The Halifax Rainmen dug deep and found a reserve of energy few thought they had. And they used it to dig themselves out of a deep hole.
The Rainmen, playing their sixth game in eight days with their two off-days occupied by air travel, had remarkable spring in their step on Thursday in a 93-85 win over the London Lightning in front of a roaring crowd of 3,842 at the Metro Centre.
The win brought the Rainmen back from a 2-0 deficit in the National Basketball League of Canada final and forced a fifth and deciding game on Sunday at 3 p.m. in Ontario.
“We, as a team, are exhausted,” admitted veteran forward Eric Crookshank. “We’re exhausted.”
“It’s so tough right now,” added point guard Taliek Brown, shaking his head. “We’re just pulling through to try to make it happen. Finally, we get some rest.”
Trailing by six points at halftime, it looked grim for the Rainmen. But rather than allow fatigue to wash over them, they dominated the Lightning with a 26-10 third quarter and grabbed a 10-point lead. It was all the separation they needed.
London won every other quarter, but was stymied by Halifax’s swarming full-court defence in the third and other critical moments.
“Coach told us (at halftime) we weren’t playing defence and we weren’t playing aggressive, so we decided to play aggressive in the second half,” said Crookshank. “It was a great outcome.”
Brown had a team-high 20 points, including 16 in the second half. Lawrence Wright added 18 and Chris Hagan 16.