Express Dig Deep for 116-104 OT Win
Sunday March 20th, 2016
Posted at 5:04pm
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There was a great build-up for an incredible ending. Down by 20 at one time, the Windsor Express collected themselves and recovered in a big way. They rallied to force overtime, and then dominated. The St. John Mill Rats slowed down in the extra period, while the Express had a head full of steam. Windsor outlasted St. John and won 116-104 Sunday afternoon at the WFCU Centre.
The two teams had a great back and forth battle to kick off the game. They went basket-for-basket and kept the score close. Near the end of the quarter, the Express got three straight big time three-pointers to pull ahead. Tony Bennett hit his as the shot clock expired, followed by one from Chris Commons, and Shaquille Keith. A last second three-point basket from the Mill Rats wasn’t enough as Windsor lead by three at the end of the first quarter.
The pace slowed down in the second, but each team tried to build momentum. The visitors were able to take control by the midway point, steadily keeping a three-point lead over the Express. with a couple more baskets, and a late three-pointer, St. John was able to quiet the crowd a bit at the end of the half. The Mill Rats were up 49-39.
To continue the spree, St. John hit a three-point basket early in the quarter. Eventually, the eastern team extended their lead to a whopping 20 points. Windsor turned up its game, though. The fans were still in it as well, as Keith stole the ball and laid it in. Moments later, Maurice Bolden picked the ball, and followed that up with a dunk. The crowd was, despite its team being down by over a dozen points. as Windsor inched closer, though, the tension grew. there was some pushing and shoving between stoppages; players got in each others’ faces. The cluster dispersed and DJ Thor played Bob Marley’s “One Love”. The fans sang along and waved their arms as the referees figured out the situation. The third was winding down when Brandon Robinson sent the ball airborne for Bolden’s alley-oop dunk. The play ended the quarter with Windsor clawing back.
The rally then started to kick in for the Express. Kirk Williams Jr. was set up for a huge alley-0op that forced St. John into a timeout less than two minutes into the final quarter. The dunk brought Windsor within eight points. The comeback was strong for the Express. Williams Jr. with nearly five minutes remaining. with just a few minutes remaining, St. John’s lead was down to only two. An Express flurry of baskets caught them up quick. They ran into a snag as the Mill Rats were standing tall. Windsor fell to a five-point deficit, but swiftly changed that. The team got back within two with two minutes to go. a fast in-bound play allowed Bennett to tie things up with only a minute remaining. All even at 99, with seconds left, Bennett rushes down the court to lay it in for the go-ahead basket. At the other end, with seconds ticking down, Commons came up with a timely but giant block. He was called for the foul, giving the Mill Rats two free throws. The St. John’s player made both to tie the game at 101. Down the court, a last ditch effort by Windsor couldn’t connect as the teams prepped for overtime.
Early on in the extra frame, an Express foul gave the Mill Rats a one-point lead. Windsor came back for a basket to gain the lead once more. Bennett added two free throws to put his team up by three. St. John fired back with a basket of its own. It didn’t take long for the Express to get one back and regain a three-point advantage. With 1:19 to play, a thunderous three-pointer from Brandon Robinson sent the arena in an uproar. Bennett laid a basket in, and added another with his foul shot to go up by nine. Foul shots and other baskets late in overtime ensured the hard-fought victory for Windsor. The Express rolled past the Mill Rats 116-104.
Windsor returns to the WFCU Centre this Thursday, March 24th to play the Niagara River Lions at 7pm.