Growlers win 2nd game in franchise history in thriller against Rattlers

·6 min read
The Newfoundland Growlers kept the game close throughout to pick up their second win of the CEBL season with a 93-91 victory over the Saskatchewan Rattlers on Saturday at Memorial University. (Newfoundland Growlers/Twitter - image credit)
The Newfoundland Growlers kept the game close throughout to pick up their second win of the CEBL season with a 93-91 victory over the Saskatchewan Rattlers on Saturday at Memorial University. (Newfoundland Growlers/Twitter - image credit)

The 2022 CEBL season may not be the perfect inaugural campaign for the Newfoundland Growlers, but they picked up their second win in franchise history with a 93-91 victory over the Saskatchewan Rattlers on Saturday at Memorial University.

Brandon Sampson scored the Elam Ending layup to end the back-and-forth affair, as the CEBL's third-leading point scorer continued his excellent form by leading his team with 22 points while also picking up four rebounds.

Terry Thomas also had a strong performance for Newfoundland with 20 points and nine rebounds, while centre Nysier Brooks added 14 points and nine rebounds.

The Growlers (2-11) lost their first 10 games of the season before picking up a win against the Rattlers on July 3. Then, on Saturday at home, they beat the same club, cutting it close with the lead flipping back and forth and winning by one point in the Elam Ending.

The Rattlers (7-7) began the game quickly on Saturday and appeared to be playing on the front foot, but that began slipping away after the first quarter. D'Andre Bernar led the first-quarter scoring for the visitors with six points, as Saskatchewan entered the second with a 25-18 lead.

By the end of the first half, Growlers' Sampson had found his form, as the home team trailed by only two points with the score 38-36 at the break.

The Growlers continued to build momentum in the second half, promptly reaching a 45-39 lead — their most extensive on the day to that point. With Sampson, Brooks and Junior Coudagan, Newfoundland took control of the game in the second half before eventually winning on Sampson's layup with the target score set at 92.

"Our season has been kind of difficult, but we've been trying to fight. It doesn't matter how the offence is going; we just try to play defence, and it's never too late; you never know how the season will go," Brooks said.

"When we play team basketball and share the ball inside and out, it gives our perimeter [a chance] to shoot a bit better, and it's better basketball. We have fun as a team, and we trust each other."

Tony Carr led the Rattlers with 30 points, while teammate Devante Bandoo showcased his consistency by dropping 19 points.

The offensive transition was a highlight for Newfoundland in the win. Led by Thomas, the Growlers moved the ball quickly and ensured that Saskatchewan couldn't control it often in high-scoring areas of the floor — a quality not many teams can reliably call upon.

With the win, the Growlers get much-needed confidence with their second home win. The team will next face the Niagara River Lions at home next Friday, while the Rattlers will host the Hamilton Honey Badgers on Tuesday at 9:30 p.m. ET live on CBC Gem, cbcsports.ca and the CBC Sports app.

WATCH l Growlers take down Rattlers:

Honey Badgers hold off Stingers on the road

The Hamilton Honey Badgers survived a third-quarter onslaught to defeat the Edmonton Stingers 87-81 later on Saturday at the Edmonton EXPO Centre to improve their CEBL-best record to 11-3.

After trailing 39-34 at the half, the Stingers exploded for 30 points in the third to take a 64-57 lead into the fourth, highlighted by a 10-0 run in the final 1:39.

Edmonton extended its lead to as much as nine in the fourth quarter, but the Honey Badgers battled back to within four heading into the Elam Ending, where they outscored the Stingers 14-4 to secure the victory.

Honey Badgers forward Caleb Agada iced the game with a steal-and-score play, sinking a layup after momentarily losing the handle on the ball in transition.

The defensive play capped a well-rounded effort for the Nigerian, pacing Hamilton with eight rebounds, eight assists and three steals to go along with four points. Zane Waterman led the team in scoring with 19 points.

The Stingers, who fall to 7-7 with the loss, ultimately fell short in a tightly contested game — a noticeable change from their prior two contests (51-point victory over the Growlers, and 28-point loss to the Niagara River Lions).

Adika Peter-Mcneilly and Demarco Dickerson each scored 16 points to lead Edmonton.

The seventh loss marks a new high  in the regular season for the back-to-back champs, surpassing their 14-6 record in the CEBL's inaugural 2019 season.

The Stingers will look to get back on track against the Ottawa BlackJacks on Tuesday at 7:00 P.M. ET at the Edmonton EXPO Centre. Hamilton will travel to Saskatchewan to take on the Rattlers on the same night, a squad that boasts a 6-1 record at home. Both games can be streamed live on CBCSports.ca, CBC Sports App, and CBC Gem.

River Lions hands Nighthawks 5th straight loss

The Niagara River Lions defeated the Guelph Nighthawks 101-88 on Saturday night to become the second team to hit 10 wins on the CEBL season.

Sitting at 10-4 trail, The River Lions trail only the Honey Badgers in the standings, while the Nighthawks (6-8) sit in seventh place after their fifth consecutive loss.

Guelph briefly held the lead in the second quarter, but Niagara responded by closing out the first half with an 11-2 run. They picked right up where they left off after the break to extend their lead to 14 points in the middle of the third quarter.

The River Lions were able to hold the Nighthawks at bay the rest of the way, thanks in large part to league-leading scorer Khalil Ahmad. The guard had another high-scoring outing, scoring 25 points on 53 per cent shooting while adding 10 assists. Forward Antonio Davis Jr. finished with 21 points, including the game-sealing bucket on a driving layup.

Nighthawks guard Cat Barber scored 19 points to go along with six rebounds and seven assists, but struggled from beyond the arc, going 1-for-5. Ahmed Hill led Guelph with 20 points.

Guelph will hope to snap their skid in their next outing against the Montreal Alliance, who are on an eight-game losing streak of their own.

The River Lions travel east to play the Growlers on Friday at 6:00 P.M. ET, while the Nighthawks host the Alliance on Wednesday at 7:00 P.M. ET. Both games will be streamed live on CBCSports.ca, CBC Sports App, and CBC Gem.

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