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Shooting Stars end two-game slide with win over Rattlers

Donovan Williams Scarborough Shooting Stars Donovan Williams - CEBL

Donovan Williams and Cat Barber combined for 52 points to help the Scarborough Shooting Stars (7-6) snap their two-game losing streak with a 105-99 win over the Saskatchewan Rattlers (5-8) on Friday.

With the Rattlers leading 78-73 after three hard-fought quarters, a path to ending their five-game losing streak was in sight. However, Scarborough quickly flipped the switch in the fourth quarter as Barber and Williams dominated to extend their lead to as big as 12.

“Defence, it was the defence,” Shooting Stars head coach Devan Blair said about what changed in the fourth. “We held them to one point for the next six and a half minutes. The group just started guarding, and when we’re able to guard, we’re able to get out and run. But it all started on the defensive end.” 

With the Target Score set at 105, the Rattlers made one final push but it wasn’t enough. Williams and Barber would continue their heroics to get within striking distance, and the newly added Aaron Best would sink a free throw to secure the victory. 

Willams reflected after the game on how he was able to stay composed during Target Score Time to secure the victory.

“Last couple of days, last couple of weeks or so, I’ve just been frantic,” he said. “I’ve been having a lot of things going on. Today was the day I texted my mom earlier and I’ve just been doing a lot of things outside to help keep myself calm, just outside of the game.

“So, with the game today, and we got in situations where it was chaotic, I just remembered all the things I talked about, all the things I’ve been working on the last couple of weeks and days, and just implemented that in real-time,” he added. 

Williams stuffed the stat sheet with a team-high 27 points, six rebounds, and two steals. Barber was right behind him with 25 points, three assists and two rebounds. 

“I played well with the team, played within myself, kept my head down, kept my cool,” Williams said about his 27-point game tonight. “Just executed the game plan, as best as I could.”

It seemed that both teams were still getting used to their new additions, they were evenly matched and neither team could pull too far ahead as the Shooting Stars led 50-52 going into the half. 

The battle continued into the third, with both teams trading bucket after bucket before Cody John hit back-to-back threes to help the Rattlers pull ahead at the end of the third.

Barber and Williams took over in the fourth to help propel the Shooting Stars ahead and take the 105-99 victory. 

Rattlers' head coach Larry Abney remains determined and knows what the team needs to improve on going forward. 

“We got to start stronger,” he said. “Guys came out 9 for 12 from three, you start like that, and now you're fighting where we should have a lead. We should have control, guys should be comfortable now, they’re finding their spots. We just got to buckle down on defence and as long as there is a mathematical equation for us to fit in the playoffs, then that’s our goal.”

What’s next for both teams?

Scarborough hopes to continue their winning momentum this Tuesday when they take on the Niagara River Lions. The Rattlers look to snap their six-game losing skid when they take on the Vancouver Bandits on Sunday.