Bennett Directs Game 2 Win

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The Windsor Express (forecourt) and the Niagara River Lions line up for the playing of O’Canada prior to Game 2 of the NBLC Playoffs in Windsor on 4 May 2016.
Photo by John Skinner.

Header-image-Shalapata-columnBy Ian Shalapata

(WINDSOR, ON) – The Niagara River Lions won 3 of the 4 quarters last night, but it was the one they lost that spelt their doom. With the 100-97 loss, Niagara has now fallen into a 0-2 deficit to the Windsor Express in Round 1 of the NBL Canada playoffs.

The Lions held a 2-point lead after the first 12 minutes and expanded the margin to 3 points by the half. In the 3rd, Windsor turned on the heat and leapt ahead of Niagara, taking a 74-70 lead into the final frame.

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Kirk Williams Jr goes high for the one-handed slam against Niagara. The Windsor forward registered a double-double with 22 points and 13 rebounds.
Photo by John Skinner.

The Express began the 4th on an 11-3 run before the Lions woke up to the carnage. The teams started to exchange scoring with the Lions enjoying a 17-9 advantage. With 2:26 left to play, Kirk Williams Jr dropped two from the paint, then Shaquille Keith knocked down a trey to keep the Lions at bay.

An entire 1:40 would pass without any scoring plays and Niagara was running out of time to close the gap. BJ Monteiro got the visitors within three of Windsor, but Keith put up two more to provide the margin of victory despite Samuel Muldrow hitting for two at the buzzer.

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Mike Allison (13) tries to bother Windsor captain Chris Commons during playoff action at the WFCU Arena. The Express held off Niagara 100-97 to go up 2-0 in the best-of-five series.
Photo by John Skinner.

Niagara has served notice to the Express that they won’t go down without a fight. Windsor has a chance to put the Lions away in a sweep tomorrow evening in St Catharines, but it won’t be an easy task as suggested by Game 1’s 15-point spread.

Brandon Robinson once again hit for a game-high 24 points for Windsor. Robinson added 2 blocks and 3 assists in his starring role.

For a double-double, Williams added 22 points, 13 boards, and 5 steals as he dominated both ends of the court.

Being fouled all night, Tony Bennett went to the penalty stripe for 11 shots, connecting on nine of them. As a result, the Windsor point guard dropped 17 on the night and added 10 assists to record the double-double.

For his part, Keith finished with 16 points including the timely 5 points in the stretch.

In a defensive role, Maurice Bolden got above the rim for 5 big blocks which may have proven to be the difference between winning or losing on the night.

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Up for grabs. Kirk Williams Jr (centre) and Logan Stutz compete for a rebound as Sammy Zeglinski (3) and Travis Releford (24) look on.
Photo by John Skinner.

If necessary, due to a Niagara win on Friday, the teams are scheduled to meet again Saturday with a return trip to Windsor on May 10, if the worst happens.

In other series around the league, London leads Orangeville 2-0, Saint John has a 1-0 advantage over Moncton in the Battle for New Brunswick, and Halifax and the Island Storm tip off in the opening game tonight.

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Maurice Bolden (L) and Shaquille Keith odn’t give Niagara’s Adam Blazek any room in which to operate.
Photo by John Skinner.

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Going 9-for-11 from the line, Tony Bennett helped lead Windsor to a 100-97 victory over Niagara. Here Shaquille Keith (L) and Maurice Bolden beat the box-out by Niagara’s Logan Stutz and Travis Releford (24) after Bennett connectsed from the penalty stripe.
Photo by John Skinner.

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Brandon Robinson (R) hollers are Kirk Williams Jr completes a two-handed slam against Niagara on 4 May 2016.
Photo by John Skinner.

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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