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ST. CATHARINES, ON - Offense was hard to come by in the 1st quarter until Orangeville's Alex Johnson (6 points) put the first points on the board 2 minutes into the frame. Once the stalemate was broken and the scoring began, it was all systems go for both sides. The A’s found success scoring from all over the floor and often got to the free throw line for extra opportunities. Just as the Orangeville offense was on a roll, so was Niagara’s, as both sides exchanged baskets on every trip down the floor. Niagara’s Chris Commons caused the most difficulty for the A’s defense with a team high of 12-points in the first quarter. With most of the A’s scoring coming from inside the paint, Stefan Nastic (8p, 5r) was the focal point of the offense but it was the team's balanced scoring that helped establish a 28-27 lead to end the quarter.
Jameson Tipping came up with a steal and hit the game winner with 2.0 seconds remaining. Tipping finished with 11 pts on 4/6 FG (3/5 3FG)
The 2nd quarter carried the same style of play as the 1st. The exchange of baskets continued as both teams raced up and down the floor; unable to build a lead larger than a mere 2 points. The constant exchange of baskets meant that the first team to string together defensive stops would make a strong case for going on a run. Even when Orangeville took a 3-point lead, the River Lions responded and scored on the very next possession. Even when foul trouble became an issue for the A’s, Niagara was unable to capitalize on being in the bonus so early in the frame. However, a late run by Niagara gave them a 47-42 advantage over the A's, matching their largest lead of the game. Corbin Thomas was the only A’s player to finish the first half with double-digit scoring (10p, 7r) and although they needed more scoring from their starters, the teams’ 10 assists on 16 shots spoke to the team effort displayed until that point.
After the halftime break the tempo began to slow down which didn’t necessarily work in Orangeville's favour. The Niagara lead grew to 10 points and the A’s seemed to rack up turnovers in the new pace of play. Without being able to get stops on the defensive end, Chris Commons (19p, 7r) & Carl Hall (15p, 5r) continued to weave their way around the court for relatively easy scores. The A’s responded at that point and answered with an 8-0 run to prevent the game from getting away from them. The run also allowed them to push the ball in transition where the A’s Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson (12p, 5r, 6a) began to make big contributions to the offense. Unfortunately, the home team responded with a run of their own and the A’s couldn't get much closer than within 2 points at the midway point of the 3rd.
The final quarter began with a 4-point deficit but the A’s were quick to get the game to 71-73 in the first few possessions. The game was heavily contested with another exchange of runs by both sides and the insertion of Jameson Tipping (11p, 3-4 3PT FG) into the lineup provided Orangeville with much needed outside scoring. Not only did his timely scoring allow them to also get inside opportunities, but also his 3rd three gave his team the lead, 85-84 in the final 5 minutes. The run continued to a 4-point lead but it was quickly tied back up by Niagara. Although those previous buckets by Tipping were huge, the most important would come in the final seconds with the score tied at 95 a piece. Diving into the passing lane and streaking up the court, he hit a crucial jump shot with 2.0 seconds remaining on the clock to give Orangeville the 97-95 comeback win over the River Lions.
BY THE NUMBERS
Great Shooting: The A’s shot an excellent 45% (36-80 FG) from the floor
Crashing the glass: Orangeville out rebounded Niagara by 12 (57 to 45)
Help off the bench: The Orangeville bench was huge; contributing 53 points in the victory
NEXT GAME: SATURDAY, MARCH 11TH, 2017 - ORANGEVILLE A'S AT KW TITANS - 7:00 PM EST
NEXT HOME GAME: SUNDAY, MARCH 12TH - ORANGEVILLE A'S VS. LONDON LIGHTNING - 3:00 PM EST