By: Kajan Thiruthanikasalam
SCARBOROUGH, ONT.- In search of their first home win of the season, the Centennial Colts were looking to break the tie for last place in the OCAA East with a victory to close out 2018 against the Georgian Grizzlies.
A lengthy drought, however, to start off the game proved to be too much to overcome as Centennial (1-8) dropped their third straight game, 47-36, to Georgian (2-7) at the Athletic and Wellness Centre (AWC).
During their three-game losing streak, the Colts have never held a lead, which is a stretch of 120 minutes.
Despite being in foul trouble for much of the game, Cassidy Warren-Timpano led all scorers with 13 points. Mckenzie Howlett scored 11 of her 12 points in the first half while Kelsey Dunkeld (11) and Chelsey Lees (10) had double figures in rebounding.
Eden Young had a game high four assists and four steals for Georgian in the win.
Centennial shot 20.3 per cent overall (12/59) while Georgian shot 39.2 per cent from the field (20-51). The Colts made four more free throws than the Grizzlies and scored 17 points off of 22 Georgian turnovers.
But the biggest differences in this game came in the rebounding category as the Grizzlies mauled the Colts, 38-21, on the glass and also had the edge in points in the paint (32-12) as well as second chance points (12-4).
"Georgian did a great job of having a nose for the ball tonight. I thought they put themselves in good offensive rebounding positions," Justin Bobb, Colts Head Coach, said. "They fought for position early so those shots were coming off, they were in a better place to get the rebounds and converted on layups or trips to the foul line."
It was the worst possible scenario to start off a game for the home team as Georgian jumped out to a 17-0 lead. The Colts went 7:47 without a point until MaryAnn Blake's coast-to-coast layup snapped that drought.
"Credit to Georgian; they played really hard tonight," Bobb said. "I thought they did a good job of getting to their stuff, getting paint touches, and converting the paint touches into buckets."
Howlett had seven first quarter points as the Grizzlies were up 19-4 on the strength of 57.1 per cent shooting in the frame. Meanwhile, the Colts shot 14.3 per cent in the quarter and committed seven turnovers.
"We didn't do a good job of getting into our offence and that is why we got off to a slow start," Bobb said.
Centennial's defense improved drastically in the second quarter, limiting the Grizzlies to eight points on 36.4 per cent shooting from the field.
But the home team shot a paltry 7.7 per cent in the second quarter (1-13), only scoring six points, as they headed into halftime, down 27-10.
Browne made sure the Colts weren't going to go away quietly into the night, however, as her ball handling and on-ball pressure on the defensive end led the home team on a 6-0 run to open up the second half.
'Cori's at her best when she's attacking the net and making decisive moves," Bobb said.
A pair of free throws from Browne, who had six in the quarter, cut the Grizzlies lead to single digits for the first time since the first quarter (27-18). But behind a 12-5 edge on the glass, second chance points got Georgian to extend their lead to 37-22, heading into the final frame.
However, Centennial would come sprinting back to start off the fourth quarter on a 12-2 run, capped off by back-to-back triples from Judy Ta, both of them assisted by Browne, to cut the lead to 39-34 with 6:25 to go as an exasperated Grizzlies head coach Todd Talbot called for time.
"I thought that all of us, as a group, were doing a good job of doing the things that we liked to do, which is move the ball quickly and get to the rim," Bobb said of getting back into the game. "Our defensive intensity during those stretches were also what got us back into the game."
But Warren-Timpano, limited by foul trouble for much of the game, scored the next six points after the timeout as the defensive rebounding problems reared its ugly head once again and the Grizzlies held on for their second win of the season and in as many tries against Centennial.
CATCH OUR NEXT GAME
The 2018 portion of the Lady Colts' season is now over. Their first game of 2019 is on the road against the George Brown Huskies on Friday Jan. 11 at 6:00 pm.
"In flashes, we've showed the potential that we can have as a group," Bobb said about the takeaways from the first half of the season. "We've got to focus over this winter break to be able to maintain our intensity and keep us playing at a high level for longer stretches at a time. Going into the new year, that's going to be a big focus for us."
Centennial's next home game, at the AWC, is on Tuesday Jan. 15 at 6:00 pm against the Loyalist Lancers.