(Mississauga, ON -) The Power played tough defence and aggressive offence in a nail biter victory against the Brampton A’s. Most importantly, the Power and the A’s delivered a strong anti-bullying message to a Hershey Centre full of students in the annual Anti-Bullying school day game. The Power took the game 110-107 to improve to 3-0 for the young season. The home team was led by Travis Releford who scored 24 points along with two assists and four rebounds. Omar Strong and Jaushay Rockett both contributed 20 points each and Kirk Williams Jr. netted 19 in the win.
Brampton came out with an intense style of play that caught the Power off guard. Centre Paul Cooper ignited the Hershey Centre with a dunk with harm to complete a three-point play that got the students cheering at the top of their lungs. Guard Omar Strong came in with back-to-back three’s to pull the Power ahead 14-11. Brampton made key adjustments to pressure Mississauga’s big men and kept the ball out of the paint, forcing the Power to take long shots. The A’s offense was also strong and they were knocking on the Power’s door trailing by one point at the four minute mark.
The A’s began pressing on defence but guard Tut Rauch and power forward Travis Releford helped the Power keep their composure and discipline. Releford made a clutch three and finished a two-on-one drive with guard Alex Johnson. The big man played cool, calm and collected and amounted to six crucial points in the final two minutes of the quarter. The Power had a 28-25 lead.
Something clicked for Mississauga going into the second quarter and the Power took off to a 10 point lead. The team’s discipline paid off and the Black and White forced key Brampton turnovers and ran the floor at their pace. Despite the Power surge, the A’s continued to protect the paint but it had no effect on Mississauga’s hot shooters. Nothing could stop Strong from nailing three’s from any spot on the floor and he put the Power up 45-29, their largest lead of the game.
Cooper was finally able to penetrate the paint for a hard fought lay-up and his play elevated the play of the rest of the big men on the floor. Johnson stole the ball and caught Releford on an outlet pass that he threw down for a hard dunk. However, Brampton slowly chipped away at Mississauga’s lead and came within nine points with less than four minutes to go.
The A’s attack came back with a quick three and hard drive to make the score 50-46. The Power fought back with a three ball from Johnson but couldn’t contain the A’s as they tied the game at 56 going into the half.
Mississauga Power guard #5 Omar Strong
Guard Miguel Paul opened the scoring in the third quarter followed by Cooper’s strong drive to the basket for a 60-56 point lead. The Power needed some high energy hoops to stay in the game and forward Kirk Williams Jr. provided that with a high-flying slam dunk to put the Power up by six points. Releford was the Power’s go-to player and he made an incredible play to grab an offensive rebound and make a lay-up while falling down. The bench was pumped and so was the crowd.
Strong already made a few steals on the game but his next steal to set up Kirk for a smooth finger roll was a turning point for the Power and their 72-64 lead. Mississauga stuck to their game plan but hit a scoring drought that gave Brampton its window of opportunity. The A’s were hitting their shots and playing scrappy defence and pulled within one point. At the whistle the Power were only leading 78-77.
The A’s finally took the lead in the fourth quarter 87-83 at the nine minute mark. Forward Jaushay Rockett did a lot of damage to Brampton’s momentum and tied the game with consecutive drives in the paint and led the defensive charge by contesting Brampton’s shots in the paint. Rockett’s six points in one minute turned the energy around, and a breakaway lay-up for Releford was the icing on the cake to take a 91-90 lead. The Power adjusted to simple and tough basketball to battle in the paint for a close shot or a trip to the foul line.
The A’s retook the lead and added insult to injury with a three pointer and blocked shot. But Strong came in to the turn the tide with a clutch three pointer for a 97-95 lead. There was no denying that both teams came ready to play and both the A’s and Power fought to a 99 point gridlock. Rockett took the initiative and broke the tie with a huge three pointer that Mississauga definitely needed. Rockett was making it happen from short and long range and was the difference maker in the fourth quarter.
With Brampton on the attack, Johnson made a key rebound attempt and threw the ball in the air for Releford and Rockett to battle for. Once Mississauga had possession it was game over for the A’s. Even though there were only two points separating the teams, the Power prevailed with a free throw made by “Superman” Johnson with two seconds to spare. The Power shut Brampton down on the A’s final possession and couldn’t get a shot up, leading to Mississauga’s third victory in three games with a 110-107 win.
The Power’s next home game is this upcoming Sunday at 2 p.m. against the London Lightning. Tickets are available at: http://tinyurl.com/osx8jud
For more information, visit www.powerbasketball.ca
The Mississauga Power are part of the National Basketball League of Canada. The National Basketball League of Canada founded in 2011, is a Canada’s only professional basketball league. There are currently 8 teams, with 2 divisions: Central and Atlantic. The NBLC is committed to being one of the leading professional basketball leagues in the world. The NBLC provides Canadians, international athletes, coaches and officials the opportunity to participate in the game they love at the professional level. The NBLC is dedicated to raising awareness of the sport of basketball throughout Canada, by providing fans with an exciting and entertaining experience.
For more information on the league, please visit www.nblcanada.ca
Courtesy Mississauga Power