In their third home game of the season the Algoma Thunderbirds dropped decisions to the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks. The men’s team lost a hard fought game in overtime.
In the women’s game, the Golden Hawks drew the first blood, jumping out to an early 10-2 lead. Laurier paced the Thunderbirds from the opening whistle, controlling the boards, outshooting and outrebounding the home team. At the close of the first quarter, Algoma trailed the purple and gold by 10. In the second, Algoma struggled to penetrate the paint and get into a rhythm. Laurier went on a late 9-0 run to pull ahead 32-13 going into the second half. Algoma only managed four in the second quarter. In the second half, Algoma continued to turnover over the ball and allowed Laurier multiple second chance points. In the final 10 minutes, Algoma came alive, driving the ball to the post and added defensive aggression. Not giving in, the Thunderbirds chipped into Laurier’s double digit lead in their best quarter of the game. Unable to overcome Laurier’s hot start, the Algoma Thunderbirds lost their third game of the season, 71-36.
Laura Meadows earned 12 points and 3 boards in Algoma’s losing effort. Laurier’s Kaitlyn Schenck had 16 points and 5 rebounds.
In the men’s action, Algoma started strong with two steals to earn the first bucket of the game. Laurier and the Tbirds exchanged baskets keeping it close. A five-point run allowed the visitors to get ahead, 18-12. Algoma was unable to recover the lead and trailed 20-14 going into the second quarter. In the second, the Thunderbirds chipped into the deficit from the charity stripe. A shot from beyond the arc from Captain Sean Clendinning got Algoma within one. Two missed free-throws down the stretch by Nathan Riley prevented the Thunderbirds from tying the game. Laurier pulled ahead at the buzzer, 33-28 going into the second half. Riley went 2-2 from the charity stripe to open the third but Laurier continued to pull ahead after two backdoor baskets. Algoma struggled to get on the boards in their defensive end, giving Laurier their widest lead of the game, 52-42. Laurier’s momentum continued into the final 10 minutes, widening the gap to 12. Algoma relied on outside shooting, going 4-4 from the beyond the art – three from the hands of Clendinning. Algoma was within 4 of the Golden Hawks. With four minutes left, Clendinning got Algoma within 2 after going 2-2 from the foul line. Andre Barber tied the game for Algoma after draining two from the charity stripe. A steal from Brett Zufelt followed by a layup from Adam Benebrah gave Algoma the lead for the first time since the first quarter, 64-62. Clendinning was fouled down the stretch from the outside, and went 3-3 from the line, putting Algoma up by 4 with less than two minutes to go. With 28 seconds left the Golden Hawks tied the game, 68-68, sending the game into overtime. The Golden Hawks went on a 6-point run after back-to-back turnovers, forcing Coach Thomas Cory to call a timeout. Algoma continued to turn over the ball, losing 79-70.
Clendinning had a season high of 25 points and 4 rebounds, and went 7-7 from the charity stripe. Laurier’s Will Coulthard earned 19 points.
The Algoma Thunderbirds are back in action on Sunday, in their second games of their doubleheader weekend against the Golden Hawks. Game times are 1:00pm (women) and 3:00pm (men).