(SUDBURY, ON) While Saturday nights in Sudbury have historically been filled with hockey and bingo, the Sudbury Five were looking to add a new page to the Sudbury tradition with a big win Saturday night.
Saturday's home game against the Cape Breton Highlanders was an important one for the National Basketball League of Canada's newest franchise. Not only were the Five continuing to inch closer to their first ever playoff berth, but a win Saturday would place the Five in a tie for second in the league for overall points.
Breaking the season trend of slow starts, the Five got off to a hot start Saturday. Dominating on both ends of the court, the Five were able to shut down the attack of the Highlanders led by a game high four blocks in the first. Travis Releford caught fire in the first, scoring 14 points to almost outscore the entire Highlanders team. The Five dominated the first to go up 7, 23-16.
The second quarter brought out a battle of two of the top players in the league. Bruce Massey dominated the quarter for the Highlanders, continually driving to the rim and drawing the foul. Massey finished the second with 14 points, including six points from his eight foul shots. Braylon Rayson had a similar quarter for the Five, scoring 11 points on perfect six-for-six shooting from the charity stripe. Travis Releford added another eight points and three rebounds, good for a game high 22 points in the first half. After two quarters, the Five were up six, 51-45.
The bench for the Five came alive in the third, carrying the team's offense. The bench combined for 19 of the team's 30 points in the third. Newcomer Mamadou Gueye led all players in scoring in the third with eight points and five rebounds. Canadian Yohanny Dalembert had one of his best quarters in a Five uniform, collecting six points, four rebounds, and three blocks in nine minutes of play. The Five extended their lead in the third, taking an 81-68 lead into the final quarter.
With a comfortable lead in the fourth, and the bench for the Five playing well, Head Coach Logan Stutz looked to his role players to close out the game for the Five. Sudbury local Georges Serresse led the Five in scoring in the final frame. Serresse played all but one minute in the final frame and finished the fourth with eight points and two rebounds. Gueye added in six points of his own, and the Five cruised to the victory 109-99.
Former Kansas University Jayhawk Travis Releford was named the BOSS Supplements Sudbury BOSS of the Game. Releford finished the game with 26 points and 7 rebounds in just 29 minutes of play.
The Five now hit the road for a three game Ontario road swing, playing the Express Wednesday and the Lightning on Saturday, before a Family Day matinee against the KW Titans. Fans can watch all the action on the road live on the league's new streaming platform,www.nblclive.ca.