After a shaky East Coast road trip, the London Lightning couldn’t wait to get back on their home floor.
The Lightning went 1-3 over the past week against teams from the Atlantic Division, including a 119-107 loss to the Halifax Hurricanes on Thursday night.
Back home in front of their home crowd, the Lightning were looking to get back on the right track as the playoffs are quickly approaching. A big first quarter put the team on the right track, as they reeled off a 25-5 run over the last 6:52 to blow the game wide open.
With the exception of an early deficit in the opening minutes, the Lightning led for the majority of the game, using their explosive first quarter to put the game to bed early. London came away with a 32-point victory over the Orangeville A’s, 129-97.
The game started off in a way that fans don’t usually see. Before the tip, London’s Akeem Scott and Orangeville’s Bilal Benn each picked up a foul while jostling for position. Then, Stephen Maxwell swatted the ball out of bounds on the tip and the game was under way.
Dominic Cheek, who hurt the Lightning in the team’s last meeting with his strong shooting, opened the game with a three pointer to get the A’s on the board off the hop. The three-point lead was the largest lead of the game for Orangeville, and London would seize control of the game shortly thereafter.
With the score at 12-11 in favour of the Lightning, Head Coach Kyle Julius called a timeout with 6:56 to play. Whatever was said in the huddle paid off, as the Lightning reeled off a 23-0 run to blow the game wide open. Ryan Anderson hit a pair of three pointers to lead the way in the run.
London closed the first quarter on a 25-5 run overall to lead 37-16 after the first 12 minutes.
For the rest of the game, the Lightning built their lead, and the A’s were never able to put together a serious attempt at retaking the lead.
Maxwell got a layup to fall in the second quarter that pushed the lead for London to 31 points, at 54-23. Orangeville fought back down the stretch in the first half, and cut the deficit down to 27 at the break, at 65-38.
The lead would reach as many as 33 points in the third quarter, and the rest of the game was a formality.
Down the stretch, the Lightning emptied their bench, and the likes of Eric Kibi saw an increase in minutes and Taylor Black checked in for the first time with 2:56 to play.
Black wasted little time before finding the scoresheet, getting a transition layup to fall before hitting a three pointer from the top of the key.
The five points from Black was the cherry on top of an overall impressive showing from the Lightning on both ends of the floor. London cruised to the 129-97 victory over the Orangeville A’s.
A cold-shooting first half put the Orangeville A’s behind the 8-ball, as they hit just 34.0% (16-of-47) from the floor in the opening 24 minutes. They were just 5-of-23 (21.7%) from three point range in the first half.
Forward Erik Copes came off the bench to score a team-high 17 points and pulled down 6 rebounds in the loss. Guard Lewis Jackson recorded a double-double, scoring 16 points and recording 10 assists.
Every player who played in the game for the London Lightning scored at least 2 point on the night. Tyshawn Patterson scored a game-high 25 points off the bench to lead the way. Patterson added 7 assists and 5 rebounds, while going 8-of-13 from the floor.
Seven different players scored in double-figures for the Lightning. Scott scored 20 points and dished out 6 assists, while Anderson and Maxwell added 14 points apiece.
As the playoffs near, each game becomes more important as all teams are looking for momentum heading into the second season. The London Lightning (23-13) and the Orangeville A’s (12-25) meet two more times before the season comes to an end.
They meet again on Friday, April 22nd, at the Athlete Institute in Orangeville, ON.