In front of a roaring crowd of 300 fans, the Algoma Thunderbirds opened their 2015-16 season in the George Leach Centre Friday night against the Brock Badgers.
In the women’s action, the Badgers drew the first blood but last year’s MVP Laura Meadows retaliated with 2. Brock went on a 6-point run forcing Algoma to take a time-out. Brock’s momentum continued, driving ahead 13-2. Algoma’s Meadows and rookie Jordan Milos chipped into the deficit but still trailed 26-9 going into the second quarter. The Thunderbirds struggled to get on the boards in the second. Unable to penetrate the paint the Thunderbirds relied on poor outside shooting to catch the Badgers. Going into the third, Algoma trailed 44-17. Algoma came back in the third going 4-4 from the outside. Both teams exchanged threes down the stretch but Brock was still out of reach. Brock earned their first win of the season, 75-45.
In the men’s action, both teams battled back and forth. The Number 4 ranked Brock Badgers edged ahead 3-2. Both teams went cold for two minutes until Algoma’s Adam Benrabah went 1-2 from the charity stripe to tie the game. Algoma kept it close staying within one of Brock. Going into the second quarter Brock led 15-12. Benrabah closed the gap early on with a shot from beyond the arc. Algoma’s momentum continued, leading Brock 18-15 for the first time in the game. The Thunderbirds dominated the boards, widening the gap 23-18.
Brock clawed their way back, but were unable to regain the lead until two minutes left in the quarter. The teams exchanged buckets down the stretch, with the game tied up at 28 points going into the second half. A lay-up from Benrabah to open the second half gave Algoma the advantage, 30-28. Algoma widened the gap to 5 on the hands of Captain Sean Clendinning, causing Brock to take a time-out. Algoma’s star newcomer Reng Gum took a hard hit, sidelining him for the remainder of the game. Despite losing the height of 6’7” Gum on the court, Algoma’s rhythm continued, driving ahead to a 41-34 cushion. The Badger’s Ryan Bennett sunk back-to-back threes to get within one of the Thunderbirds. Unable to keep pace, Brock led by two points going into the final 10 minutes. Algoma went cold with just five minutes left, trailing Brock by 6. A huge three by Jacob Clendinning put the game back within reach of the Thunderbirds. In the final minutes Algoma went to the charity stripe to get within 4. Two free throws from Brock’s Matt Marshall with just 7 seconds left to the buzzer gave the Badgers their second win of the season, 64-57.
The Thunderbirds are back at home Saturday night at the GLC against the McMaster Marauders. Game times are 6:00pm (women) and 8:00pm (men).