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Harris leads Rattlers to comeback win over Alliance


Jalen Harris exploded for 31 points to help the Saskatchewan Rattlers (2-0) erase a 23-point deficit en route to a 96-90 win over the Montreal Alliance (0-2). The Saskatchewan guard also shot 50 per cent from beyond the arc, dished out five assists and snagged three rebounds in the win.

Harris wasn’t the only one to make an impact as Grant Basile would provide some much-needed backup. Basile scored 27 points on 57 per cent shooting, hit four shots from beyond the arc, and pulled down six rebounds.

Despite the loss, Alliance forward Jordan Bowden had a monster game. Bowden scored 34 points on 77 per cent shooting and knocked down six three pointers. Bowden came up two points short of the Alliance all-time single-game points record, which was set by Dom Green (36 points) on May 29, 2022 against Scarborough.

Both teams were going shot-for-shot in the first quarter, and just when it seemed that neither team could form a cushion, the Alliance started to pull away near the end of the first quarter with a 23-17 lead.

Bowden, who led all scorers at the end of the first quarter with seven points, continued his hot hand into the second and had the Rattlers, rattled throughout the frame. Montreal kept up that same pressure right into the final seconds of the half. Ahmed Hill hit a layup with six seconds left, then Bowden would immediately steal the inbound pass and hit a two-point jump shot to give Montreal a 56-37 lead at the half.

Overall, Bowden had 21 points on an extraordinary 90% shooting from the field in the first half.

Despite being down by double digits, Saskatchewan fought back in the third quarter.

“They were the aggressor. We talked about us being the aggressor and we also talked about, you know, not trying to get it all back in one shot,” Rattlers head coach Larry Abney said when asked about how he got the team ready for the comeback. “We talked about trust. We weren't trusting each other on defence, we weren't trusting each other on offence.”

“Once the trust started happening and you start seeing the extra passes, I think we missed our first couple of shots. But you can see the trust was there. And then once that trust happened, then we started to make a comeback.”

In the third quarter, Harris came alive and scored 19 of his 31 points to help cut the lead to 10 going into the fourth.

The fourth quarter felt like the 12th round of a heavyweight boxing fight. Both teams were giving it their all to secure the victory. However, Saskatchewan ultimately had that little bit of extra fight in them as they chipped away at what was left of Montreal's lead and finally secured the lead right before Target Score Time on an Elijah Harkless free throw. Harris would seal the deal with a layup for the Target Score Winner to lead Saskatchewan to its second straight win.

Harris spoke after the game on what runs through his mind when approaching Target Score, “Just executing, you know, it's about getting to the score, but the way you do that is being the best-executed team, most disciplined team,” Harris said. “So that's kind of the main focus that I'll try to preach out to our guys.”