Written by: Zach Dadson
The Niagara River Lions (4-3) led wire to wire on Saturday December 9 when they defeated the KW Titans (0-2) 90-87 at the Meridian Centre.
The River Lions got off to a hot start, jumping out to a 7-point lead in the game's first minutes and didn't look back, outscoring the Titans 18-14 in the first quarter and 24-21 in the second.
The Titans manage to tie the game 55-55 with four minutes to go in the third quarter but the River Lions led going into the fourth quarter and didn't give up the lead once.
The win put an end to the River Lions' three-game losing streak and put the team back above .500 (the River Lions have never been above .500 seven games into a season).
"It was huge." Coach Raso said about his team's win against the Titans.
"Kitchener came in here prepared and rested so that was a good win against a very good Kitchener team that is much improved from their first two games"
Kitchener had not played since November 29 and was well rested coming into their matchup against the River Lions who had lost a heartbreaker against the London Lightning the night before.
It was in the second half that the River Lions looked like they found their groove on offense.
"We saw a weakness on the pick and roll and I think we took advantage of that many times" Guillaume Payen Boucard said after the game.
Payen Boucard scored 14 points and collected 12 rebounds against the Titans on Saturday night.
The success off the pick and roll was particularly important in the second half as Sam Muldrow, Payen Boucard and Dwayne Smith were found open in the paint off of passes by Jaylon Tate, Omar Strong and Adam Klie.
Saturday night's matchup against the Titans was a special night for fan and "River Lion for a Day" Lucas Russell.
Russell had the opportunity to practice with the team during the day and was involved in all pre-game activities. He also sat on the team's bench during the game with his son Kaiden.
"It was cool to see how much they push each other." Russell said in his post-game interview.
"They're big family out there, even during the practices." He added.
Russell's son Kaiden enjoyed sitting on the bench with the team during the game and got to meet some of his River Lions heroes up close and personal.
"It was fun meeting all the players and getting to sit beside them." He reported on River Lions TV postgame.
The River Lions head back out east for a three-game road trip against the Atlantic Division beginning on Thursday December 14 and don't return to the Lion's Den until Wednesday January 3 when they take on the London Lightning.
Box Score Highlights
Sam Muldrow: 23 points, 10 rebounds, 4 blocks
Jaylon Tate: 15 points, 5 assists, 2 rebounds
Marvell Waithe: 10 points, 14 rebounds, 3 assists
Russell Byrd: 21 points, 4 rebounds, 1 steal
Tramar Sutherland: 14 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals
Ben Vozzola: 13 points, 2 rebounds