By Jas Grewal for On Point Basketball
Raptors 905 Hand Fort Wayne Mad Ants First Loss of the Season
Despite a stellar three-point showing evocative of the Golden State Warriors, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants fell short 109-107 to a now 4-2 Raptors 905 club, handing coach Steve Gansey his team’s first loss of the season.
“Those guys competed their butts off man, I’m proud of them,” said Jerry Stackhouse following the win. “When a team comes in and makes 21 threes on you and shoot 53%, man, it seemed like every time they shot that ball it was going in, but we kept fighting, kept sticking to our game plan, kept sharing the ball. We got some timely rebounds when it counted, some that we didn’t get but it still worked out for us in the end,” said Stackhouse.
Fred Van Vleet, who was recently called up by the Raptors before being reassigned to the 905 just a day before, connected on a string of timely jump shots near the tail end of regulation to give his club the close win. The rookie point guard notched a double-double, tallying 15 points and 10 assists.
The Mad Ants connected on 21 trifectas (21/38) – including 12 in the first half, to gain an early lead over the 905 but their efforts were thwarted by an awe-inspiring performance put on by Will Sheehey. The former Indiana Hoosier finished the night with 23 points (10/14 FG) to go with five big steals.
“I’m just trying to do what I can with the minutes given. Coach started me tonight and he started me the other game too, and I didn’t play too well. So, I tried to comeback tonight and bring aggressiveness,” said Sheehey.
For the Mad Ants Travis Leslie was the high-man pouring in 20 points and nine rebounds, while former Toronto Raptor point guard Julyan Stone had a solid outing and ended the night with 18 points and five assists, including five long-bombs.
Brady Heslip was in full-form Thursday night, hitting on a series of jump shots (11pts) and dishing out five assists while doing so. Though Heslip played 31 minutes of action in the win, Scarborough native Negus Webster-Chan only saw the floor for five minutes, but coach Stackhouse understands that Webster-Chan will have his opportunities in due time.
“I look at him as a rotation player for us, but some games we’re going to shorten the rotation and he can be the odd man out,” stated Stackhouse. “When we have guys who are [playing] well we’re going to try and ride those guys. My job is to try to get a feel for who’s playing well and whoever’s playing well; I’m going to roll with. I think our team understands that, they accept that – and that’s who we are.”
“He’s a great kid, I think we have a lot of great kids on our team. I don’t think anybody here is pouting or sulking about not getting the minutes, added Stackhouse. ”That’s who we are.”
The 905 handed the Mad Ants their first loss of the season and have pushed themselves into second place in the Central Division.
The club will begin their road trip Friday night in Ohio against the Canton Charge.
Written by Jas Grewal
Photo by Reel Motion Imaging
Edited by Drew Ebanks