The early season slump for the Scarborough Shooting Stars continued in a 99-81 loss to the Niagara River Lions that saw them fall to 1-4 on the season.

The Shooting Stars were once again without their star player, Jalen Harris, as he attended the Westchester Knicks (NBA G League-NY Knicks affiliate) minicamp. Harris spent time with Westchester during the 2022-23 season, where he averaged 11.3 points over seven games with the G League team.

The absence of Harris saw the first significant shake-up to the Shooting Stars’ starting lineup. Kameron Chatman, who had been playing as the sixth man off the bench, was slotted into the starting lineup alongside Kalif Young in the frontcourt, while Thomas Kennedy moved to the bench. The Shooting Stars also added former Basketligaen scoring champion Zeke Moore to the rotation.

Still, the Shooting Stars came out flat in the game’s opening moments and found themselves in the familiar position of having to battle back in the second quarter. Cat Barber, who had 13 points on the night, spurred a comeback that saw the Shooting Stars trailing by two before back-to-back three-pointers from Patrick Whelan stretched the lead out to 49-36 at the half.

Niagara looked to establish a breakneck pace in transition early in the game and frequently put Scarborough on the back foot off rebounds with well-placed passes. Khalil Ahmad and Eddie Ekiyor led all scorers for the River Lions with 17 points, while Jahvon Henry-Blair and Ej Onu had 14 apiece. Whelan also chipped in 13 points.

With Barber quieted and Harris out of the lineup, the Shooting Stars looked elsewhere for the offense. Kameron Chatman had 17 points and nine rebounds. Moore contributed 14 points and three assists off the bench, and Thomas Kennedy was one rebound shy of a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds. 

The River Lion’s lead grew throughout the second half as the Shooting Stars appeared to run out of gas. Ahmad took over in Elam time, looking like the former CEBL Clutch Player of the Year. A foul from Kassius Robertson on Ahmad saw him head to the free throw line, where he closed out the game, and Robertson would eventually earn a technical foul for protesting the foul.

The Shooting Stars’ brief road trip will make its final stop at the Verdun Auditorium to face the Montreal Alliance on Sunday. The Alliance started the season with back-to-back wins but have suffered three straight losses, including an 89-65 drumming at the hands of the Brampton Honey Badgers in their last game.

Scarborough Shooting Stars vs. the Niagara River Lions boxscore click HERE.

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