It was a cold afternoon in the Nickel City, but that didn't stop 1,928 loud and rowdy Sudbury Five fans
from packing the Old Barn to cheer on the home team in a battle for first place in the National Basketball League of Canada against the visiting London Lightning.
Both teams brought their ‘A’ games in this one, and it lived up to its billing.
London struck early and struck often right out of the gate, hitting several three-point shots from the likes of Jordan Burns and company. The Lightning built up multiple double digit leads in the first quarter.
With just under seven minutes remaining in the opening quarter, Dexter Williams Jr. drained a three-point shot from downtown to cut the lead to four, putting the score at 11-7 for London. With just over two and a half minutes remaining in the quarter, Curtis Hollis drained a layup off of a defensive steal to cut the lead further.
The score at the end of the first quarter was 35-32 for the Lightning.
With nine and a half minutes remaining in the half, Williams Jr. stole the ball from London and hit the layup to cut the lead down to four, 43-39. With just over five and a half minutes left in the first half, AJ Mosby Jr. drained a three-pointer from the corner to cut the lead to 55-48 for London.
At halftime, the London Lightning lead by a score of 69-59.
Under a minute into the third quarter, Sudbury began to chip away at that lead, with Braylon Rayson dishing up an alley oop pass to JD Miller for the dunk to make the score 71-61 for London.
With eight and a half minutes remaining in the third quarter, Rayson once again hit a three-pointer to make this one a nail biter, with London holding a slim 71-70 lead.
With two and a half minutes remaining in the third quarter, Mosby won a foot race for the ball against London and dished a pass to Hollis, who connected for a dunk to pull the Five within a single basket. Sudbury ended the third quarter with an 89-88 lead with one quarter left to play.
Exactly one minute into the fourth quarter Williams Jr. drained a three-point shot to break a 90-90 tie and give Sudbury a three-point lead, 93-90. With the score all tied up at 93 apiece, Curtis Hollis sunk one from downtown to once again give Sudbury a three-point lead with 10:23 remaining in the game.
Mosby Jr. struck once again with a layup with just over six and a half minutes remaining in the game to give Sudbury a ten-point lead, 104-94. With just over three minutes left to play, Hollis once again drained a bucket to give Sudbury a 110-102 lead off of a defensive block.
Jeremy Harris slammed the ball through the hoop with less than a minute to seal the win for the Five by a score of 116-109, propelling them to first place in the National Basketball League of Canada.
With the win, Sudbury now has a record of 15 wins and 4 losses on the season.
Sudbury's next game is on the road on March 22 at 7 p.m. in Kitchener against the Kitchener-Waterloo Titans. Sudbury then returns home on April 1 when those same Titans visit Sudbury Arena, with a scheduled start time of 7 p.m.
When asked what a win like this one against a team like London does for his squad, Five Head Coach Logan Stutz stated, "It builds confidence up. The guys are responding well."
When asked how the team responds to a team like London playing well and being ahead, AJ Mosby said, "Stay level-headed."
Super fan Robert McCarthy covers home games of the Sudbury Wolves and Sudbury Five for Sudbury.com. Got a question for Robert? Email it to [email protected].