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Lightning Put Away River Lions And Advance To Division Finals

London held off a game Niagara River Lions effort on Friday night in St. Catharines, but in the end the Lightning were just too strong, and came away with a 106-99 win. They now advance to the Central Division Finals to face the St John’s Edge.

London got off to a slow start, trailing by as much as 11 at 21-10 with less than five minutes to go in the first quarter; but Lightning Coach Keith Vassell made a couple of bench moves, and it seemed to spark the team. They went on a 16-4 tear in less than 4 minutes, and closed out the first quarter on top 26-25.

The two teams went back and forth at each other in the second with not much between them. Ryan Anderson hit a three a couple of minutes in to the second to push the lead to eight, but the River Lions clawed back with a 9-2 rip of their own and were back within one at 39-38 with 6:46 to go in the half.

But that’s as close as Niagara would get. For the rest of the night. The Lightning closed out the half on a run, and went into the break up 51-44.

The River Lions managed to narrow the gap to three in the third, but it was back to eight at 74-66 to end the third.

Some sloppy basketball from the Lightning early in the fourth quarter led to three straight Niagara buckets to draw them within two at 74-72. They even had a chance to take the lead, but Kris Joseph missed a three for the River Lions, and London once again edged forward. Every time Niagara got close, London had an answer. Eventually the River Lions just ran out of clock.

Doug Herring Jr hit four clutch free throws when Niagara reached the “foul immediately” point in the closing seconds, and the game was sealed.

Royce White led all London scorers with 25. He also had 15 rebounds.

Mo Bolden was a beast on the boards pulling down 19, including an eye-popping 17 at the defensive end. The River Lions only had 20 offensive rebounds for the whole team.

Julian Boyd and Ryan Anderson were both big off the bench for the Lightning, with 16 points each. Boyd also had 9 rebounds and was named the Westervelt College player of the game by the lightning.

After the game, rumours swirled that it may have been the River Lions last game in the NBL.

London now advances to the Central Division Final against the St. John’s Edge, who swept the Windsor Express 3-0 in their first round match-up.

The Lightning will host the first two games of the series, but the dates and times have yet to be announced. Stay tuned! #getStruck

About Mark Solway

Storyteller. Community builder, content creator, sports journalist, and a proud Londoner for 40 years.

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