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Wednesday April 8th, 2015

Posted at 9:25am

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In a do or die situation, the Windsor Express needed to come together to avoid elimination in the NBL Central Conference Finals. Tuesday night, after a bit of a slow start, the Express turned things around and never gave in. They built themselves a good lead in the fourth and held onto it. Windsor won Game Five 123-112 over the Brampton A’s at the WFCU Centre.

Brampton now leads the series 3-2.

On the night, Quinnel Brown led all scorers with 29 point. Chris Commons had himself an incredible game with 26 points, and going 6/9 with his three-pointers. Kirk Williams Jr. had 16 points, while Ryan Anderson scored 15 points.

Game Five kicked off quickly and in a big way as Deandre Thomas put up the game’s first four points. Brampton fired back, but Windsor rallied for key baskets. Ryan Anderson sank a three point shot, and soon after, Chris Commons scored his first of six three-pointers. Anderson, again, landed a long three as the Express went on a 9-3 run to turn the game around early. However, on the other side, Akeem Ellis gave the A’s their lead once more. The Express were falling apart in the late stages of the opening quarter. With seconds left, Kirk Williams Jr. tapped the ball into the net before the buzzer as the first quarter ended 28-21 in Brampton’s favour.

It seemed as if Windsor would fall into old, unfortunate patterns. The A’s stepped onto the court and set up an early dunk from Cavell Johnson. The play must have ignited the Express. Gary Gibson hit a three-pointer, Williams Jr. had a two-handed slam, and the rest of the team fired back to take the lead and force a Brampton timeout. The Express were picking up speed, but a pair of threes from the A’s slowed them right down. The two powerhouse teams fought tooth and nail for the advantage. Windsor fell a bit behind at the end, though. The visiting A’s had a 51-47 lead at half.

Windsor’s defense really stepped up and put up a wall in the third. Williams Jr. pressured the A’s offense while others forced poor shots. As a result, the Express were able to rush down the court for two huge three-pointers: first by Tony Bennett, followed by Commons. In the first two minutes of the quarter, Windsor outscored their opponents 10-2. Brampton crept closely, though, thanks in part to some timely threes. However, the Express weren’t fazed, as they continued to hold the A’s back. After forcing turnovers, Williams Jr. came up with two massive dunks. Slowly, Brampton got back into the game, and took over with less than two minutes to go. A pair of Windsor foul shots, and a late tip-in by Jamarcus Ellis, put the Express up 86-84 after three.

In the final quarter, Commons went to work. Despite a Brampton three-pointer right from the hop, Windsor scored two baskets, and then Commons hit a three. The Express quickly built an 8-point lead, and extended that soon after when Williams Jr. landed an unsuspecting three of his own. The teams battled more and went on to exchange three-point baskets, with Commons sinking two more throughout the quarter. The game was tight and nearing the end. Amidst the hustle, Brampton’s Akeem Scott was disqualified from the game after his sixth foul. The A’s still pulled within 7, but couldn’t do more than that. Windsor’s defense held strong and the team watched the clock tick down. The Express fought off a hungry A’s team 123-112.

Windsor heads up to Orangeville Friday, April 10th for Game Six. The team has yet to win a game at the Athlete Institute, so it will look to carry the momentum into the must-win game. Tip-off is at 7pm.

If Windsor wins to even the series, Game Seven will be played Sunday, April 12th at 2pm, at the WFCU Centre.

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