two free throws to put Windsor ahead by 1 with 2.3 seconds in regulation time. Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Windsor's Stefan Bonneau goes high over DeAnthony Bowden who arrives too late to prevent a trey. Bonneau went 2 for 5 from outside on the night. Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Windsor’s Stefan Bonneau goes high over DeAnthony Bowden who arrives too late to prevent a trey. Bonneau went 2 for 5 from outside on the night. Photo by Ian Shalapata.

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About the Author

Ian Shalapata
Ian writes for and provides imagery to Square Media Group as well as accepting freelance photographic assignments. In addition, he has contributed to media organizations, sporting groups, and individuals across North America including the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, Chatham-Kent Sports Network, the Golf Association of Michigan, League 1 Ontario, as well as numerous colleges and universities in Canada and the United States. Email Ian Shalapata
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