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Written by: Zach Dadson
It was Greek Night in the Lion’s Den on Thursday March 23 as the Niagara River Lions took on the KW Titans.
Despite leading by 10 points midway through the second quarter the River Lions dropped the matchup 105-93. The team sported special edition “Greek” jerseys that were auctioned off following the game for charity.
Niagara looked in full control of the game in the first and second quarters, leading 24-23 after the first and 46-42 at halftime.
It was the team’s good ball movement and efficient shooting that gave them the early lead. Kirk Williams Jr scored 10 points in the first quarter and finished the night with 24 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists.
Niagara was able to use good defensive pressure to force 15 turnovers in the first half.
“They just get us easy points.” Marcus Lewis explained after the game.
“It’s harder for any team in any league to have to pull it out and run half-court offense the entire game. The more transition baskets we can get off steals, the better.” Lewis continued.
Marcus Lewis finished the game with 14 points, 5 rebounds and an impressive 4 steals.
The River Lions led 41-33 with three minutes remaining in the second quarter but the KW Titans scored 9 quick points to finish the first half trailing by just 4.
The Titans came out on fire in the second half scoring 34 points in the third quarter giving themselves a 76-69 lead.
“We did a poor job in defensive transition and they capitalized on it.” Coach Keith Vassell said after the game.
“We’ve got to play better defense. We have to keep them off rhythm, we need to challenge them on the defensive end and then capitalize on our opportunities on the offensive end.” Coach Vassell continued.
Logan Stutz returned to the line-up Thursday night for the first time since January 28 and made an immediate impact.
The defending league MVP scored 12 points and collected 14 rebounds in his first game since returning from injury.
“I just tried to find where I could help the team out.” Stutz said after the game.
“I just wanted to get a lot of rebounds tonight, try to keep the energy high, just make some shots.” He continued.
While the River Lions fall to 9-18 on the season the playoffs are still very much in reach for the club.
“All year we thought we could pull it together and the fact that we’re in the games makes it more realistic.” Lewis explained.
“Us as a team, if we’re getting blown out that’s something different, that might be personnel, but the fact that we’re in games means that we’ve just got to figure one thing out and then we’ll be alright.” He continued.
The River Lions won’t have long to lament the loss to the Titans as the team returns to the hardcourt on Friday March 24 when they take on the Windsor Express in the Lions’ Den.
“We’re being aggressive but we’ve got to attack with purpose and finish and that’s got to be our goal tomorrow night.” Stutz explained when asked about the Friday night matchup against the Express.
“Hopefully we can make a couple more shots and play with a little bit more sense of urgency on defense against their key players and hopefully come out with a win.”