By Ian Shalapata
(WINDSOR, ON) – In front of 2,500 rabid fans, the Windsor Express clinched the best-of-seven NBL Central Division Final with a 110-95 victory against the defending league champs, the London Lightning. Windsor overcame an early game deficit to eliminate the two-time champions in the final and deciding game of the series, last night at the WFCU Centre.
Windsor shot 56% from the floor, compared to London’s 43%, in the first half and took a 49-45 lead into the dressing room. The Express were bolstered by hitting on 4 of 7 from outside the arc.
The home side extended their lead 2 points by the end of the 3rd frame. Throughout the game, the teams traded the lead 11 times until Windsor walked away in the final leg, outscoring London 36-27.
Darren Duncan led the Express with a double-double, dropping 26 points and adding 11 assists. DeAndre Thomas, who was involved in an altercation with the London coach before the game, responded on the court, also hitting for 26 point, blocking two shots, and pulling down eight boards.
The game was partially overshadowed when a London reporter, Morris Dalla Costa, was escorted from the building prior to the start of the game. The Express took exception to Dalla Costa’s history of taking personal shots in his Free Press column.
For anyone to argue that the banishment was an attack on freedom of the press, it would clearly show a lack of objective judgement. In Dalla Costa’s case, it is more a matter of being factually correct, even when it comes to an opinion column.
When NBL Commissioner Paul Riley – a lawyer who practiced media law, a current journalism ethics instructor, and a former CBC news and sports anchor – chose not to intervene in the ejection, he was doing so from a knowledgeable and enlightened standpoint. As much as the three year-old league needs the media, it doesn’t not need quasi-journalists using the league as a platform for personal attacks.
The Express will face the Island Storm in the NBL Finals with game 1 scheduled for this Friday at the WFCU Arena. Tipoff will be at 7:00 pm. Game 2 is slated for Sunday afternoon.