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Saturday March 9th, 2013

Posted at 8:02am

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A win would be an understatement. The victory was surely the Windsor Express’ finest moment this season. They showed that they can match the best of them. Though down for a lot of the game, the Express never quit. They fought hard, and fought back for the 108-107 overtime win over the London Lightning Friday night, at the WFCU Centre.

With the win, Windsor has now defeated London three times on the season – half of the Lighning’s losses. Also, the Express have now won five straight.

Eddie Smith had his biggest game of the season with a team-leading 27 points. Chris Commons was close behind with 26 points, and Stefan Bonneau had 22 points, 6 rebounds and 8 assists.

Just prior to tip-off, rapper Drake’s “Started from the Bottom” rang through the speakers as the Express walked onto the court.

“Started from the bottom, now we’re here. Started from the bottom, now my whole team here.”

The team was here, taking on the league’s top team. The Express held their own for much of the first half. Both teams were fighting for the lead.

Windsor was able to take the lead in the second quarter, but London responded. The Lightning increased their lead to ten. A last second three-pointer by Darren Duncan cut the lead to seven as the second quarter ended. London had the 45-38 advantage over Windsor at halftime.

The story in the third quarter was Windsor’s rough downward spiral. Fouls, missed layups and baskets, and London’s rebound control hurt the Express. It was only a nine-point lead for the Lightning after three – 68-59.

The Express got back on track in the fourth quarter, dominating most of it. They narrowed the gap with continuous offense. Stefan Bonneau set up Kevin Loiselle for a huge alley-oop dunk,  that sent the fans in a thunderous uproar. Chris Commons also had a powerful quarter; his three-pointer gave Windsor the lead. Back and forth baskets were exchanged. With 3.3 seconds, the Express went up by one. However, London had an opportunity to win due to a Windsor foul. The Lightning scored one of two free throws to tie the game, and send the teams to overtime.

The teams were set and ready. Overtime.

And it was Bonneau’s time. After Chris Commons fouled out, Bonneau began to take over. The Windsor guard scored big baskets for the Express to extend their lead. He built their score up to 108. With time winding down, the Lightning got a three-pointer, but it wasn’t enough. Windsor fought back for the 108-107 victory against first place London.

A big reason for the Express’ success Friday night was the crowd. The players were heard after the game saying that they were tired near the end, but the roar of the fans in attendance kept them in it.

“When I got this job, I wanted to show everyone that Windsor had heart,” said Connie Day, director of game day operations. Windsor’s heart was shown as Day, her crew and the Windsor Express Dance Team cheered with the fans in support of their team’s comeback, and eventual takeover.

In the late stages of the game, when Windsor had taken control, DJ Thor teasingly played “London Bridge is Falling Down” for the visitors, to the delight of the home crowd. The Northstar Cheerleaders at courtside took part in the fun as well.

“Started from the bottom, now we’re here. Started from the bottom, now my whole team here.”

And here to stay.

Greg Surmacz walked to the locker room and enthusiastically said “Two more! Two more!”

Windsor’s first of two remaining games is next Friday, March 15th when the Express battle the Saint John Mill Rats. They are back Saturday night, March 16th to take on the Oshawa Power in the season’s final game.

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