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Sea Bears hold off Honey Badgers in nail-biter

Mason Bourcier Winnipeg Sea Bears Mason Bourcier - Canadian Elite Basketball League

Teddy Allen’s 30-point performance helped the Winnipeg Sea Bears hold off the Brampton Honey Badgers for a 92-90 win on Wednesday.

The 2023 CEBL MVP scored 11 points in the fourth quarter including the game-winning basket as he propelled the Sea Bears to a third consecutive victory.

“We put him in positions to get him in the right spots so he can make those amazing plays,” Chad Posthumus said postgame on Allen’s fourth quarter heroics. “They were throwing everything at him … for him to still make those plays, it’s awesome. We have all the confidence in the world with him.”

Allen was one of five double-digit scorers on the night. Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson chipped in with 16 points and nine assists and Byron Mullens added 13 points and eight rebounds. Meanwhile, Chad Posthumus and David Muenkat (in his Sea Bears debut) put up 17 and 10 points off the bench.

On the other side, the Honey Badgers were led by Javonte Cook’s 16 points and eight assists in what ended up as their third consecutive loss. Brampton also got solid contributions from Shamiel Stevenson and Petros Melissaratos who chipped in with 16 and 15 points, respectively.

Meanwhile, L.J. Thorpe made his return to the lineup after a two-game absence. The starting guard finished with 15 points but struggled efficiency wise going 2-of-13 from the field with six turnovers.

Winnipeg had built an early nine-point lead in the first quarter, thanks to strong starts from Mullens and Allen who scored eight points apiece, but Brampton quickly cut that to just one point in the final two minutes of the frame thanks to back-to-back Lucas Siewert triples and an 8-0 run.

Not to be outdone, however, the Sea Bears promptly built their lead back up to five points on consecutive layups from Allen and Posthumus as they entered the second quarter up 24-19.

It was Winnipeg’s strong inside game that brought them success throughout the opening quarter as they shot 70 per cent in the painted area, missing just three shots. An uncharacteristically efficient start attacking the basket for a team that typically converts at a 48.9 per cent clip on two-pointers this season, second lowest in the CEBL.

Winnipeg finished the game shooting 58 per cent from inside the arc.

The Honey Badgers continued to chip away at the Sea Bears lead in the second and like in the first, the rally charge was led by Siewert. The Brazilian scored seven points in the frame, not only matching Mullens’ game-high 13 points at the half, but also keeping Brampton within a possession as they trailed 42-40 at the break.

Aside from Siewert’s scoring punch, it was also the Honey Badgers defensive effort that allowed them to remain within striking distance. The Sea Bears entered the night averaging the fewest turnovers a game (11.3) but were forced into nine throughout the first two quarters.

“Our defence is always our number one thing,” Honey Badgers’ head coach Sheldon Cassimy said postgame. “It’s what we hang our hat on, especially with our strength and physicality on the perimeter.”

It wasn’t until the 4:12 mark of the third that a Melissaratos putback officially completed the comeback, overcoming an eight-point deficit, and giving the Honey Badgers their first lead since it was 9-8 midway through the first.

And although their lead didn’t last, as both squads traded baskets the rest of the quarter, Brampton’s effort was enough to keep things tied 66-66 ahead of the fourth and get the franchise record-crowd of 4,068 on their feet. The crowd and the early tipoff time were a result of Brampton’s 2nd Annual School Day Game that saw students from the Peel School Board and Dufferin Peel Catholic District School Board from 27 schools across Brampton, Caledon, and Mississauga.

“(The fans) propelled us,” Cassimy said with a smile when asked about what sparked their rally. “They gave us the energy that we needed … being able to play for them, really helped us comeback.”

That was when Allen decided it was time to take over. He had nine of his 11 points in the frame before Target Score Time as the Sea Bears went into the period up 82-80 before the import guard eventually ended things with a floater.

“Our team faced a lot of adversity today,” Sea Bears head coach Mike Taylor said after the game. “They just wouldn’t go away … we hung in there, kept making plays, they kept coming back and I’m thankful our guys made one more in the end.”

Not before a dramatic finish however, as Brampton made one last push. This time they were led by Zane Waterman who despite struggling for most of the night, scored eight of his 10 points in the fourth quarter. The team’s leading scorer this season made four late free throws to tie the game before the Honey Badgers ultimately lost.

“I think (a game) like this is valuable,” Cassimy said. “The errors and deficiencies don’t always get addressed when you’re constantly winning, I think now we’re able to address things early … and we’ll get better.”

Up Next

The Sea Bears won’t get any time to bask in the win, as they return to action Thursday against the Niagara River Lions in their first back-to-back of the season.

Meanwhile, the Honey Badgers stay home and await the Saskatchewan Rattlers for a cross-conference showdown on Friday.