The National Basketball League of Canada (NBL Canada) got its second season underway this weekend with six contests, including a rematch of the inaugural Championship series between the London Lightning and the Halifax Rainmen. As was the case last March, the Lightning came out on top with a convincing victory 107:89. The 2012-13 campaign added an eighth team to the league, the Windsor Express, and recently placed the Laval (Quebec) Kebs under new management and coaching teams, and renamed the club the Montreal Jazz. As NBL CEO Andre Levingston stated, “The Kebs placed 3rd in the League last year but were experiencing ongoing challenges that required the League to move in a different direction to ensure the continuity and long-term stability of the League.”
London Lightning – Halifax Rainmen 107:89
The Lightning got their 2012-13 season off in a celebratory fashion by opening the new campaign with a banner hoisting party and presentation of the 2011-12 Championship Rings in front of 3,456 fans at the Budweiser Gardens Arena. Their visitors, the Halifax Rainmen, have no doubt dedicated this season to improving on their runner-up position after losing the 2011-12 Championship Series to the Lightning three games to two. Unfortunately, they fell short again, dropping their season opener 107:89.
London jumped out early and set the tone for the season, letting everyone know that they are shooting for a repeat. At the end of the first half they held a 21-point advantage, 50:29, and they never let up giving their loyal fans a taste of the season to come.
Leading the way for London was DeAnthony Bowden’s 19 points, Morgan Lewis added 16 and Tim Ellis dropped in 15.
The Rainmen were paced by Darren Duncan’s 18 points, Paul Nelson contributed 13 and Joel Smith added 12.
This contest was Halifax’s season contest of the season, the loss dropped them to 0-2.
Windsor Express – Halifax Rainmen 111:105
The Express got their expansion season off to a big start with a home victory over the Halifax Rainmen, 111:105, in front of nearly 4,000 fans.
Halifax got off to an early single point lead after the first frame, 29:30, but fell to a four-point deficit at the half, 58:54. The visitors cut the margin back to one after three quarters, 80:79. The Express won the final stanza 31:26 to come away with their first win in the Canadian NBL, 111:105
Windsor got 25 points from Mike Helms, 20 from Anthony Johnson, 17 from Raymond Kraemer, and 16 from Greg Surmacz.
Halifax was led by Eddie Smith’s 27 points, Brandon Robinson added 22, and Darren Duncan dropped in 17.
Summerside Storm – Saint John Mill Rats 118:99
The Storm opened their 2012-13 campaign with a solid win over the Mill Rats of Saint John, 118:99. After falling behind 18-8 early in the first quarter they went on a scoring run to finish out the first 12 minutes of play up 26:22. They settled in and took a 54:42 advantage into the locker room at the half. Saint John cut the margin slightly in the third frame, outscoring their hosts 29:33, but the Storm cruised to the win with a 10-point advantage in the final 12 to come out with a win.
Greg Plummer took the top scoring honors for the Storm in game one with a 26 point performance, followed by Avery Smith’s 19, Antonio Ballard’s 12 and Al Stewart’s 11.
Mill Rat Jerice Crouch led all scorers with a tally of 27, while court-mate Anthony Anderson dropped in 24 in the loss.
Saint John Mill Rats – Montreal Jazz 100:75
The Mill Rats evened their season record to 1-1 with a win over newly admitted NBL squad, the Montreal Jazz. The Jazz played even with their hosts over the first quarter, finding themselves down by four, 24:20, but Saint John pulled away in the second 12 to take a 54:32 advantage into the break. A highlight for the Jazz was winning the final frame 23:25 to close our their first NBL contest on the short end of a 100:75 score.
Anthony Anderson put up another 24 for the Mill Rats to lead the squad, Antonio Burks dropped in 14 to bring his season average to 10 ppg, and PJ Young contributed 13 to the win.
The Jazz got 14 points each from Manix Auriantal and Sani Ibrahim, and 11 from David Yul Michel.
Windsor Express – Oshawa Power 83:84
The Express were denied their second win of their first NBL season when the Oshawa Power cut short a remarkable late game come back to pick up their first win 83:84 on the road.
The Power built a 38:42 advantage at the break and jumped out to a 14-point margin after the third outscoring their hosts 15:25. In the fourth frame Windsor found itself down by 18 points before starting to click and fighting their way back, only to run out of time.
“I was disappointed because I hate to lose,” stated the Express Head Coach Bill Jones. “Our goal was to win the fourth quarter. They started playing. It took them 36 minutes to start playing and it took the coach time to find the right combination.”
Oshawa was paced to victory by Nick Okorie’s 16 points, Jushay Rockett added 14, and William Harris and Amari Daanish dropped in 12 points each.
The Express got 16 from Greg Surmacz, 15 from Mike Helms, and 12 from Anthony Johnson.
The loss drops the Express to 1-1 on the season, Oshawa goes to 1-0.
Moncton Miracles – Montreal Jazz 99:83
The Miracles handed the Jazz their second loss of the season with a 99:83 victory in their home opener of the NBL’s 2012-13 season at the Moncton Coliseum.
The Jazz found themselves down early, 22:12, before going on a scoring run to cut the deficit to 24:21 at the end of the first 12. In the second quarter, Montreal reversed the score and tied the contest at 45 at the intermission. Moncton took control of the game in the second half, outscoring their visitors 54:38 to close out their home opening win 99:83.
Tyrone Levett paced the victors with 28 points, Devin Sweetney contributed 20, and Sylvania Watkins dropped in 18.
Montreal got 17 from Sani Ibrahim, 15 from Manix Auriantal, and 12 from Ricky Volcy.