By Ian Shalapata
(WINDSOR, ON) – The Windsor Express had a heavy schedule over the weekend, playing three games in four nights. Except for dropping a home game to London, the Express emerged with a 2-1 record and extended their 2nd place lead over the Niagara River Lions.
Windsor Started the 3-game stretch by hosting the Lions at home. A close game for much of the 1st quarter, the Express pulled away in the 2nd and wouldn’t let Niagara get close enough to pounce, en route to a 109-102 victory.
The Express had six players shoot in the double digits led by Kirk Williams Jr with a team-high 19 points. Williams was joined by Tony Bennett with 17 while captain Chris Commons dropped 14. Newcomer Sherron Collins, Brandon Robinson, and Shaquille Keith added 13, 12, and 11, respectively.
The Lions closed the 1st quarter holding a 4-point lead over Windsor. The Express erased the deficit by putting up 30 in the 2nd 12 minutes and led Niagara 50-45 at half time. Windsor added 3 points to their margin in the 3rd and held on to win despite the Lions scoring 30 in the 4th.
The Express were dealt a blow when forward James Hughes left the game with a separated shoulder after a collision under the Niagara basket. Hughes did not dress for the next two games and is listed as day to day.
With a day off, Windsor got ready to welcome the NBLC Central leading London Lightning to town on Saturday. The Lightning were out-classed at every turn by the Express, except in the 3rd frame, which was enough to carry through to a 113-110 win for London.
The Express displayed a balanced attack in the 1st as they ran to a 30-27 lead at the horn. Though London put up 30 in the 2nd frame, Windsor bettered them with 32 and took a 62-57 lead into the dressing room.
Windsor imploded in the 3rd quarter as London dominate the score sheet. A technical foul by Collins 18 seconds into the quarter set the stage for 33 London points with the Express responding with just 18. Despite a small rally by Windsor in the 4th, the Lightning were able to hold on and extend their lead over the Express to 3 games in the Central Division.
Commons put on a clinic at both ends of the court. He led the Express with a game-high 25 points and a massive 7 blocks to dominate the back court.
For the second straight night, the University of Bridgeport alum, Williams, was a force at the bucket as he knocked down 23 points and completed the double-double with 11 boards.
Robinson had 17 points and 6 assists while Keith connected for 13. Bennett offered 10 points and 8 assists from the point guard position.
Windsor put the loss behind them as they competed the Central Division circuit on the road in Orangeville, Sunday afternoon. Windsor started sluggish defensively, but settled down to limit the A’s chances and winning 102-95.
The home side edged out the Express 27-26 in the opening quarter but couldn’t continue the pace into the next chapter. Windsor regained their composure and tied the game at 49 going into the half.
Windsor then took control of the boards, out rebounding the A’s 57-43, including 23 in the O-Zone. They ran to a 28-22 quarter win and 8-point lead heading toward the final stanza. Another 25 points kept Orangeville at bay and gave the Express their 18th win on the season.
Williams again led Windsor with a game-high 22 points. For his effort over the three games the NBLC named Williams the Player of the Week.
The rest of the scoring was taken care of by the usual crowd. Collins dropped 19 points and 6 assists. Commons had one of Windsor’s two double-doubles with 17 points and 11 boards while Robinson had the other, contributing 16 and 10.
The Express get a one week breather before heading to St Catharines for a rematch with Niagara on April 2. They remain on the road for an April 8 game against Orangeville before return to host the Moncton Miracles on April 15. That will the first of two games in two night vs East Coast clubs as the Halifax Hurricanes come to Windsor for a scheduled April 16 date.