All Hail Caesars

All-time Windsor Express leading scorer Chris Commons deservedly wore a contented smile at the end of a hard-fought game against the London Lightening. The Express took over sole possession of first place with the win at Caesars Windsor on 15 January 2014. Photo by Ian Shalapata.


By Ian Shalapata

(WINDSOR, ON) – The game was downtown and 2,800 fans showed up. For the first time ever, a pro basketball game was held in a Canadian casino as Caesars Windsor hosted the match-up between the hometown Express and the visiting London Lightning last night.

NBL Commissioner Paul Riley commented on the apparent preference of fans for the casino as a basketball venue.

“I think the challenge for the Express is where they play,” Riley told local media. “If your arena is outside the core, and fans find it hard to trek to, they won’t go. If you provide the same thing downtown, the people come.”

The spectacle was the event. Never before has a pro-sporting event been held at Caesars and it was an opportunity to see and be seen. The game, with first place in the National Basketball League of Canada, was almost an afterthought.

Trailing London by a half game in the standings, Windsor opened the tilt with a basket by the team’s all-time leading scorer, Chris Commons. For the opening quarter the teams traded baskets until Windsor edged away, and led 24-17 at the buzzer. By the end of the half, Windsor had built up a 21 point lead, and all seemed to be well in hand.

London showed why they have won two NBL championships in a row, and outscored the Express in the third by a 12-point margin. And although getting to within three points in the final frame, Windsor dug down deep and prevailed by a score of 86-78.

Quinnel Brown and Stefan Bonneau led all Windsor scorers with 21 points each. Brown earned himself a double-double by adding 12 rebounds. The London police were looking for Brown and Bonneau, who also had four and five steals on the night, respectively. Brown was named the outstanding player of the game.

Darren Duncan had a strong game at point guard for Windsor. He dropped 14 points and dished off eight times for the Express. Additionally, forward Kevin Loiselle was rebounder of the night, pulling down 14 boards; 11 defensive. He also had a timely block on a late-game London fast break, which had the fans out of their seats.

With the win, Windsor moved into sole possession of first place in the NBL, a full game ahead of London and Brampton. The Express will next meet Brampton at 7:00 on Saturday, back at their regular home.

Montreal native Kevin Loiselle looks to dish the ball against London. Loiselle had 8 points and 14 rebounds to help Windsor to the win. Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Windsor’s Papa Oppong drives to the hoop for two points. Oppong saw limited minutes against London but managed to score a bucket and earn an assist. Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Reaching for the tip, Quinnel Brown was a stand-out for Windsor at Caesars. Brown scored 21 points in the winning effort and added 12 rebounds. Photo by Ian Shalapata.

London’s Garrett Williamson couldn’t keep up to Stefan Bonneau as the Windsor guard powered through the lane. London trailed Windsor from start to finish as the Express took over first place in the NBL. 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

1 Comment on "All Hail Caesars"

  1. I would think the attendance of this game should show the city council and our mayor that the WFCU arena should have been built downtown not at the east end of Windsor. The mayor and city council did not do the proper investigation before approving the WFCU arena location.

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