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CEBL Recap: Shooting Stars lose first home game of season to River Lions

Scarborough Shooting Stars players set up on offence while Cat Barber prepares to pick up a rolling basketball.


The Niagara River Lions defeated the Scarborough Shooting Stars 98-77 on Tuesday night at Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre in a battle at the top of the CEBL’s Eastern Conference.

Scarborough’s undefeated streak at home was broken as Niagara became the third CEBL team to reach 10 wins on the season. The 400th regular season CEBL game pushed the River Lions’ record to 10-5 and dropped the Shooting Stars to 7-7.

“Just gotta throw this one in the trash. Not a good game,” said Scarborough’s Kadre Gray after the game. 

The first quarter was a back-and-forth affair, ending 19-19. 2022 CEBL MVP Khalil Ahmed got off to a hot start for Niagara, scoring nine points in the first quarter. For Scarborough, the CEBL’s all-time leading scorer, Cat Barber, continued his tenacious attack of the rim, scoring five points in the first quarter and a team-high 16 for the night. 

The second quarter was where Niagara pulled away. They ambushed Scarborough with a three-point barrage and took a 51-36 lead. Ahmed continued to shoot the cover off the ball as he finished the first half with 18 points on 62% shooting. 

Devoe Joseph provided a bright spot for Scarborough in the quarter, going 3/3 from the field and scoring eight points in the second quarter. 

“We have to get back to doing the things that make us successful—getting the job done with more energy and more confidence,” said Joseph. 

With the NBA Summer League starting this week, Scarborough lost three of their top four scorers as Tevian Jones, Donovan Williams and Jackson Rowe headed off to their respective teams. The team knows they have adjustments to make to get where they want to be, with whoever suits up.

“We’re just learning. Our roster has lots of changes and we’re trying to figure out the sweet spot,” said Gray. 

Scarborough Shooting Stars guard Nicholas Lewis poises to shoot a basketball with fans sitting behind him
Scarborough Shooting Stars guard Nicholas Lewis prepares to shoot during warmups on July 9, 2024. (Eli Silverstone/INTERMISSION SPORTS)

Players aren’t using it as an excuse but it’s worth noting the Shooting Stars have had a different starting lineup in every game this year. 

There have been some positives with the turnover. New signing Aaron Best has posted double-digit scoring performances in his first two games with the Shooting Stars. 

The veteran guard can see the potential on this roster but realizes it’s not a finished product. 

“We have a lot of talented guys, but we haven’t put it all together. Once we do, it will be pretty special,” said Best. 

Niagara continued to roll in the third quarter, creating a large 73-49 gap. Scarborough was ice cold from the field, shooting 30% while Niagara shot a very efficient 53%. The Shooting Stars lead the CEBL in three-pointers attempted as well as three-pointers made but shot a brutal 26% from three in the loss on Tuesday.

“We just played a very good defensive team,” Scarborough interim head coach Kane Martinez said. “They took [away] exactly what we wanted to do.” 

Scarborough went on a little run in Target Time—including seven straight points from Barber—but it was far too late. Ahmed finished what he started for the River Lions, ending with a game-high 25 points. The rest of Niagara’s starters all showed up as well—Aaryn Rai had 25 points, while Jahvon Blair and Nathan Cayo poured in 15 each. 

“We had some spurts in the second half. Just building on that, looking like we were together no matter what the lead was,” said Gray. 

The Shooting Stars will hope to hone in on that as they look to stay near the top of the Eastern Conference with six games remaining. 

NEXT: The Scarborough Shooting Stars take on the Edmonton Stingers on Saturday, July 12, at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre. Stay tuned for more from Intermission Sports.


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