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An offensive explosion - category Five variety
2024-02-25

Apparently the Sudbury Five are spending a little too much time in the company of the Sudbury Wolves.

In an offensive onslaught that was all too reminiscent of those posted regularly by their OHL brethren this season – for as much as offensive onslaughts in basketball and hockey might differ – the Five completed their weekend sweep of the Jamestown Jackals Sunday afternoon with a 143-110 triumph.

For the record, that was 276 points put up by Logan Stutz’ squad over the course of less than 24 hours – and a +58 in the aggregate point differential in the two-game set with the Western New York based TBL (The Basketball League) reps situated just miles from the Ohio border.

Despite enjoying a lopsided win the previous evening, the locals left nothing to chance in the rematch, up 39-23 by the end of quarter one and never looking back.

“I think we eliminated our mental lapses in this game,” said Stutz after the contest which pushed the Five’s record to 11-6, still bunched in closely (based on winning percentage) with the likes of the Newfoundland Rogues (8-4), KW Titans (10-6) and London Lightning (10-6).

“There may have been three or four points, not nine or twelve like the previous night. We just had the guys focus from the start. They didn’t let down and they had a lot of fun out there, which was good to see.”

One need not have a doctorate in basketball to quickly attest to the size advantage that Sudbury enjoyed – one which they pounced on pretty much from the word go. “We knew that we had to get to the rim,” said Stutz. “We could have sat back and shot a lot of threes but we tried to maximize our size advantage as best as we could.”

“The guys really bought into that tonight.”

Not that difficult to get that kind of buy-in when pretty much everyone is in on the action. With Cody John scratched from the contest, the Five dressed a ten man lineup – nine of whom netted eight points or more.

And while sophomore Haroun Mohamed might have been a little ways back of the leaders of the pack offensively for Sudbury – A.J. Mosby Jr, Duane Notice and Keljin Blevins all netted 22 points each – the fact remains that the 13 points recorded by the graduate of the Laurentian Voyageurs program came just one point shy of allowing the native of Toronto to double his 2023-2024 point production to date.

“It’s more about confidence, believing in myself and understanding that as long as my teammates trust me on the court, I can do my job,” said Mohamed, who displayed a great deal of comfort in this encounter, especially from the free-throw line where he converted all seven of his attempts.

Like most role players, however, the young man who celebrated his 29th birthday earlier this week fully realizes that his play at both ends of the court is what is most likely to earn him those valuable minutes of playing time.

“As long as I stay aggressive and keep doing what I am doing defensively, that gets me going,” said Mohamed. “It all starts there, on the defensive end. The guys here are very talented (offensively), so you have to be able to play disciplined defense – and the guys are more physical here playing defense against you.”

“It’s about being able to adapt, being ready to play.”

For as much as his game time might be limited, Mohamed will still tap into each and every practice session in order to help improve his game, battling against teammates on a daily basis who carry with them far more impressive basketball resumes.

“Everybody here is skilled in different ways,” he stated. “A lot of them are athletic. Guys can shoot the ball, guys have (basketball) IQ at a different level. As a team, we’re trying to help each other get better, trying to push each other to get better.”

This weekend furnished coach Stutz with an opportunity to test-drive some wrinkles to his game plan in an environment that was not about to cost his team a win – but he really wasn’t having much of it.

“At this point in the season, I really just wanted them to play the way that we want to play,” he said. “We tried little things and were a lot more experimental early on, but now it’s about getting solid in the second half of our season, getting better every day with what we’ve got.”

Joining the double-digit brigade for Sudbury were Jalen Hayes (15), Landon Kirkwood (15), Evan Harris (12) and Ja’Myrin Jackson (12). After lighting it up for 39 points in game one, David Jasson continued to lead the Jamestown attack, adding another 35 points, followed by Brent Price (21) and Derrick Colter (18).

The Sudbury Five now take to the road for their next two games – February 29th vs the Titans; March 5th vs the Lightning – before returning to northern Ontario to play host to the BSL All-Star Game on Saturday, March 9th.

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