BlackJacks Visit Honey Badgers as East Rivals Jockey for Playoff Position

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 Brampton Honey Badgers

BlackJacks Visit Honey Badgers as East Rivals Jockey for Playoff Position

July 10, 2024 - Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL)
Brampton Honey Badgers News Release

The Ottawa BlackJacks take on province rival Brampton Honey Badgers on Wednesday afternoon in their second of three regular season matchups.

Live coverage from CAA Centre begins at 12:30 p.m. ET and fans can catch all the action on CEBL+ powered by BetVictor, TSN+ and on the CEBL mobile app available for iOS and Android devices.

Wednesday's early tipoff is due to the Honey Badgers' inaugural Camp Day Game in collaboration with the City of Brampton. Aside from putting on a show for a packed crowd full of roaring fans, the stakes of Wednesday's contest will be high given Brampton and Ottawa's proximity to each other in the standings.

The Honey Badgers have sole possession of the third seed in the East, just one game ahead of the BlackJacks in fourth. And most years that would mean both squads secure a post-season berth, but given the Montréal Alliance get an automatic bye to the Conference Final as host city of Championship Weekend -- and they're in fifth -- the fourth-place team will be pushed out of the mix instead.

Brampton have looked better as of late, winners of three of their last five. A major step forward considering they had won just three games through the first half of the season. Despite their strong play as of late, entering Wednesday, they'll be looking to bounce back from a 20-point loss to the West-leading Edmonton Stingers.

The Honey Badgers did a serviceable job on defence, holding the Stingers to 46 per cent shooting from the field but couldn't keep up offensively. Brampton shot 37 per cent from the field and the 79 points they scored was their fewest in over three weeks. Add the fact they were minus-17 on the glass and turned the ball over 19 times for 24 points, and it's clear to see why things didn't go the Honey Badgers' way.

In terms of bright spots, Zane Waterman had one of his better games of the season. The import scored a game-high 30 points on better than 50 per cent shooting from the field and beyond the arc while logging nine rebounds and two blocks.

He'll need some more support, namely from a bench that was outscored 30-12 against Edmonton, if Brampton wants to get back in the win column and avoid losing ground to Ottawa.

Speaking of the BlackJacks, they'll also be hoping to bounce back after losing big to the East-leading Niagara River Lions on Saturday. After the first 10 minutes, Ottawa never led, going down as many as 28 points before losing 110-86.

The BlackJacks did a solid job offensively, despite shooting 25 per cent from deep, as they converted on 64 per cent of their looks inside the arc for 48 paint points. What really cost them in the loss was their own ball-security errors. Ottawa turned the ball over 18 times for 26 points (+20), most of which turned into easy transition looks from distance for Niagara. The River Lions drilled 16 threes as a result on an efficient 45 per cent clip.

After the outing, the BlackJacks are up to third in the CEBL for turnovers per game (15.4) and will need to limit their unforced errors in order to get back in the win column against the Honey Badgers.

When Ottawa can maintain possession, they've shown signs of positive play. They kept up on the glass against Niagara, the league's top rebounding team, and even outscored the River Lions bench. It just becomes hard to capitalize on those strengths when the BlackJacks give the opposition so many extra shot attempts due to giveaways.

Previous matchup

The Honey Badgers took the previous regular season contest between the two squads this year, coming away with a convincing 99-82 win after shooting 50 per cent from the field and hitting 11 threes on a 39 per cent rate.

And like their most-recent game, it was Waterman who led the way. The forward finished with 28 points on 9-of-18 shooting to go with three rebounds and five assists. He got some help from former Honey Badger Javonte Cooke who nearly racked up a double-double against the BlackJacks, as he logged 15 points, nine rebounds and two steals.

Ottawa's last lead of that game came at the 3:40 mark of the first quarter, from that point on Brampton went ahead and never looked back.

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