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ORANGEVILLE, ON - It was an intense start to the first quarter, full of physical play in the paint and smooth jumpers from behind the arc. Anthony Harris (12p, 2a) got involved early and drained a pair of 3 pointers and danced his way into the lane to get his team going as the A’s took an early 24-19 lead.
The lead only continued to grow as Stefan Nastic (9p, 4-4 FG) and Corbin Thomas (7p, 3-4 FG) got onto the scoreboard. Even when shots didn’t fall their way, they controlled the glass with a clear rebounding advantage. The Highlanders weren’t too far behind however and their persistence in getting to the free throw line gave them many opportunities to keep the game close. Unfortunately for them, the A’s practically could not miss and Da’Quan Cook even capped off the quarter with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer, giving Orangeville a 36-27 lead after one.
The high-scoring affair continued well into the 2nd quarter and Cape Breton did what they could to keep up with the explosive Orangeville offense. Chadrack Lufile (12p, 6-11FG) was a force in the paint and Clinton Springer showed his range on a handful of occasions. They trimmed the deficit to 5 halfway through the quarter but were struggling to get any closer. When the A’s felt the opposition getting close, they responded by putting up points in bunches. The 5-point advantage quickly turned into a 63-50 lead with over 2 minutes left in the 1st half. Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson (8p, 6r) emerged in the offensive attack and Nastic (17p, 7-8 FG) continued to be more than a handful for anyone between him and the basket. By the time the teams could head into the locker room for a halftime break, A’s would have a 15-point lead against the visiting Highlanders.
Although they had a sizeable 69-54 advantage, the A’s continued to put the pressure on their opponents with every score. They came out of the gates with 7 straight points and had a 20-point lead in their favour. Everything was working flawlessly on both ends of the floor and when they weren’t getting slam dunks on offense, they were poking the ball loose and forcing turnovers on defense. Before the frame was over, 6 different A’s scored in double digits and at one point the team brought their shooting percentage up to 59%. Corbin Thomas (16p, 6-9 FG) was electric near the rim and Jameson Tipping (16p, 5-12 FG) stepped back on the floor to make a pair of 3-pointers, only enlarging the lead to 35 after 3 quarters of play.
The A’s went into the final quarter of action already with 100+ points scored and their 107-72 advantage was one of the largest of the game. The Highlanders had a large mountain to climb and with the limited time available to mount a comeback, they went on a 12-3 run to chip away at the deficit. They played quickly and relentlessly attacked the basket to make use of every available second left. Meanwhile, Orangeville opted with a slower pace and once Nastic was back on the floor Cape Breton had to dedicate multiple defenders to limit his scoring. Their adjustments were successful in the first half of the quarter and they managed to get within 20 with 6 minutes left. Nonetheless, The A’s were able to hold off the late surge by the Highlanders and closed the game out with a big 128-104 win.
By the Numbers:
Glass Cleaners: The A’s dominated the rebounding battle, 55-38
2nd Unit Scoring: Orangeville’s bench out scored Cape Breton’s 37-21
Converting giveaways: The A’s converted 14 Highlander turnovers into 23 points