The Algonquin Wolves bounced back from their loss on Feb. 11 against the George Brown Huskies to pick up a crucial 86-83 win over the Fleming Knights on Friday.
While Saturday night’s game saw the Wolves fall to the second-seeded Durham Lords 85-81, the Feb.17 game was a better story.
The game was tightly contested from the tip off with the Wolves struggling to find their stroke in the opening exchanges.
The majority of the first quarter also saw both teams go blow for blow with the game finely in balance and the Knights’ only within a single point advantage throughout the quarter.
The Wolves finally got their first lead of the game in the second quarter thanks to a timely three-point shot from Topaz Kana. This put the Wolves up 32-31 with 5:55 remaining in the quarter.
The game did swing back in favour of the Knights towards the end of the half as they quietly picked up some momentum and had a spell that felt like they couldn’t miss. The Knights finished the half ahead 41-39.
Wolves star point guard, Nathan Garcia, wasn’t concerned however and he felt that the win was destined to be theirs if they fixed the “little things.”
“Boxing out, forcing guys to their weak hand and just forcing the ball more,” Garcia said after the second quarter. “We just got to get back to doing the right things. Right now we are playing down to their level. In terms of the standings and just in general we are the better team.”
The resumption of the game went exactly as Garcia said as the Wolves started off the third quarter strongly and showed that they were in fact the better team.
A combination of persistent attacking of the basket and threes from Kana and Carter Normandie gave the Wolves a much deserved lead going into the fourth quarter.
It was a quarter that also saw a buzzer-beater shot from Chris Lachapelle, which put the Wolves up by five to lead 64-59.
The final stages of the game were largely dominated by the Wolves despite the late run that the Knights had made.
Coach Trevor Costello was delighted with the performance and even more pleased with the fact that the bench players were able to contribute and get invaluable experience on the court in pressure situations.
“Everybody got to play yesterday and we got the win,” said Costello. “Guys who haven’t played since December played last night and got some important minutes.”
This is the first game of two this weekend for the Wolves and even after having just won, Wolves shooting guard Normandie was wary of the test that lie ahead.
“As soon as you walk out the locker room door you forget about tonight and you focus on the next game,” said Normandie. “That’s the tough part about these back to backs it’s a short turn around it’s not just physical but mentally too.”