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With emotions running high for the full game, Lakehead was able to stay settled in the final five minutes of the Saturday afternoon tilt, and won 73-68 against the Algoma Thunderbirds.
It was fun basketball to watch, with both teams highly energized in the first quarters of each half.
The second quarter was a more foul-plagued affair, with both teams in the bonus with under four minutes gone in the frame.
Lakehead struggled in the early going to get the ball inside, trailing 8-0 to begin the game, but luckily had their long range game flowing, with Alex Robichaud, Taner Parrington and Quincy Johnson hitting early 3’s.
Bacarius Dinkins was smothered early by Algoma’s defense, and picked up two early fouls which forced him to the bench for the majority of the first half. He would find his groove as the game wore on, finishing with 10 points and 9 rebounds.
Lakehead led at the break, 38-35.
Both teams came out flying in the third quarter, as Algoma showed a lot of fight in challenging the home team. Lakehead would find an answer every time the visitors made a run, and stretch their lead to 6 midway through the fourth quarter, and 10 points with under 3 minutes to play. Late three’s by Algoma’s AJ Barber and Adam Benrabah made things close, but Henry Tan and Quincy Johnson made enough of their free throws to seal the win.
The always athletic Nick Burke made an unfathomable play late, getting fouled on a drive, had the ball pop out of his hands, then recover it while in mid-air, and lay it in. He finished with 8 points.
Henry Tan was Lakehead’s leading scorer with 16 points.
Rookie Kache Kopec, of Kelowna, BC, scored 9 points on 4-of-4 shooting off the bench in the best game of his young Thunderwolf career. His high-school and now Lakehead teammate, Quincy Johnson, finished with 9 points and 7 rebounds.
Sean Clendinning was the leading offensive player again for the ‘Birds, as his jumpers swished through from start to finish, scoring 9 points in the first quarter and finishing with a game-high 19. Eric Thompson scored 17 points on an impressive 7-of-10 shooting performance.
The men’s team plays three games at the Brock Invitational in St Catharine’s from Oct 23-25.