River Lions stung in overtime
The Niagara River Lions suffered their first loss of the season Friday, dropping a 118-105 overtime decision to the Edmonton Stingers in Canadian Elite Basketball League play.
The River Lions, coming off a two-point win the previous night in their season opener in Saskatchewan, fell behind once again before rallying to send the game into overtime.
“We were disappointed in ourselves for a bunch of different reasons,” River Lions coach/general manager Victor Raso said. “We didn’t like the start we had to both the first and third quarters. We set ourselves behind the eight-ball. We got down 11 to start the game and got down 11 or so to start the third quarter but we fought back and gave ourselves the opportunity to win.
“There’s no moral victories in this. We lost in overtime.”
The River Lions took the lead late in the game before handing it right back to the Stingers.
“We really feel we gave the game away at the end,” Raso said. “We were down for most of it but up four with a minute to go. We lacked a little bit of composure. I know I think should have done a much better job in the last minute being on the same page as the guys and I think the guys feel the same way. We think we let one go.”
The River Lions were playing their second game in as many nights, which Raso feels could have been a factor.
“We ran out of gas. We had an opportunity to win the second day of a back-to-back with an hour-and-a-half flight in the middle. It was a tough turnaround for us but I thought we competed very well in two home openers for two teams out west.”
Raso feels it will take some time before all the kinks are ironed out.
“The entire season is going to be a feeling out process and hopefully after a handful of games you start to really click with each other in terms of what we’re going to do and how we’re going to do it,” he said. “Everybody is in that boat. I really like how we click. If you don’t click well, you don’t have that energy to be able to fight back like that on the road two nights in a row.”
The River Lions plan to take the weekend off before beginning to prepare for their home opener Thursday versus the Stingers.
“We will give the guys a couple days rest and get right back to it Monday with our usual routine of skill development in the morning and practice in the evening,” Raso said. “We will be able to prepare for Edmonton properly now that we’ve had a chance to play them and we’ll get to see them again on Sunday against Hamilton.”
Rao can’t wait for the tip-off at home Thursday.
“I’m really excited about it and I know the guys are too. I love playing games in Niagara. It’s such a great arena and the fans are awesome.
“I know when we come home we’re going to have a raucous crowd who misses the River Lions.”
The Edmonton Stingers were led by Xavier Moon, who went off for 36 points and six rebounds. The Stingers were also treated to a 27-point, eight rebound performance from Mamadou Gueye.
Guillaume Boucard led Niagara with 24 points and three rebounds.
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