Nighthawks clip River Lions to remain in playoff race
ST. CATHARINES – The Guelph Nighthawks kept their slim Canadian Elite Basketball League playoff hopes alive Thursday night when they handed the Niagara River Lions a 101-90 setback at the Meridian Centre.
The Nighthawks are fifth in the six-team league at 5-12 while the Hamilton Honey Badgers are fourth at 8-9. If the Nighthawks win all three of the games they have left on their schedule and the Honey Badgers lose all three of theirs, a tie-breaker will be needed to decide the fourth and final participant in the league’s championship weekend.
The host Saskatchewan Rattlers and the top three of the remaining five teams will gather in Saskatoon later this month to decide the league’s very first champion.
The Fraser Valley Bandits are no longer in the playoff reckoning as they suffered a 108-104 loss to the Edmonton Stingers in Edmonton Thursday night.
The results leave Edmonton atop the league at 13-4 with Niagara second at 13-5, Saskatchewan third at 8-8, Hamilton fourth, Guelph fifth and Fraser Valley sixth at 4-13.
The Nighthawks did the usual Thursday night as they fell behind in the first quarter. However, they won every quarter after that to take the game.
Niagara led 30-22 at the end of the first quarter, but Guelph was up 55-52 at halftime and the Nighthawks stretched their lead to 79-72 by the end of the third quarter.
Kimbal Mackenzie connected for 25 points for the Nighthawks while Olu Famutimi had 18, Connor Wood 17, Tyrell Corbin 15 and Myles Charvis 12. Michale Kyser grabbed nine rebounds, Wood had eight assists and he also had two blocks.
Ryan Anderson led Niagara with 22 points while Guillaume Payen-Boucard netted 16, Dorian Pinson and Sam Muldrow had 14 apiece and Yohanny Dalembert had 11. Payen-Boucard hauled down 11 rebounds, Trae Bell-Haynes had three steals and Dalembert had three blocks.
The Nighthawks picked up their pace in the match as they hit for 31 fast-break points. That was 12 more than Niagara managed on its fast break. However, the River Lions had 38 points from players who started the game on the bench while Guelph had 20 from its bench.
The win was the second in four games for the Nighthawks and the first time they’d surpassed 100 points since a 104-103 loss to Hamilton at the Sleeman Centre June 22.
The Nighthawks have three games to go in their regular season including back-to-back games with Hamilton. They’re to play Saturday at Hamilton’s FirstOntario Centre starting at 5 p.m. and Aug. 9 at the Sleeman Centre at 7 p.m.
Guelph is to complete its regular season with a game against Saskatchewan at Saskatoon’s SaskTel Centre Aug. 15 at 7 p.m.
Nighthawks 101 River Lions 90
- Guelph Sports Journal