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A game four loss brings the Five season to an end

Basketball is a game of momentum swings; few who know the sport well would deny that.

But even within that context, game four of the series between the London Lightning and Sudbury Five really took this to the extreme.

In the end, a late and quite frantic rally by the homeside would come up short as London eliminated the Five in four games, topping the locals 114-111 last Friday at the Sudbury Arena.

Coming off a huge 128-118 road win in London to prolong the series, the Five resembled little that same team early in game four, falling behind by as many as 13 points (34-21) in the opening quarter of play.

But with the Lightning encountering foul troubles in the ensuing 12 minutes or so, Sudbury ramped up the intensity defensively and somehow managed to hold the visitors to just 12 points, in total, in the second quarter, the Five leading 47-46 heading into the break.

The Jeckyll and Hyde crew returned about midway through quarter three.

Leading 57-56 with six minutes to play, the Five would surrender a 10-0 run in under three minutes, with London up comfortably by double digits with only Q4 remaining (79-65).

Nothing screamed of a Sudbury comeback when a layup by Freddie McSwain had the scoreboard reading 108-95 with just 1:58 to play when the unexpected happen.

But a series of London turnovers, a key three-pointer from Ja'Myrin Jackson and a boatload of free throws suddenly had the Sudbury crowd on its feet, the gap narrowed to 111-109 with forty seconds to play.

Unfortunately, it was not to be as Sudbury lost a game that it likely deserved to lose, with London the better team for much longer stretches of play.

While Chris Jones (35 points) was back in fine form following a league-imposed suspension in game three, it was Antoine Mason off the bench who proved to be the difference-maker late in this contest, finishing with 24 points.

Billy White (14) and Jeremiah Mordi (10) also chipped in offensively for the Lightning, who did a tremendous job of containing Sudbury sharp-shooter A.J. Mosby Jr (25 pts), with the Five offense concentrated around he and J.D. Miller (32) and Ja'Myrin Jackson (27).

No other Sudbury player had more than nine points as the visitors limited the Five to just eight three-pointers, helping offset an encounter where the losing side went 39-51 from the foul line (versus 20-27 for the winners).

With the locals spending much of the 2023-2024 season seemingly trying to find an identity as a basketball team that they felt could ensure success, to mostly no avail, the off-season promises to be an interesting one as Logan Stutz and company head back to the drawing board.

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