SAINT JOHN – The Saint John Riptide opened their season at home last night at Harbour Station versus the visiting Cape Breton Highlanders. Both teams came out hot out of the gates and a thrilling first quarter ended 32-31 in favour of the Riptide.
The second quarter saw things tighten up defensively however Gabe Freeman began to impose his will on the opposition. The Riptide outscored Cape Breton 26-20 in the second quarter to take a 7 point lead into the half-time break. Freeman had 20 points in the first half.
Following a half-time that featured one lucky fan taking a shot from center court for the chance to win $10,000 both teams struggled to find a flow offensively in the third quarter. New Riptide Head Coach Nelson Terroba made effective use of his bench moving pieces in and out the lineup throughout the third quarter.
Early in the 4th quarter it appeared that the visiting squad might spoil the Riptide home opener however Terroba’s bench management appeared to pay off down the stretch as the Riptide pulled away and won the ballgame by 14 points which was emphasized by a thunderous fast break reverse slam dunk by Riptide rookie JD Tisdale.
Freeman led all scorers with 33 points and 9 rebounds while Riptide rookie Malcolm Miller added 20 points. Horace Wormely dished out 9 assists and Anthony Stover had 4 blocks while dominating the paint all night. In all, 5 Riptide players scored in double digits and two more had 9 apiece. Ari Stewart had 27 points for the Highlanders.
The Riptide return to action tonight versus the St John’s Edge of Newfoundland at 7PM at Harbour Station and look to remain unbeaten at home.