Move over London Knights. There’s another team ready to hoist a championship banner to the rafters at the John Labatt Centre in nearby London, Ontario.
The London Lightning of the first-year National Basketball League of Canada defeated the Halifax Rainmen 116-92 in the final game of a best-of-five series on March 25 to win the NBL crown. In addition to London and Halifax, the league has teams in Quebec, St. John, Moncton, Summerside and Oshawa.
The London roster features a mix of U.S. and Canadian players, including forward Patrick Sewell who played for his hometown team. Former NBA player Michael Ray Richardson is the team’s head coach.
A crowd of 5,100 at the John Labatt Centre witnessed history as DeAnthony Bowden score 28 points to lead London to the crown, followed by Gabe Freeman with 22 and Eddie Smith with 20. Shamari Spears and Rodney Buford had 18 points each while Tim Ellis added 14 rebounds for the Lightning.
For more information on the NBL and the London Lightning, visit http://lightningbasketball.ca. For Buffalonians interested in a quick getaway north of the border, please visit www.londontourism.ca.