The Lightning were back at home tonight to take on Cape Breton Highlander. Going into the game The Lightning had won 3 of their last 4 games. However, London was in tough as Cape Breton held the 3rd best record in the NBL at 11-7
The last time these two teams met it was a nail biter with London winning by 2, after a clutch 3-point shot was made by Point Guard Xavier Moon with only 3.4 seconds left in the game.
The Bolts were without Kevin Ware & Garrett Williamson due to injuries. Coach Elliot Etherington says Ware may be back next game but Williamson won’t be back until next week, at the earliest.
The Lightning had active hands from the get-go, causing 9 turnovers in the first quarter alone but only ended up forcing 14 turnovers in total when it was all said and done. However, Coach Etherington was overly upset about because he says they were trying to change the Highlanders pace. Additionally, the Head Coach says “we frustrated them into a lot of offensive fouls. “
The Lightning led 25-21 after the first quarter but were outscored 40-22 in the second and played catch up the rest of the way. They Bolts stormed back and even ended up taking a lead in the 4th quarter before the game was tied at 114 a piece at the end of regulation. Ultimately, The Highlanders had a stronger overtime and took the game 129-122.
Etherington says the team needs to play a complete game. We’re playing 40minutes instead of 48, like we do in our wins. We need to play for 4 quarters.” London won every quarter except for the second and of course, in overtime.
The Highlanders were led by Bruce Massey who scored a game high 42 points, 7 rebounds, 4 steals and dished out 11 assists. Massey is the NBL’s 3rd leading scorer, putting up 22.1 ppg at the start of tonight’s contest. The Highlanders bench was strong all game, taking many minutes from the starters. 3 players logged 35 or more minutes and the bench scored 59 points. Jamal Reynolds led the bench with 25 points and 10 rebounds. Newcomer, Mike Glover started the game but was quickly replaced and left out of the game for Tanner Giddings, who scored 12 points, 8 rebounds and had the second most played minutes for The Highlanders.
The Lightning were led by Maurice Bolden would put up 29 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, as well as a steal and a block. A positive note for London is that they got strong contributions all over, as 8 players had 9 or more points. Marvin Phillips poured in 19 points, 4 rebounds with 3 assists and 3 steals. The newest addition to the team, Alex Johnson, had another strong showing in only his 6th game of the season for The Bolts.. He had 20 points,5 assists, 3 rebounds in 29 minutes of play. Johnson played so well that he got the nod over starting point guard Xavier Moon late in the 4th quarter and overtime. Both Bolden and coach Etherington expressed how important he has been since joining the team.
Bolden said even though they lost, the team is heading in the right direction.
“I know the fans may not see it and sometimes we take losses but in this locker room, in practice, we’re getting better. Today we got better. It’s going to happen at the right time. We’re working and we’re going to get there. We’re going to win the championship.”
The Lightning now sit a game under .500 at 8-9. London plays next on Sunday back at Budweiser Gardens against The Saint John Riptide. The Bolts are 1-1 against The Riptide this year but no match has been that close. London won on the road on November 29 by a score of 109-95. Meanwhile, Saint John took the December 8 match in London by 24, winning 111-87.
Sunday’s match is scheduled for 2 pm.