The hosting Niagara Knights booked their ticket to day 3 of the OCAA Men's Basketball tournament after defeating the Fanshawe Falcons 85-78 in their consolation semi-final. Niagara now advances to the consolation final where they will play the rival west division Lambton Lions.
The Knights’ defense struggled at the start of the game giving up a game high 26 points to go down 6 at the end of the quarter. Niagara’s defensive unit would bounce back in the second, limiting the Falcons’ potent offence to a minimal 13 points. In addition to their defensive resurgence, the Knights’ consistent offensive presence had the Niagara program up by 3 at the end of the half.
Niagara’s defensive play continued to stay impressive in the second half, keeping the Falcon’s second chance scoring opportunities to a minimum. Both programs continued to trade blows through the final two quarters, but the Niagara’s consistency on both ends of the court ultimately led the program to victory.
The Knights’ offence was firing on all cylinders Friday afternoon with 5 members of the program posting double digit point performances. Leading the offence for the Knights was the Bahamian duo of Van Hutchinson Jr and Kevin Cooper. The natives of Nassau, Bahamas each finished with a team high 16 points. 1st year guard Johnnie Richardson was also spectacular for the Knights, earning player of the game honours after finishing with 13 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists.
The Falcons were paced offensively by their 5th year guard Sean Clendinning. The Orillia, Ont. native was named Fanshawe’s player of the game after posting a game high 19 points in 35 minutes of floor time.
Niagara’s consolation final against Lambton is scheduled for 2pm.