The Scarborough Shooting Stars took an early lead and never looked back to take their first win at home in a 99-81 victory over the Newfoundland Growlers.
The stars came out once again in Scarborough with Drake, who showed up fashionably late to the Shooting Stars home opener, in his seat for the national anthem and starting lineups. Denver Nuggets star Jamal Murray and NBA Draft hopeful Leonard Miller also found their way to courtside seats this game.
With the fans still filing into the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre early in the game, Jalen Harris got his virtuoso 38-point performance underway in a hurry, spurring the Shooting Stars to a 9-0 start.
“I just think we got in a rhythm,” said Harris. “We were moving the ball, sharing the ball amongst each other. The ball has energy…and the energy was being shared.”
Harris’ showing was just short of the recording-breaking 42 points that Newfoundland’s Brandon Sampson posted just two days ago. While The Shooting Stars also managed to keep Sampson in check, holding him to 18 points, Shaquille (Shaq) Keith tried his best to keep pace with 36 points of his own.
Scarborough unveiled a few new aspects of offence in the game’s early minutes. Jermaine (J.Cole) Cole, who was relegated to spotting up in the corner over the past few games, was now weaving around screens, finding two early threes that brought the home crowd to their feet. Cole also saw more ball-handling responsibility throughout the game and finished with six points and two rebounds.
“It’s unmatched,” said Harris of the home crowd atmosphere. “I love it, the fans, the people of the community. I love them being able to come out and support their city.”
After missing the last game, Kyle Alexander found his way back into Scarborough’s lineup and posted an 18-point, 11 rebound double-double.
The Shooting Stars will now head out on a road trip out west on a win and won’t return to Scarborough until June 25, but the loss is being felt hard in the other change room.
Growlers head coach, Patrick Ewing Jr, said he thought his team didn’t execute offensive sets or follow the defensive game plan in a sharply worded post-game press conference.
“I’m not happy. I’m not happy at all,” said Ewing. “I expect more out of our guys. I think we should be better than that.”
Ewing Jr. said his team lacked attention to detail in this game, and when plays broke down, his team resorted to playing one-on-one basketball.
“This is not a street ball league. This is a professional basketball league,” he said. “Our guys have to be professional about it…we knew Harris was going to be the guy tonight, and somehow, we kept letting him get downhill.”
Click HERE for game boxscore.
Gallery from left to right clockwise: Drake and Niko, Jamal Murray, Leonard Miller, Junior Cadougan, Jalen Harris, J. Cole.
Photos courtesy Shaun McLeod (@shaunreports)