The road back to the CEBL Finals for the Scarborough Shooting Stars has officially begun its final turns as they took down the Brampton Honey Badgers 98-74 in the eastern conference play-in game.
The rematch of the 2022 CEBL Finals appeared even out of the gate, with Brampton finding themselves ahead 19-18 after one quarter, with Prince Oduro leading the way early, en route to 12 points and four rebounds. In the second, it quickly became apparent that the offensive deficit would be too much to overcome without Jerimiah Tillmon Jr, Christian Vital, and Koby McEwen in the line-up.
Cat Barber ran the show for the Shooting Stars, scoring 21 points in the first half, becoming the all-time leading scorer for the CEBL, and setting a CEBL playoff record for points with 32 on the night, and made threes, with seven made on 77 percent shooting.
Brampton began to lose composure quickly while struggling to find an answer. U of T Varsity Blues guard Callum Baker would provide some life with 16 points, and Shamiel Stevenson would chip in 16 of his own. The offensive onslaught from Barber led to a 27-17 quarter, punctuated by Barber driving past Oduro on the final play and dumping it to Kyree Walker for a slam dunk at the buzzer.
Walker was a force in his own right with 25 points and four rebounds, Isiaha Mike had 15 points and nine rebounds, while Kalif Young had six points, seven rebounds, and 10 assists.
Brampton would find their footing once again in the third, but another avalanche of offense from the Shooting Stars would put an end to any hope as they closed out a 28-16 final quarter to move on in the CEBL playoffs.
The win will see Scarborough facing off with the number two seed Ottawa BlackJacks, who loaded up on talent in the middle of the CEBL season with the return of Thomas Scrubb but have dropped their last three games in a row, leading the way for the Niagara River Lions to claim the number one overall seed and automatic bye to the conference finals. The BlackJacks currently hold a 2-1 season series lead over the Shooting Stars. The game will take place on August 6 at 8 p.m.