What seemed like a blowout loss on paper was actually much closer than the stats would entail. The London Lightning dropped the series opener last Thursday night 119-95. However, the 17 different lead changes showed how close the game was through three quarters of play.

Close Quarters

London got off to a quick start leading by 5 after one quarter and led by 4 points at halftime. However, Kitchener-Waterloo started the third quarter on a 10-2 run and went on to outscore The Lightning by 6 in the 3rd quarter.

In the 4th quarter, the wheels came off for The Lightning as they were outscored 36-14. Coach Elliott Etherington attributed this to poor shot selection, giving up open 3 point shots and the lack of ball movement. When The Bolts did contest the shots, The Titans were still making them.

The Titans’ starting 5 was sensational, attributing for 95 of the 124 total points. The starters heated up for 31 of the 36, 4th quarter points. The Titans had 3 of their starters with 20 or more points. Led by Akeem Ellis, who dropped a game-high 28, Flen Whitfield’s 24 points, and Ed Horton, who put up 21 points.

On the Rebound

One positive to take out of this loss was that The Lightning were able to grab 20 offensive rebounds. Nevertheless, Coach Etherington wasn’t sure if it was a good sign or fool’s gold.

“I don’t think we converted very well on them. I think we did a good job crashing (the boards) but then we were missing layups,” Coach Etherington said. “It’s great to get one offensive rebound but if you miss a second shot and they get it and go down the other end and score, what’s the point?”

The Bolts had 8, 4, 10 & 2 offensive rebounds throughout each quarter.

London Lightning Marcus Capers dunks 2 of his 8 points. Photo by Roberto Figueroa.

As a whole, Kitchener-Waterloo was able score 50 per cent of their shots, over 35 per cent from 3’s and almost 80 per cent from the free throw line.

In comparison, The Lightning ending up shooting less than 40 per cent from the field, 19 per cent from 3 point land & shot only 60 per cent from the free throw line, missing 11 free throw shots.

Although much of the game was close, The Titans started to make shots when The Lightning started missing them.

Forward Garrett Williamson said, “As a whole, they made shots and they played well. We got cold, we missed shots, at a time when we really needed to get some buckets.”

Points Roundup and Moving Forward

The Westervelt Player of the Game, Garrett Williamson, had 22 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and a block. Marvin Phillips added 13 points. Maurice (Mo) Bolden had a rare off-night but still poured in 10. Anthony AJ Gaines Jr. led the bench with the only double-double in the game, 18 points and 11 rebounds.

London Lightning Garrett Williamson scores 3 of his team high 22 points. Photo by Roberto Figueroa.

Xavier Moon and Marcus Capers filled up the stat sheet. The 6’2 Point Guard, Moon, scored 6 points with 10 rebounds, a game-high 4 offensive rebounds, 2 assists and another game-high with his 3 steals. Meanwhile, Capers had 8 points, 6 rebounds, and a game-high 8 assists.

Even though he had a team-high 22 points, Williamson said he could’ve done better. “I’ll be better next game, and I’m sure the rest of my teammates will be better as well, and we plan on coming out here and winning the next three.”

Coach Etherington said “We have to respond. We’ll go watch some film, figure it out, and get stuff done.”

The Titans now lead the season series 4 games to 3. Previous to this match-up, the teams were split even with one blowout win each but all in all, were separated by just 5 more Lightning points in the previous 6 games.

The Lightning are back at Budweiser Gardens on Tuesday night for game 2 in the best of 5 series. Game tips-off at 7 pm.

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