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Shooting Stars edge Honey Badgers to earn third straight win

Tevian Jones Scarborough Shooting Stars Tevian Jones (55) - CEBL

The Scarborough Shooting Stars managed to shake off their rust just in time.

The reigning CEBL champions beat the Brampton Honey Badgers 81-73 on Sunday at the CAA Centre despite going scoreless for over five minutes to start the game following eight days off.

Scarborough missed its first 12 field-goal attempts and a pair of free throws as it fell into an early 8-0 hole.

But after a timeout, coach Devan Blair made four substitutions which turned the tide. With four minutes 14 seconds left in the frame, backup guard Devoe Joseph finally put Scarborough on the board with a three-pointer. He followed it up with another triple on the team’s ensuing possession.

Scarborough fought back to take the lead when bench big Danilo Djuricic also hit back-to-back three-pointers later in the quarter, leading to what was a seesaw battle throughout the rest of the contest.

Starter Tevian Jones led the Shooting Stars with 18 points, while Joseph ended the game with 17 off the bench as Scarborough won its third straight game to improve to 3-2.

“It’s a great win,” Joseph said. “When you win games not shooting the best that night, when you win tough games like that down the stretch, it always builds character. And for us it’s another win, three in a row, and we want to keep it going.”

Brampton, meanwhile, once again struggled in Target Score Time, managing just four points as it suffered its fifth straight loss.

With 23 points, swingman Shamiel Stevenson was the team’s top scorer for the second straight game. Fellow starter LJ Thorpe added 22.

“I think when we get to Target Time I think we just need to lock in a little more, pay attention to detail mostly on the defensive end because defence leads to offence,” Thorpe said.

The Shooting Stars led 17-16 after the first 10 minutes. After a tightly contested second quarter, Scarborough took a 33-32 edge into halftime, marking the lowest scoring half ever in nine games between the teams.

Scarborough led 70-69 entering Target Score Time, when it pulled away. After a shaky shooting night, Shooting Stars forward Jackson Rowe made a three-pointer and converted an and-one before starting guard Kadre Gray ended the proceedings with a trey of his own.

Shooting Stars coach Devan Blair said his main concern entering the game was that the team might start slowly after so much time on the sidelines.

“Because it’s hard, eight days off … they’re game ready. We weren’t. You can’t simulate that in practice. We tried, but you can’t,” he said. “So that was a little bit of concern of mine and it became reality, but our bench was ready. And our bench came in and they kept us in the game, so kudos to them for keeping us afloat.”

Blair credited the whole team for being ready when called upon.

“We have such a selfless team that they don’t care. Its whoever’s number is called, they’re gonna give me all they’ve got, they’re gonna play to the best of their ability and when they come out, then it’s the next guy,” he said.

The Shooting Stars’ bench outscored the Honey Badgers’ bench 40-10.

Brampton’s depth was affected as Prince Oduro (upper body) and Javonte Cooke (lower body) both missed the game. In the third quarter, guard Cole Syllas exited the game, unable to put any weight on his right foot.

Brampton head coach Sheldon Cassimy said he did not have an update on Syllas following the game.

Meanwhile, leading scorer Zane Waterman was limited to just over 15 minutes amid foul trouble. He finished the game with six points and seven rebounds.

“I thought we played well. I thought we stuck with the gameplan well for most of the game,” Cassimy said. “It’s kind of tough when we’re going down players. Guys are getting kind of exhausted, they’re playing long stints throughout the game. So at the end you kinda don’t really have the gas that you would have if you had the depth. So I think when we have everybody healthy, or at least a couple more healthy, we’ll be fine.”

The game marked Waterman’s 42nd all-time with the Honey Badgers, tying the franchise record held by Cody John.

What’s next?

The Honey Badgers head to Saskatchewan to face the Rattlers on Wednesday, while the Shooting Stars host the Ottawa BlackJacks on Thursday.