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Friday March 27th, 2015

Posted at 9:34am

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Maybe it was too much time off for the Windsor Express. Perhaps the guys were rusty. Whatever the case may be, Windsor found itself playing catch-up Thursday night. The Express went down in the first, and never truly recovered. The A’s controlled and dominated most of the opening game of he Conference Finals. Brampton handed Windsor a nail-biting 99-97 loss at the WFCU Centre.

Quinnel Brown scored a team-high 24 points, and grabbed 8 rebounds. Chris Commons fired away 23 points, while Ryan Anderson picked up 12 points and 13 rebounds.

The Conference Finals started on the right foot for the Express as Kevin Loiselle got things going. However, in a short span, the A’s hit back-to-back three pointers and extended their lead. a 7-0 run put Windsor in a tough spot, but the team tried to recover. Kirk Williams Jr. sank a big three-point shot to cut the lead to three with less than 15 seconds to play in the quarter. Brampton was ahead 19-16 after one.

With nice moves from Jamarcus Ellis and Williams Jr., Windsor was able to kick off the second quarter with a quick takeover. The rush was only temporary; the A’s stepped it up a notch and really took control. Three straight three-pointers forced a Windsor timeout that would hopefully ignite the team. Coming out of the break, Brampton’s Cavell Johnson made a one-handed spinning dunk, which was answered by Quinnel Brown’s own one-handed slam. The Express narrowed in on the A’s after Williams Jr. soared for a two-handed dunk, and Ryan Anderson landed a timely three-point shot. at halftime, Windsor was down 45-38.

The two star-powered teams battled it out in the third. Again, Windsor got going early, this time thanks to a huge block by Loiselle, who swatted the ball away from the shooter. The Express came within four, but a couple of Brampton three-pointers set them back once more. It seemed as if the team would take one step forward, and the A’s sent them two steps back. The visitors were controlling most of the game. They were capitalizing on second chances and rebounds, while Windsor struggled to close the gap. At the end of the third quarter, the Express were in a 14-point deficit, down 77-63.

Windsor just could not get closer than 10 points from the Brampton lead. The Express were getting tired and gassed out, but they kept pushing. Eventually, the efforts paid off. Once on a roll, they got within four following a Tony Bennett three-point shot, and a Quinnel Brown lay-up. Brown stepped up again with a giant well-timed block and returned to the other end for an easy basket to bring Windsor within two. The A’s struck what seemed to be a dagger for Windsor as Akeem Scott laid the ball in. less than 20 seconds remained as the game was coming down to the wire. The Express cashed in on a huge opportunity when Akeem Ellis turned over the ball, and Brown put Windsor within one. Brampton rushed down the court for a basket to go up by three. As the seconds ticked down, the Express had one last effort. Brown’s three-point attempt missed the mark, but he was fouled and had a chance to tie with free throws. He made the first one, but missed the second. Windsor dropped a 99-97 decision to the Brampton A’s in Game One.

Tensions were high at the end when the Brampton players headed to the locker room, rather than shaking hands after the game.

Game Two is set for Saturday, March 28th at the WFCU Centre at 7pm.

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