Riptide lose to Cape Breton in game that goes down to the wire
CAPE BRETON, N.S. – A last second three-point attempt by Daniel Dingle fell just short as the Saint John Riptide dropped a 105-102 nailbiter to the Cape Breton Highlanders Sunday at Centre 200.
For all his offensive exploits, it was a defensive play by Brent Massey that turned the game in Cape Breton’s favour. With five seconds left, and the Riptide trailing by a point, Massey blocked a Jeremiah Mordi layup attempt and then saved the ball from going out of bounds to teammate Deshaunt Walker. Walker was fouled and sank two free throws to seal the game for the Highlanders.
Cape Breton improved to 6-4, good for second place in the National Basketball League of Canada’s Atlantic Division. Saint John fell to 2-7.
Frank Bartley led the Riptide with a double-double, pouring in 26 points to go along with 10 rebounds. Brent Arrington added 19, while Randy Phillips, Mordi and Dingle each contributed 14 points for Saint John.
Massey topped the Highlanders with 25 points. Walker chipped in with 16, and former Riptide guard Aaron Redpath added 15.
The Highlanders lineup also featured former Saint John players Kenny Jones, who finished with 12 points, and Olu Famutimi, who scored two.
Saint John entered the final period with a 74-73 lead following a back-and-forth quarter that saw five lead changes and four ties.
Cape Breton took a 53-51 lead into the half on the strength of Massey’s 12-point second stanza, countering an 11-point quarter by Dingle, who at one point stroked three consecutive jumpers from beyond the arc.
The Riptide led 25-20 after a fast-paced first quarter that saw Saint John do most of its work inside the paint with the Highlanders doing the majority of their damage from three-point land.
For the game, Saint John shot 45 per cent from the field, going 8-23 from the land beyond. They were 22-32 from the free-throw line.
Cape Breton also shot 45 per cent, connecting on 10-27 three-point attempts and 23-29 shots from foul line.
The Riptide will play their fifth straight road game on Boxing Day when they travel to Charlottetown to take on the 2-6 Island Storm in a 7 p.m. start. The Storm got spanked on the road Sunday, losing 118-90 to the Windsor Express.
Saint John returns home on Thursday to face Atlantic Division rivals, the Halifax Hurricanes. Game time is 7 p.m. at Harbour Station.
On Saturday, Cape Breton will be in Saint John to take on the Riptide at 7 p.m.