(Kitchener, ON) Saturday night was a wake-up call for the entire Sudbury Five roster- a call that was timed perfectly with 10 games remaining on the NBL Canada schedule for the Five.
The Five entered the Kitchener Auditorium with some reinforcements prepped for the second half of the season. Prior to Friday’s NBL Canada Trade Deadline, General Manager Logan Stutz made a few revisions to the roster. Stutz signed guard and Ball State grad Francis Kiapway, releasing guard Antoine Chandler in the process. The Five’s General Manager made the biggest trade of the deadline, acquiring the playing rights to Maurice Jones Sr., and the Storm’s first and second round draft picks in the upcoming NBL Canada Selection Draft in exchange for future considerations to be announced at the conclusion of the 2018-19 season.
The Titans got off to the early start in the first, leading by as many as eight points just three minutes into the first. The Five battled back, led by league MVP Candidate Braylon Rayson who had eight points and two assists in the first. Travis Releford added five points and a steal, contributing to the team’s five steals in the first . The Titans relied on Akeem Ellis and Ed Horton to carry them through the first, with the duo collecting 21 of the Titans 27 first quarter points. After 12 minutes, the Five were down one, 27-26.
Both teams battled to start the second quarter, with the Five eventually coming out to the one-point lead. However, it was short lived as the Titans regained the lead and extended it to 11 points to end the second quarter. Both teams were led by a balanced scoring approach on offense, with eight different players scoring at least two points for the Titans and six different players for the Five. Poor shooting hurt the Five in the quarter and resulted in the Titans taking an 11-point lead into the half.
The Titans offense continued to fly as the third quarter started, extending their lead to as many as fourteen points. However, the tables seemed to turn when early in the third Travis Releford was fouled on a drive to the net. Releford scored the basket, and the free throw to spark his team and the bench. With under a minute to play, Yohanny Dalembert grabbed an offensive rebound and converted on the lay-up to bring the teams to a deadlock at 76 points. A Denzel James three pointer would give the Titans some breathing room as time expired, allowing the Titans to take a three point into the final quarter.
Both sides continued to battle in the fourth, fighting for each rebound trying to run away with the game. With just under four minutes to play, guard Braylon Rayson pulled up for a jump shot, sinking the basket and drawing the foul. After the Dallas, TX native converted on the attempt, both teams were knotted at 94. Newcomer Mo Jones Sr. caught fire in the fourth, extending the Five lead after scoring on back-to-back possessions. With just nine seconds remaining, Travis Releford was fouled by the Titans, heading to the line and sinking both shots. The timely shooting by the former Kansas Jayhawk would prove to be the difference as the Five came away with the victory, 106-104.
Mo Jones Sr. was named the BOSS Supplements Sudbury BOSS of the Game after scoring 17 points, collecting 5 rebounds and 3 steals in his Sudbury Five debut. Yohanny Dalembert had his strongest game in a Sudbury Five jersey Monday collecting his first double-double of the season with 12 points, 11 rebounds, and 3 blocks. Braylon Rayson led the team in scoring with 19 points and 6 assists.
The Five now return home for a rematch against the Titans Thursday evening at the Sudbury Arena. Tickets for the game can be purchased online at www.thefive.ca or in person at the Sudbury Community Arena Box Office.