- Contact Us
Written by: Zach Dadson
It was Hero’s Day in the Lions’ Den on Sunday April 2 as the Niagara River Lions took on the Saint John Riptide in a matinee matchup. Niagara fell behind early and despite mounting a fourth quarter comeback, the River Lions lost 117-106 to the Riptide.
The Riptide led the River Lions 26-21 at the end of the first quarter and managed to outrebound the home team 25-12 in the game’s first 12 minutes.
Saint John expanded their lead in the second quarter and went into halftime leading the River Lions 61-48. The Riptide had another successful quarter on the glass outrebounding Niagara 9-8 in the frame and managed to pull down 13 offensive rebounds in the half.
At the end of the game, the Riptide had collected 21 offensive rebounds and outrebounded the River Lions 62-45.
“Rebounding is one of those things you either want it or you don’t.” River Lions Head Coach Keith Vassell said after the game.
Niagara did a much better job on defense in the second half and managed to outscore the Riptide 58-56 in the third and fourth quarters.
“In the second half I thought we played where we wanted the game. We wanted the win.” Vassell continued.
“They’re a great older squad, they know how to play the game.” Nick Okorie said about the Riptide after the matinee matchup.
Okorie, who had started the season with the Atlantic Division’s Island Storm, was able to give his team a preview of what to expect against the Riptide after playing against them several times early in the year.
“They’re not that great of a defensive team, they’re just really good offensively so I was pretty much just telling my team they’re really good on ball, the pick and roll. Just keep your heads up, it’s a game of runs. We’re going to get back into the game, they’re going to let us.”
Okorie finished the game with 22 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists.
After trailing by as many as 21 points in the fourth quarter the River Lions went on a run and managed to make it a 6-point game in the game’s final minutes.
“We took the score down from 21 to 6 and that was just pure effort and desire and that’s what we wanted from the guys.” Coach Vassell said about his team’s successful second half.
While defense was the key to the River Lions’ win on Saturday April 1 against the KW Titans, it was the team’s inability to limit the Riptide’s offensive rebounds and get defensive stops down the stretch that stopped them from completing the comeback onSunday afternoon.
Kirk Williams Jr led the River Lions in scoring for the second game in a row, finishing the game with 31 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists.
After a solid performance on the road Saturday night, Richard Amardi finished Sundayafternoon’s game with 13 points and 9 rebounds. Sammy Zeglinski chipped in 10 points, 9 assists and 4 rebounds while Sam Muldrow scored 10 points and added 3 assists and 3 blocks.
The River Lions now sit at 10-21 and have work ahead of them if they’re going to make the playoffs.
“We’ve got to win some games.” Sam Muldrow said when asked what his team needs to do to get themselves into the playoffs.
“We’ve got to get back to work in practice and come back out on Wednesday and get ready for Windsor.” Muldrow continued.
“At the end of the day, it’s our destiny.” Nick Okorie added.
“We have to work hard for it so we’ve got to get back to practice, work harder and just keep it moving.
After facing the Express in Windsor on Wednesday April 5, the team returns home for a matchup against the Cape Breton Highlanders on Friday April 7 in the Lions’ Den.