A depleted Raptors 905, with only eight players available to play triumphed over the Capital City Go-Go in an impressive 111-103 home win. With usual starters Reggie Perry, Ron Harper Jr., and a number of role players unavailable, Justin Champagnie put the team on his back with an all-around performance. He logged a season-high 34 points, nine rebounds, five assists, three steals, and two blocks. The rebounds and blocks were also season-highs while the assists and steals were career-highs.
“I should’ve had two more,” said Champagnie on his assists. “Could’ve passed it a couple more times, but it just feels good moving the ball around a little bit more, trying to be unselfish. Now I just got to continue to show that I can do that every game.”
The sophomore forward did most of his damage in the paint with 12 of his 14 makes coming from that area of the floor. He created paint opportunities for himself in a variety of ways: dribble penetration in isolation, coming off screens, and moving without the ball. The Go-Go had no answers, and Champagnie’s night concluded on an efficient 14-of-22 from the field and two triples.
Replacing Perry in the starting lineup was the 6’9” Kenny Wooten who got his fourth start of the season. The Oregon product was instrumental in the win, grabbing a game-high 11 rebounds while matching Go-Go big man Vernon Carey Jr. ‘s physicality despite some foul trouble. He finished the night with 13 points and three swats, two of which came on Carey Jr. layup attempts. The 905 are 3-1 whenever Wooten starts.
“Regardless of how my fouls are looking I’m still going in there playing aggressive,” said Wooten who had four fouls early in the second half but maintained heavy minutes and didn’t foul again. “If I’m going to foul out, I foul out. I just try to keep that tempo and give everything I got.”
Carey Jr. feasted inside with the 905 short on large personnel. At 6’10” and a hefty 270 lbs, Carey Jr. was easily the biggest body on the court whenever he was on the floor. Naturally, he pulled down a team-high eight rebounds, and also scored a team-high 27 points. All other Go Go starters combined for just 33 points.
The Go-Go were unable to capitalize on the absence of Perry’s interior defence, scoring just 56 points in the paint — two less than the shorthanded 905. Their desire to score inside waned as the game progressed, attempting just seven triples in the first half, but 17 in the second. It was a curious shift in mindset considering they were only 34.6 percent from deep.
Capital City also lost on the glass with just 38 boards to the 905’s 47. This is despite a possession where they grabbed four offensive rebounds in a thrilling 48-second sequence in the third quarter, which ultimately led to a three-pointer by Davion Mintz. Compounding the issue, the Go-Go was turned over 20 times.
Also promoted to a starter was David Johnson who enjoyed 26 minutes on the court, his largest role of the season yet. After a quiet first-half with just four points, Johnson started to find success attacking the rim in the second. He finished with 12 points and six assists. Johnson could have tallied two more points in the fourth quarter with an earth-shattering dunk that would have brought the house down, but he was unfortunately stuffed by the rim.
The third 905 promotion was to forward Ryan Hawkins who played with more energy and had a greater impact than his boxscore of 11 points and eight rebounds suggest.
Raptors two-way guard Jeff Dowtin Jr. struggled with his shot, but still found a number of other ways to impact the game — primarily with his playmaking. Dowtin Jr. double-doubled in his game-high 40 minutes, producing 23 points and 10 assists.
“Lot of shots wasn’t falling, but I wanted to stay aggressive,” said Dowtin, who finished 6-of-17 from the field. “Trying to get to the foul line, trying to get easy ones, get to the paint, and just make plays for my teammates. I think just me being aggressive, not just looking to score but looking to find others helps me get into a rhythm, so that was my goal throughout the game.”
- December 14 was 905 head coach Eric Khoury’s birthday. Not a bad birthday!
- The 905’s next game will be on Friday, December 16th against the visiting College Park Skyhawks, in a game that features Brampton, Ontario native A.J. Lawson, who was recently signed to his second stint with the Skyhawks.
Raptors 905 vs. Capital City Go-go Boxscore click HERE
Photos Courtesy Amanda Lee Coffey