On Thursday, the Brampton Honey Badgers hosted the CEBL’s newest expansion franchise the Winnipeg Sea Bears, where they rallied to pick up the 75-71 victory, their first win of the young season, while handing the Sea Bears their first loss.
Big man Jeremiah Tilmon Jr. was active from an early point in the contest, getting into the paint and finishing strong on the offensive side, while making sure his presence was felt on the defensive end, finishing the contest with 15 points, nine rebounds and four blocks. Tilmon Jr. opened the scoring with a strong finish plus the foul for two of his 15 points in what started off an 11-1 run for the Honey Badgers. The Sea Bears would respond with a run of their own in what became a seesaw of a quarter with a total of seven lead changes. Ultimately, it was the Honey Badgers that took a 20-16 lead into the second quarter.
After trailing to end the first, the Sea Bears opened the second quarter with a noticeably increased defensive intensity. Winnipeg was successful in drawing fouls, creating Honey Badgers turnovers, and using these turnovers to run out in transition. Guard Jelani Watson-Gayle made his mark, scoring seven of his 12 points in the quarter off the bench for Winnipeg. The Sea Bears had majority of the control in the quarter and took a 38-34 lead into halftime.
The Sea Bears were able to carry their second quarter momentum into the second half as they continued to draw fouls, create turnovers and run out in transition. Their defense allowed them to create easy scoring opportunities, allowing them to take a double digit lead in the quarter. The Honey Badgers, however, wouldn’t lay down as they fought back to cut the Sea Bears lead to five at the 4:04 mark, eventually trailing by the same value heading into the fourth in a 58-53 game.
Zane Waterman opened the scoring in the fourth quarter at the 8:42 mark for the Honey Badgers with a two point basket. Chad Posthumus took charge of the scoring for the Sea Bears in the fourth, putting up six points in the quarter while Honey Badgers forward Prince Oduro scored five of the team’s nine points in the quarter. After a Cody John layup cut the Honey Badgers deficit to four, the two teams entered the Elam Ending in a 66-62 game with a target score of 75 points.
It was here that the Honey Badgers proved their resilience and fight, cutting the lead to 1 after a pair of Koby McEwan free throws, and an and one bucket from forward Waterman. Waterman then hit a three ball to give Brampton a one point lead, their first lead since the second quarter. Sea Bears guard Watson-Gayle, continuing his impressive performance off the bench, answered with a triple of his own to help Winnipeg regain the lead in a 70-68 game.
2022 CEBL Finals MVP Christian Vital showed his MVP ways down the stretch as he answered with a trey ball of his own for three more of his team-high 17 points to give Brampton the lead once again. Vital followed it up with a crucial block on the defensive end with the ball going out of bounds off of Winnipeg. As John attempted to cross into the frontcourt, he was fouled and granted two free throws which he sank to give the Honey Badgers the 75-71 victory in what was their first win of the season.
Neither team shot the ball particularly well, as it was the defensive battle that carried the matchup.
Teddy Allen of the Winnipeg Sea Bears
Guard/forward Teddy Allen led the Sea Bears in scoring, dropping a game-high 18 points, but struggled shooting going just 7-24 from the field. Forward EJ Anosike contributed with 15 points of his own in the contest. AJ Hess contributed with 11 rebounds.
For the Honey Badgers, it was a collective effort that led to the win as Vital stuffed the stat sheet with 17 points, five assists, four rebounds, two steals and one incredibly important block. Koby McEwen dished out eight assists, Waterman contributed 15 points, and John chipped in with 10 of his own.
The Sea Bears continue their Ontario road trip as they take on the Scarborough Shooting Stars on Friday June 2nd, while the Honey Badgers will travel to Montreal in hopes of taking down the Alliance on Sunday June 4th.
Hamilton Honey Badgers vs. Winnipeg Sea Bears boxscore click HERE.
Photos by Faz Visions for #teamonpoint