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Saturday April 5th, 2014

Posted at 9:04am

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The Windsor Express paved their way onto Prince Edward Island with a phenomenal win over the London Lightning in the NBL Central Championship. Now, they’re laying their tracks in a dominant way. The Express were all over the Storm, running ramped on the Island and seizing early control of the series. Windsor won the one-sided bout 122-100 Friday night, at the WFCU Centre., and take Game 1 of the NBL Finals.

Darren Duncan was one of Windsor’s stars, scoring 26 points and picking up 11 assists. DeAndre Thomas had another strong game, offensively and defensively, putting up 19 points and grabbing 7 rebounds. Chris Commons had 18 points, Papa Oppong had 15 points (five for five from the three-point line), Stefan Bonneau had 14 points and Kevin Loiselle had 12 points.

Windsor was on track right from the start, taking a 7-0 run out of the station. DeAndre Thomas was a significant presence for the Express with his strong defense, and powerful offense. He pushed his way to the basket and helped in Windsor’s early 20-9 lead. The Storm came back though, taking an 11-2 run to the Express. During the opposition’s forward movement, Papa Oppong aggravated a previous injury and had to step off. Despite the incident, Windsor was up 27-23 after one.

Windsor’s steals and forced turnovers quickly halted the Storm. The Express forced the Island to make tough shots, and that continued to be an important factor. Chris Commons then hit a three-pointer, and Kevin Loiselle sank one of his own after that. With all-around offense, the Express extended their lead to 13 points before the half, as they worked hard down low and from the outside. Windsor led 59-46 at halftime.

The Island Storm came out for the second half ready to match the Express. They hit a quick three to bring them within 10. Soon after, Darren Duncan hit a three as well, and so Windsor continued to extend its lead. Further and further, the Express pulled ahead and away from the Storm. A three-point shot from the Island left no reaction from the bench as the team was still down by 15. The Express temporarily lost another player in Stefan Bonneau as he was hurt going up to make a play. The Storm, then, were able to get within 10 again, but would finish the third quarter down by 12.

And the Windsor Express just kept speeding forward. They steamrolled the visitors in the fourth quarter, thanks in part to George Goode and Papa Oppong. Goode started the quarter with a slam and left the following plays up to Papa. The recently injured Express player hit three after three after three for Windsor and built a major advantage over the Island. A 19-point lead, in fact, that forced the Storm to take a timeout. The Express wouldn’t stop there. The Storm missed lots of foul shots and Windsor made them pay. With solid defense, the offense took off and put up a 21-point lead. But the same plays remained: Goode’s huge blocks and Papa’s three-pointers. At the end of the game, Windsor defeated the Island Storm 122-100.

Game 2 is set for Sunday, April 6th at 2pm at the WFCU Centre.

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