River Lions Defeat Orangeville A's in the Final Seconds
March 20, 2016
Niagara River Lions Media
River Lions get their fourth win in a row against the Orangeville A’s
Written by: Zach Dadson
The Niagara River Lions (11-18) continued their strong play under Head Coach Grâce Lokole Sunday, March 20, pulling out a 121-120 win over the Orangeville A’s in a matinee matchup at the Meridian Centre in St. Catharines.
The A’s got out to a hot start and led the River Lions early in the first quarter. Niagara was able to slowly chip away at Orangeville’s lead and ultimately finished the first quarter leading the A’s 30-27.
The River Lions built on their lead in the second quarter and went into halftime up 63-55.
The Orangeville A’s were able to flip the script on the River Lions in the third quarter outscoring Niagara 36-24 in the frame. Despite leading by as many as 11 points, the River Lions battled back and the A’s went into the fourth quarter with only a four-point lead, 91-87.
“I think we just got the ball in the right hands and we slowly started chipping away with guys that were shooting high percentages. That gave us a comfortable position, only being down four going into the fourth quarter,” Logan Stutz reported after the game.
Stutz led the River Lions Sunday afternoon with 26 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists.
It came right down to the wire in the fourth quarter, as both teams took turns leading, neither by more than a few points.
After an intense back-and-forth battle, it looked like the River Lions had secured the win but a foul called with 0.4 seconds remaining sent Orangeville’s Justin Moss to the free throw line with a chance to tie and/or take the lead.
Moss missed both free throws and an ecstatic crowd of over 1,200 people erupted in cheers as the River Lions held on to win 121-120.
“It’s a long game, 12 minutes (per quarter) is a long game. With the shot clock you’re never out of it,” River Lions Head Coach Grâce Lokole reported following the thrilling win.
“Just keep executing, keep playing defense. It’s all about stops and baskets, stops and baskets. That’s what I keep reminding the guys, that no matter how much we’re down just keep fighting, just keep being resilient,” Coach Lokole continued.
Four other River Lions joined Logan Stutz in scoring in the double digits Sunday afternoon: B.J. Monteiro (24 points, 7 rebounds), Travis Releford (19 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists), Clinton Springer-Williams (12 points, 4 rebounds) and Da’Quan Cook (11 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists).
Stutz, who carried a heavy role in the offense early in the season, was happy to have the help.
“It helps out when you’ve got guys everywhere who are working hard. We’re playing inside out, making some shots, getting the ball to the rim. It’s always helped when every piece is contributing,” Stutz said following the team’s win that included points by 11 of the 12 Niagara River Lions.
Da’Quan Cook made his first appearance for the team since missing three games with a mild concussion.
“My rhythm was coming along. I’ve been putting in extra work on the side of practice and stuff like that. The next game I should be there all the way,” Cook said after the game.
Coach Lokole was happy to have the Power Forward return to the lineup.
“Da’Quan, just like Travis, just like B.J., he’s a very dynamic player that can do a little bit of everything so you put him in there with the other guys and it’s very tough to guard,” Lokole said after the game.
“He got to the free throw line, he scored some timely baskets, he had a few calls that I thought were ‘and ones’ but Da’Quan’s tough. He was exactly what we needed this game,” Lokole continued.
Although the game was close, and the win in doubt at points, it was an important victory for the River Lions.
“We just had to win this game by all means necessary. We caught a couple breaks, but at the end of the day, we got a win so a win is a win and we’ll take it,” Logan Stutz said following the game.
The win is the fourth in the row for the River Lions against the Orangeville A’s who they play host to again on Wednesday, March 23. The River Lions then head out on the road to take on the Windsor Express (15-13) on Thursday, March 24.