Growlers Secure First Franchise Victory 83-60
ST. JOHN'S, NL - The Newfoundland Growlers bounced back from the biggest loss in Canadian Elite Basketball history with an 83-60 win over the Saskatchewan Rattlers at Memorial University Fieldhouse on Sunday night. The Growlers avenged their 90-71 loss to the Rattlers in Saskatoon last Tuesday with a 23-point win.
The win is the first of the season and franchise history for Newfoundland, improving their record to 1-10 on the season as they begin a five game home stand after a long road trip over the past few weeks.
"It feels good," Newfoundland head coach Patrick Ewing Jr. said. "I was hoping to get the first win 10 games ago but it took a little time. It's great to get it in front of the home crowd and in the manner which we did. We played really great defence today."
Meanwhile, the loss snaps a four-game winning streak for the Saskatchewan Rattlers and drops their record to 7-5 on the season. Saskatchewan also falls behind Niagara in the standings after the River Lions defeated the Fraser Valley Bandits on Sunday and improved to 8-4. Saskatchewan is now tied with Edmonton and Scarborough at 7-5.
Newfoundland's Brandon Sampson led the team once again with a game-high 22 points on 8-18 shooting from the field and 4-10 from three to go along with 4 rebounds and the game-winning dunk. The Growlers also received large contributions from a pair of Atlantic University Sport alumni, Terry Thomas and Shaquille Keith. Thomas netted 18 points on 5-12 shooting while hauling in 9 rebounds and dishing 3 assists. Keith returned to the lineup after a three-game absence to provide 16 points and 4 steals off the bench.
Scottie Lindsey scored a team-high 13 points for Saskatchewan in a rough 3-13 night for him in the absence of Tony Carr. Jordy Tshimanga came close to a double-double in a losing effort with 10 points, 9 rebounds and 4 blocks while Devonte Bandoo added 10 points and 5 rebounds for the Rattlers.
"One of the best players in the league not being on your team affects you quite a lot," Saskatchewan head coach Dean Demopoulos said. "But that's what professional sports are and it's next man up. The next guys came up and rest of us, coaches included, had a stinker of a night, so this is what you get when you have a stinker of a night. And Newfoundland played very well- I don't want to take anything away from them."
Newfoundland forced 22 Saskatchewan turnovers that included 10 steals for the Growlers- some of which came at the most opportune moments of the game. The Growlers scored 29 points off the Rattlers' turnovers and earned 17 fast break point in the win. The Rattlers were outrebounded 43-35 and didn't meet their usual standards from three, going 8-23 for 34 per cent.
"Our defence was phenomenal," Ewing Jr. said. "I challenged the guys early in the year that we never want to give up 20 points in a quarter. Tonight was the first time we did it this season at all and we did it in three of the quarters. That shouldn't be the exception but the norm for us."
The first quarter saw the Growlers playing with an increased defensive intensity after their 51-point blowout loss to Edmonton earlier in the week. Brandon Sampson hit a pair of threes for Newfoundland while Shaquille Keith returned to the lineup with 7 first quarter points. Keith scored on back-to-back reverse layups and a contested three to give the Growlers a 17-14 lead heading into the second quarter.
In the second frame the Rattlers started to show off their league-best three-point shooting. Sebastian Aris, Irshaad Hunte, D'Andre Bernard, and Ali Sow each hit a three for Saskatchewan in the second and the Rattlers took a 36-35 lead into the locker room. Sampson led all scorers with 10 points at the half, while Keith and Terry Thomas each chipped in 9.
Sampson had a phenomenal third quarter for the Growlers, hitting a three off the screen, a putback two, and a stepback three. Newfoundland outscored Saskatchewan 24-17 in the third on their way to a 59-53 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
In the final frame, the Growlers were dominant and showed their capability to close out a game for the first time this season. With a 61-55 lead, Newfoundland put together a huge sequence in which Jermel Kennedy banked in a three, Terry Thomas hit a trifecta of his own, and Mason Bourcier picked up a steal and transition slam to put the Growlers up 68-55. Newfoundland continued to force turnovers and score in transition with Thomas stealing the ball and tossing an alley-oop to a high-flying Brandon Sampson. Keith followed that up by immediately stealing the ball again and feeding Junior Cadougan a layup to give the Growlers a 74-57 lead heading into the Elam ending with a target score of 83.
Shaq Keith opened the scoring in Elam time, going 2-4 from the line on multiple trips, followed by a Thomas layup and a Kennedy three to put the Growlers one basket away from their first victory. Brandon Sampson fittingly ended the game for Newfoundland with a vicious transition dunk to give Newfoundland an 83-60 win over Saskatchewan.
Newfoundland hosts the Fraser Valley Bandits at 7:30 p.m. NT on Tuesday at Memorial University Fieldhouse while the Rattlers visit the nation's capital for a matchup with the BlackJacks at 7:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday at TD Place.
The games will stream on CEBL+ live internationally and in Canada at cbcsports.ca, the CBC Sports app for iOS
and Android devices and the free CBC Gem streaming service. Games are also available on the CEBL's official app, CEBL Mobile, available on iOS and Android devices.
Newfoundland Growlers tickets are available at https://am.ticketmaster.com/growlers/ while Saskatchewan Rattlers tickets are available at https://www.therattlers.ca/tickets.
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ECHL Stories from July 3, 2022
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- Growlers Secure First Franchise Victory 83-60 - Newfoundland Growlers
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