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Saturday February 8th, 2014

Posted at 9:53am

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There was no love lost between these two rivals. From the beginning, there seemed to be hostility in the air. Perhaps, for the London Lightning, it was the bitter aftertaste of a loss to the Windsor Express in London Thursday night. Perhaps it was the sweet taste of redemption. Nonetheless, the latter never came for the visitors. Instead, the Express avoided a derailment Friday night and beat the Lightning 97-80 inside the WFCU Centre.

Quinnel Brown and Stefan Bonneau each scored 21 points for the Express. DeAndre Thomas and Darren Duncan had 13 points apiece, with Duncan also getting 13 assists. Chris Commons netted 15 of his own.

The game didn’t really start on a positive note for the Windsor Express. London went on a 10-0 run to open the game (including two three-point shots from Stephen McDowell.) Windsor tried to recover with a timeout, but the Lightning kept striking. Despite some big blocks from newcomer George Goode (a 6’9” centre picked up from Halifax), Windsor was off its mark. London maintained its offensive rushes by pressing and pushing for points. At the end of the first, Windsor was down a whopping 26-10.

The Express fought hard to overcome a rough start. They certainly made up for their mistakes from the first. Windsor outdid and outscored London 32-13 in the second quarter (undoubtedly, its best quarter of the night.) Slowly but surely, the Express were scoring points and narrowing the lead, before eventually grabbing the advantage. An all-around team effort had Windsor ahead of London 42-39 after the second.

During halftime, the Windsor Express Dance Team performed (excellently and energetically) to Pitbull and Ke$ha’s “Timber”, with the line “It’s going down” repeating in the chorus. In the second half, it did just that. The game turned into a constant fight for the lead.

Garrett Williamson was putting up plenty of points for the Lightning in the third. He made several key foul shots that kept London to within a basket. The visitors regained the lead late in the quarter, but the score remained close. In the last seconds, Dominique Buckley hit a three-point shot to break a tie and put Windsor on top once more.

As the fourth and final quarter began, both teams continued their battle for the lead. They exchanged baskets as well as miscues. A three-pointer from Duncan once again gave Windsor the upper hand. After that, they never looked back. A sweet move down low by Bonneau, an alley-oop from Duncan to Commons, and a one-handed dunk from Kevin Loiselle were the hugest highlights of the quarter. The raucous crowd was on its feet and roaring with the players.

London Bridge had not only fallen down, as DJ Thor played over the speakers, it had crumbled. The Express got the hard-earned 97-80 victory over the Lightning. Windsor is now on a 9-game winning streak, a new franchise record.

Windsor returns to home court next Friday, February 14th at 7:05pm to take on the Mississauga Power.

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