- Fan Zone
- Page Title
(WINDSOR, ON) - That which we call the Windsor Express by any other name would play as sweetly. With apologies to the Bard, the Express have become, as head coach Bill Jones suggested, the most dangerous team in the National Basketball League of Canada. Windsor disposed of the visiting Saint John Riptide (4-12) last night, 102-86, and gave fans a glimpse of the stellar play of which they’re capable.
Four points separated the two teams at the end of the first quarter; 24-20 in Saint John’s favour. By the end of the half, the Tide led by just a single basket. In the Windsor locker room during the break, Jones wasn’t the only one who addressed the team’s shortcomings.
“Our coaching staff, our director of player personnel told them we needed to play with energy,” he said. “We needed to go out there and compete at a higher level than what we did in the first quarter.”
The energy Jones referred to was evident in spades in the 3rd period when the Express almost doubled the Saint John output, 29-14.
“They came out in the 3rd quarter and they showed the type of Windsor Express team they’d been building on and what they’ve transformed into,” said Jones. “A team that’s aggressive, that’s gritty, that’s going out there and playing at a high level.”
And while Saint John put up 29 of their own in the final frame, Windsor managed to extend their lead to shut down any hope of a Riptide comeback.
Double-double was the order for the night from starter Ryan Anderson. The 6’ 4” guard is 3rd in the league in defensive rebounding and added 9 more to his total of 111 on the year. Combine that with an offensive board and 12 points in just 33 minutes, it’s no wonder Jones relies on his experience and leadership to turn Windsor’s fortunes.
“Momentum can change very quickly,” said Anderson. “It’s not something you can play with. It’s fragile. You have to cherish the possessions and execute to the very end. Try to get some positive plays, get a stop, just contest, and take the air out of the balloon.”
The Riptide held that momentum through the first half, but Windsor wouldn’t let the visitors blow up that balloon. Saint John led by 7 in the 1st quarter and by as many as 11 in the second, but the Express stayed within striking distance.
The turning point came with 5:05 remining before the half and Saint John leading 38-27. Horace Wormely drained two straight from the penalty stripe, the first Express player to do so up to that point in the evening. Chris Jones followed with a layup, Juan Pattillo put up two, and Anderson dropped a trey. Anderson was 4-for-8 from long range, giving him 63 on the year; good enough for 2nd in the league.
Fans could feel the momentum slowly swinging toward Windsor, but the Express needed to start defending better as well.
“We weren’t defending them like we should have,” Coach Jones said. “In the second half we started turning some pressure up on them, contesting shots, and we were able to pull away.”Nelson Terroba guides his charges, the Saint John Riptide, through some late game strategy against the Windsor Express on 11 January 2019.
Wormely and player of the game DeAndre Thomas each posted 18 points for Windsor. The latter also added 7 boards and a steal. Pattillo had 17 and fifth starter Tyrrel Tate dropped 12. Off the bench, Jones put up 11 along with 7 assists. The Riptide’s Frank Bartley had a game high 19 points.
The Express shot just 50 per cent from the floor and held a margin of 11 per cent better than Saint John.
It has been a do or die week for the Express, playing three games in four nights. They began with a win over Cape Breton on Wednesday and continued last night defeating the Riptide. The team is left tied with the London Lightning (8-9), but trailing on winning percentage.
Windsor (7-8) are just 0.004 percentage points out of the fourth and final playoff spot currently held by London. The two tip off Saturday night in Windsor at 7pm.The Riptide's Frank Bartley (15) backs off as Windsor's Tyrrel Tate goes head and shoulders above the competition for 2 points in a Windsor 102-86 win over Saint John on 11 January 2019