(Greater Sudbury, ON) After a tough loss at the hands of the Titans Saturday evening, the Five had little time to dwell on the game, welcoming the defending champion London Lightning to Sudbury Sunday afternoon.
The Five entered the game with three key injuries. Team leading scorer Braylon Rayson missed his first game of the season on Sunday with an upper body injury. Dexter Williams Jr missed his second straight game with a lower body injury, while guard Jaylen Bland was also held out of the lineup with a lingering lower body injury. Guards Rayson, Bland, and Williams Jr. all had been averaging big minutes, opening up plenty of time for guards Georges Serresse and Adam Blazek.
Similar to their game on Saturday, the Five got off to another hot start thanks to the strong start from Cory Dixon. The Sioux City, IO native opened the game with nine points and four rebounds, controlling the paint on both ends of the floor. Travis Releford also enjoyed a strong start with eight points in the opening frame. After the first 12 minutes, the Five were up by four, 30-26.
Continuing the theme from Saturday, the Five had their worst quarter of the game in the second. The offense struggled, scoring a game low 16 points. Through two quarters, Sudbury local Georges Serresse hadn’t missed a shot, with 12 points on four three pointers. The Five defense had a strong quarter, holding the Lightning to only 20 points. The defense was led by Cory Dixon who had six of the team’s eight defensive rebounds. Going in to half time, the teams were all tied up at 46.
The Lightning came out flying to start the third quarter. After a quick two points from Travis Releford, the Lightning went on a 9-0 run, capped by a Mo Bolden three pointer, forcing a quick time out from the Sudbury side. The Five regrouped in the quarter led by an inspired Grandy Glaze. Glaze came up with timely rebounds and hit an impossible shot while drawing a foul to get the Sudbury faithful on their feet. After 36 minutes, the Lightning led the Five 73-67.
Moving into the final frame, Head Coach Logan Stutz shortened his bench, moving into a six-man rotation. It looked as if the Lightning were going to run away with the game early on in the quarter, where a Garrett Williamson jump shot extended the Lightning lead to 13 points. The Five began to claw back into the game, led by Cory Dixon who continued to fight for each rebound on both sides of the court. After Dixon hit both foul shots on a great drive, Blazek and Serresse hit back-to-back three pointers to bring the Five, and the Sudbury crowd back into the game. A couple plays later, the teams were dead even at 97 after a Devin Gilligan three tied the game.
The Lightning took momentum in the final moments, leading 104-100 before a Travis Releford three brought the Five within one. After Williamson sunk only one of two free throws, Gilligan with the game in his hand, missed a deep three with time expiring to seal the victory for the Lightning, 105-103.
Sudbury local Georges Serresse was named BOSS Supplements Sudbury Boss of the Game in his best game in a Five uniform, with 18 points, four rebounds, and four assists. Cory Dixon led the way offensively for the Five with 26 points and 14 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season.
The Five will open 2019 with a rematch against the defending champions back at home at the Sudbury Community Arena on January 4that 7:05 PM. Tickets are available online at www.thefive.caor at the Sudbury Community Arena Box Office.