Nearly two weeks after suffering a devistating last-minute loss under their hometown lights, the Five took the court in Cape Breton, eager to get their revenge against the Highlanders.
Winning seven straight games in the month of Dec., the Highlanders entered Friday's contest as the top team in the National Basketball League of Canada with a record of 14-7. The Highlanders were led by mid-season candidate for league MVP Bruce Massey Jr., who looked to give the team their fourth straight win.
The Five on the other hand, jumped onto Cape Breton's court fresh off Wednesday's victory against the Saint John Riptide. League leading scorer Braylon Rayson, looked to keep the momentum going from his 34-point performance the night before and earn the Five back-to-back wins for the first time since Dec. 13.
The game got off to a strong start, with Rayson leading all players with 12 points and Isaiah "Big Dog" Johnson contributing six perfect shots of his own. Both teams played within one basket of each other, until the Highlanders broke ahead with just under two minutes of play to end the period 27-22.
If there was any doubt as to why the Five's offense is ranked number one in the league, there wasn't after Friday. Cory Dixon led the group with 11 while Jaylen Bland contributed his nine to the team's 31 point quarter. The Five collected virtually every rebound on both sides of the court, providing the offence with additional opportnities and limiting any chance for the Highlanders to recover.
Dixon led the way on the glass with six rebounds, while Travis Releford and Yohanny Dalembert both collected four. After the second, the Five were up five with a score of 53-48.
The Five's offense showed no sign of cooling down in the third, but it was the team's strong defence for a second straight quarter that was a welcome surprise. The Five held the Highlander to 19 points in the second and only 25 in the third, to maintain their firm lead over Cape Breton.
Dixon and Releford led the Five offense, with eight points each. By the end of the third quarter, the Five had secured a lead of 13 with a score of 84-71.
It was do or die in the final, with both teams showcasing their NBL ranking. Another dominant performance by Rayson with 12 points and Releford with 10, gave the team their third 30+ quarter with 32 points.
Deshaunt Walker led the Highlanders explosive 35 point quarter with 14 points in the final frame. In the end, the lead was too much for the Highlanders to recover from and the Five claimed the match 116-106.
The Five are back on the road this afternoon to face off against defending champion, the London Lightning at 2:05 p.m. Check back with Sudbury.com Monday afternoon for the full game report.