The London Lightning managed to get past the Saint John Riptide 124-119 on Wednesday on a spectacular night of basketball at Budweiser Gardens.
Both teams shot incredibly well throughout the game but London managed to find that extra gear despite being shorthanded. The Bolts were without Royce White (suspension), Julian Boyd (injury), and Joel Friesen (injury) after returning from a difficult east coast road trip.
The game started wonderfully for the Bolts, who drew a tired Saint John into a fast-paced, run-and-gun game early. That was helped by a plus-.500 shooting percentage. Their successful run came to an end sometime in the second quarter when they seemed to lose concentration. After failing to handle the ball well on several trips, the first-placed Bolts saw themselves down 65-61 at half.
After a back-and-forth third quarter, the Bolts seemed to assert themselves to start the fourth — maybe due to Garret Williamson’s buzzer-beater three. They found their groove at both ends of the court on the way to an impressive early lead. Despite a few blips, the Lightning closed out the game quite well, finding their first-quarter stride, and closing the hotly contested game out.
London finished the game exactly .500 from the field (49-98) while Saint John was right behind them at .489 (45-92). The Bolts moved the ball well throughout, recording 31 assists and putting up 68 points in the paint.
“Keep throwin’ punches, keep pushing the ball at them, they’ll break eventually,” Garrett Williamson said. “We’re not going to win a game in a quarter. We knew the fourth was going to come and they were going to break down, and we were gonna open it up.”
Kyle Johnson scored 31 points off of 12-23 shooting, which was good for joint top scorer of the game. Garrett Williamson had 23 points. Anthony Criswell recorded a double-double — 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Anthony Anderson led the Riptide had 31 points.
“It was probably out best ‘gameplan win’ as far as just sticking to the game plan,” Kyle Julius said after the game. “It was designed to get them into foul trouble and generate some fatigue and get points in transition, and I thought we did a really good job of it.”
The Bolts will be back in action on Saturday when they host the Windsor Express at Budweiser Gardens. Tickets are still available online and at the Budweiser Gardens Box Office.