On November 17th and 18th, the Lakehead Thunderwolves were in town to play the Thunderbirds in a pair of men’s basketball games. The two teams had already played two exhibition games earlier in Thunder Bay on October 13th and 14th where Algoma had won both by scores of 76 – 50 and 86 – 85. The stage was set that these inter-division games would be highly entertaining and the teams did not disappoint. On the Friday night, Lakehead took the lead early in the first quarter and twice stretched it by six points, but the Thunderbirds responded and would not let this gap increase. Lakehead was leading by five at the end of the quarter. In the second frame, the Thunderbirds battled back and outscored the Thunderwolves 18 – 9 led by Jamari Stephenson who had ten points. Score at half time was Lakehead 30 and Algoma 34. In the third quarter, both teams traded baskets and Algoma still led by a score of 54 – 49. In the fourth quarter, Algoma controlled the game and won by a score of 73 – 65. Algoma outshot Lakehead in the contest 42.6% to 29.5%. Top scorers for the Thunderbirds were Jamari Stephenson (Kitchener, Ont.) with 19 points and Jermaine Lyle had 14 (Kitchener, Ont.). Top scorer for Lakehead was Lequan Cseri-Hylton with 22 points.
On Saturday night, same teams and actually same result, as the score was Thunderwolves 65 and the Thunderbirds 73. The game, however, played out differently from the night before. The Thunderwolves did not want to lose to the Thunderbirds for the fourth time this season. Lakehead actually outplayed and outshot Algoma (80% from the three-point line) and led by a score of 37 to 28 at the half. Head Coach Thomas Cory’s half time talk, however, worked as the Thunderbirds responded and came back strong in the second half. At the end of the third quarter, the Thunderbirds were only down by one point: 54 to 53. In the fourth quarter, Jamari Stephenson scored 7 of his 11 points in the game and this helped close the game for the Thunderbirds. Ian Nash (Detroit, Mich.), Nathan Riley (Kitchener, Ont.) and Reng Gum (Surrey, BC) all had strong games on the boards and on the scoresheet. Nash had 20 points and 9 rebounds, Riley had 19 and 7, and Gum had 11 and 10. Top scorer for Lakehead was Nick Burke with 18 points. The Thunderbirds, with these wins, are currently in fourth place in the OUA west division with a 3 and 5 record.
“I thought it was a solid weekend for us and we found ways to win two very tough games against Lakehead,” says Head Coach Thomas Cory. “It gives us some momentum headed into the final weekend of the first half of the season against Nipissing and Laurentian.”
On Friday, the Lakehead Thunderwolves women’s team also played our Algoma Thunderbirds. The Thunderwolves coming into this game were in third place in the OUA west division and one of the top teams in the province. Lakehead controlled the game from the start and the score at half was 39 – 16. They continued their strong play and the final score was 77 – 41. Top scorers for Algoma were Sydney Resch (Guelph, Ont.) and Karina Cole (Lincoln, Mich.) each with 14 points. Top scorer for Lakehead was Leashja Grant with 22 points. On Saturday, the teams played again and Lakehead won again 84 – 52. Top scorers for Algoma were Marlee Ball (Waterdown, Ont.) and Karina Cole with 12 points each. Top scorer for Lakehead, again, was Leashja Grant with 27 points.
“Lakehead put pressure on us constantly and pushed the pace,” says Head Coach Ryan Vetrie. “This hurried our offense and we were unable to settle down and generate quality scoring opportunities.”
This upcoming weekend, the Thunderbirds hit the road as they travel to their northern Ontario counterparts, the Nipissing Lakers and the Laurentian Voyageurs. The Thunderbirds play the Lakers on Friday November 24th and the Voyageurs on the Saturday November 25th. Women’s games are at 6:00 p.m and the men’s games are 8:00 p.m.
All games will be webcast live on OUA TV.
Source: Algoma U Athletics