(Guelph, ON) The Scarborough Shooting Stars fell just short in their Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) debut with an 89-80 loss to the Guelph Nighthawks.
The stars came out to support the CEBL at the Sleeman Centre, with Indiana Pacers forward Oshea Brissett and NBA draft prospect Kenny Lofton Jr. in attendance.
The Shooting Stars came out hot at the start of the game, with their latest big name signing, former Toronto Raptors guard Jalen Harris scoring 13 points in the first quarter on the way to a 21-point, eight-rebound, and six assists performance.
Scarborough struggled with the Nighthawks’ physicality to the second quarter, giving up a quick nine-point run to the Nighthawks. While the team searched for answers, a big lineup featuring Kyle Alexander, Kalif Young, and Kameron Chatman in the frontcourt began to show promise. Chatman was efficient, scoring with 21 points and five rebounds, while Alexander and Young cleaned the glass with 11 rebounds and two blocks for Alexander and nine rebounds for Young.
While Harris and the bigs lit up the scoreboard, the Shooting Stars struggled to find consistent offence elsewhere. Rapper J. Cole didn’t find his range until late in the game, shooting 1-for-4 from deep had several tough defensive match ups with G League veteran Cat Barber. Xavier Rathan-Mayes, another G League and CEBL veteran, scored just two points in 15 minutes of play and did not see the court throughout the end of the game. (It’s possible he suffered an injury.)
In the second half, Guelph’s three-headed guard attack began to kick into action, with AJ Lawson scoring 18 points and attacking the paint relentlessly. The defensive pressure from the guards also disrupted the Shooting Stars down the stretch, causing several key turnovers. Ahmed Hill took advantage of those turnovers and scored 10 of his 18 points down the stretch, and Barber would eventually put the nail in the game with a midrange dagger for his 20th point of the night.
The Shooting Stars will now head into an expansion matchup with the Montreal Alliance on Sunday May 28th at the Verdun Auditorium before ending their road trip at TD Place against the Ottawa BlackJacks.
Niagara River Lions Guard Cat Barber (Courtesy Fazvisions)