Sudbury Five drop second straight to Titans

Braylon Rayson wasn't exactly pleased to see his team drop a second straight game to the KW Titans, but he wasn't about to hang his head about it.

Braylon Rayson, left, of the Sudbury Five, attempts to put a shot up over Walter Pitchford, of the Saint John Riptide, during basketball action at the Sudbury Community Arena in Sudbury, Ont. on Thursday December 6, 2018. John Lappa/Sudbury Star/Postmedia Network John Lappa/Sudbury Star/Postmedia Network

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Braylon Rayson has been here before, whether on or off the basketball court.

So while the Sudbury Five guard wasn’t exactly pleased to see his team drop a second straight game to the KW Titans, 132-114 at Sudbury Community Arena on Saturday, he wasn’t about to hang his head about it, either.

“Adversity always hits,” said Rayson, his team’s leading scorer Saturday with 33 points. “Life, basketball, whatever you go through in life, you’re going to go through it. But you have to learn to get over the hump.

“We started off hot, we lost to this team two times in a row, now it’s time to bounce back.”

The Five found their shooting form early, while the Titans stumbled out of the gate, giving the home side a chance to take a 35-22 lead after one quarter. KW came alive in the second frame, however, outscoring Sudbury 45-25 and taking a seven-point lead into halftime.

The locals continued to perform well offensively after the break, with Rayson, Devin Gilligan and Releford hovering near or better than 50 per cent from the field over 48 minutes to keep the Five at 44.7 per cent overall. The visitors only improved, however, hitting 52 of 99 attempts from the floor, or 52.5 per cent. Ed Horton was a standout, a sizzling 11 for 14 from the field, and seven for 10 from beyond the three-point arc, en route to scoring a team-high 30 points.

“They beat us,” Rayson said. “They made 52 field goals, they made a lot of shots. They made more shots than we did.”

Rayson had few complaints about his team’s offence, however, as might be expected for a team with a league-high 1,706 points. Once again, however, a Sudbury squad that has given up more points than any other, with 1,739, failed to get enough timely stops, though there were bright spots like seven defensive boards and five blocks by Yohanny Dalembert.

“We definitely have to work on our defence,” Rayson said. “Everybody in the league is starting to figure out what we do, we play offence, but we have to wake somebody up, you know what I’m saying, and let people know we play defence, too. We play both sides of the ball, it’s a different ball game.

“It’s just more talking, just more practice, things like that, to understand the principles of defence and coming together as a unit.”

Gilligan finished with 21 points and seven rebounds for Sudbury, while Cory Dixon scored 17 points, Releford 16 and Adam Blazek 12 for the Five.

Akeem Ellis had 23 points to help lead the Titans.

Both KW and St. John’s leapfrogged Sudbury for first and second, respectively, in the National Basketball League of Canada’s Central Division, though the Five remain owners of a winning 8-7 record heading into Sunday’s visit by the London Lightning, a 2:05 p.m. start.

As a member of Sudbury’s leadership group, Rayson hopes to play a key role in helping the team out of its current skid.

“It’s definitely got to be vocal, letting guys know it’s OK,” Rayson said. “We’ve got a game tomorrow at 2, we’ll be there to see another day. It ain’t over yet.

“We’re good, our heads are up. We took a loss, but it’s cool. We’re going to bounce back.”

bleeson@postmedia.com

Twitter: @ben_leeson

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