River Lions ready for early start
The Niagara River Lions are hopeful recent history does not repeat itself this weekend.
The River Lions are coming off a superb effort in a 93-82 win at Ottawa Saturday for their second victory in a row and now host the Calgary Surge Friday and the Ottawa Blackjacks Saturday.
It’s the same scenario from earlier this season when the club had just won two straight only to come home and turn in perhaps their worst effort of the year which resulted in a loss to the Vancouver Bandits.
“We’re in the exact same situation we were three games ago,” River Lions coach/general manager Victor Raso said. “We had won two in a row and felt pretty good about ourselves. An out west team went to Brampton and got beat pretty good and came in and played way harder than us.”
Calgary is coming off a 93-80 loss at Brampton earlier this week and Raso doesn’t want the River Lions to take the Surge too lightly.
“Are we going to make that same mistake of not being incredibly competitive and making sure we are the desperate team at the start of that game? If we do (not make the same mistake), I think we’re in a pretty good spot in our league,” he said.
Friday’s game is a special 11 a.m. School Day promotion but Raso isn’t too concerned about the early start time.
“That’s when we practice every day so without preparing for it directly, we have been preparing for it because that’s when we practice,” he said. “It’s a little bit of mind over matter. You just have to deal with the fact your schedule is off but it’s off for both teams. You just have to be able to do it.”
The River Lions, 4-4, then host the Blackjacks Saturday at the normal 7 p.m. start time and Raso would love for the club to get on a good run before heading out on a road trip to Winnipeg and Saskatchewan next week.
“Crazy enough, starting 0-3, as of last night we have the tie-breaker for first place in our conference,” Raso said. “It’s a brand, new season and it’s almost like the playoffs. That’s what our conversations have been since we lost to Vancouver. You have to have a playoff mentality.
“It would be nice to take these two at home and go on a bit of a win streak and then our final out west road trip after that.”
The River Lions will lose Canadian guard Aiden Warnholtz for a couple of weeks after the Ottawa native was invited to try out for the U23 national team. His spot on the roster is expected to be replaced by guard Phil Scrubb, who just finished his season in Spain and is home healing up an injury.
RIVER LIONS HOST WORKSHOP
The River Lions will be hosting unique workshop that will provide women 19 and over the opportunity to learn the basics of basketball, while tasting four varieties of wine courtesy of Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery.
The event, titled ‘Sip & Swish’ will be held on Thursday, July 13 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. inside the Meridian Centre. Led by Raso, along with River Lions players, attendees will enjoy an evening of live music, hors d’oeuvres and will take home a commemorative wine glass and corkscrew, along with new basketball knowledge.
‘Sip & Swish’ falls under the Workshop Series umbrella that the River Lions introduced earlier this year where events are held, catering to different demographics, while maintaining the core values of networking, learning, and growing.
“We are excited to launch this Sip & Swish evening which is sure to be a memorable event for all in attendance,” said Michelle Biskup, Vice President of Operations for the River Lions. “We are fortunate to be located in the Niagara Region, where beyond basketball, there is so much for both locals and tourists to experience. We are proud to collaborate with Henry of Pelham to showcase a winery that is true to its family roots and holds such history within the region.”
A limited number of tickets are now available at http://www.riverlions.ca/sipswish.
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