(Mississauga, ON) The Raptors 905 faced the College Park Skyhawks, Monday night at the Paramount Fine Foods Centre, defeating them, 124-120. It was another close one for the 905, a very scrappy game, which was not ideal or what coach Jama Mahlalela expected down the stretch.
This was a significant game for them and a crucial win, as both teams had the same record in the East and are both competing for a playoff spot. This win means that they are that much closer to clinching a spot in the postseason.
It was a pleasant surprise to see Justin Reyes being one of the standout players this evening, considering he hasn’t been playing much this season. He had 16 points six rebounds and was a key-factor in the last few seconds of the match, scrapping for the ball on a key possession. Though tonight was obviously a solid night for Reyes, he now has to figure out how to make this type of performance a consistent one going forward, and not an outlier.
Facing a team back-to-back can allow the players and their coaches to analyze film after coming off a recent game. Though they did win this match, there are still several things the 905 may need to adjust to help them to try to win the next one as well. When you play a team twice in a row, everything is still fresh in the minds of the players.
905 starting shooting guard Michael Bethea Jr. had three early fouls in the 1st quarter, two of which came in the first minute. But he was able to not commit fouls after that and contributed eight points and three rebounds in the game. His dedication and determination to show his skills is always felt on the court. Bethea Jr. has this capacity to channel his emotions in just the right way that makes everyone around him feel his desire to help his team succeed.
Henry Ellenson was back to his usual self after a few underwhelming performances in recent games. He ended the game with a double-double, 24 points 10 rebounds plus six assists. The majority of his points, rebounds, and assists came in the first half.
There were a few times where the game was tied, but College Park was never able to take a lead after the start of the first quarter. The 905 could have done a better job shutting down their offense, but not allowing them to take the lead was also important. Especially since they have had a lot of trouble closing out games in the past, it seems like they’ve figured out how to prevent that from happening in their most recent games, even if it was close, the Raptors were able to hang on and win.
Early in the 4th quarter, the 905 created their biggest lead of the game at 13 points, 100-87, which was a result of a bucket from Devin Robinson. Robinson, who missed the last game due to injury, came back and had 21 points including a perfect 8/8 on his free-throws, despite being a 60% free-throw shooter on the season.
College Park definitely did not go down without a fight, managing to make it a two-point game with seconds left in the fourth. Watson then missed two free throws for the 905, which could have allowed the Skyhawks to tie the game with a basket on the next possession, but it was Reyes who saved the day by scrapping to get the ball and preserve the win.
Tyler Ennis had a double-double, with 21 points 10 assists along with seven rebounds.
In the return match, the Raptors 905 and the College Park Skyhawks will face each other again on Wednesday March 11th, at 7:30 pm ET. at the Paramount Fine Foods Centre.
Written by Noora Popal. Check out Noora on Twitter