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CEBL TAKEAWAYS: Scarborough wins fourth-straight as Jones, Williams step up

A screenshot from a video of Scarborough Shooting Stars players during warmup

BY ELI SILVERSTONE


The Scarborough Shooting Stars defeated the Ottawa BlackJacks 105-91 at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre on Thursday night.


The reigning CEBL champion Shooting Stars extended their win streak to four games and moved to 4-2 this season with the win, while Ottawa fell to 1-5.


A back-and-forth first quarter spearheaded by nine points from guard/forward Tevian Jones ended 23-19 in favour of Scarborough. The lead increased to 49-41 at halftime before Scarborough really opened the gap in the third, leading 76-63. 


From that point on, whenever Ottawa would make a run, Scarborough had the answer and kept the BlackJacks at bay. Jones finished what he started, hitting the Target Time game-winner to finish off the 105-91 win. 


Here are four takeaways from the Shooting Stars’ win. 


Tevian Jones is a huge difference-maker for this team

Jones came over from the NBA G League and New Orleans Pelicans system and has had a fantastic start to his CEBL career. 


While most of the attention on Scarborough has (fairly) been on Kadre Gray and Jackson Rowe, Jones has been an extremely reliable player. On Thursday, the left-handed wing started off the first half with 15 points before finishing with a team-high 23. He also hit the Target Time game-winner for the second home game in a row. 


“I just wanted to put my team in a winning position and I just trusted my teammates to execute it,” Jones said of the big shot after the game.


Jones has scored 10 points or more in every game this year.


The Shooting Stars love to push the pace

After a defensive rebound—something head coach Devan Blair wants more of—, it’s not rare to see three, four, or even all five Shooting Stars synchronizingly sprinting up the court. It typically comes with a couple of passes leading to an alley-oop. 


With a roster full of good passers and athletic jumpers, it’s an exciting and profitable style of play. These breakouts are usually quarterbacked by point guards Kadre Gray and Shamar Givance and finished off by high-flying wings Jackson Rowe, Tevian Jones, Donavan Williams, and Jalen Adaway. 


“It’s high risk/high reward because we are playing that fast and there’s no room for error,” said Gray after the game. “We know this is the pace we want to play at. We want to be the highest-scoring team in the league.” 


Donavan Williams had a fantastic CEBL debut 

Williams came to Scarborough with a lot of NBA G-League experience and some NBA experience with the Atlanta Hawks but hadn’t played a live game in about six weeks due to an injury. 


In his CEBL debut, the Houston, Texas, product dropped 17 points and 6 rebounds as a major factor in the win. 


Blair could see how hungry Williams was to play.


“He’s great to coach and he’s been chomping at the bit to get out there,” the coach said.


The 6’6 wing fits the Shooting Stars roster perfectly as both a great shooter and an uber-athletic finisher. 


“Coming into this offence was a very easy transition… the guys made it very easy for me,” said Williams. 


Despite a brand-new roster, this is a tight-knit group

With only four returning players and a new head coach, it was up in the air how this Scarborough roster was going to mesh. After losing the first two games of the season, the Shooting Stars have now won four in a row and the team credits their growing chemistry as a huge factor. 


When Ottawa went on a run in the third quarter, Coach Blair wasn’t the one who had to motivate the group. 


“When I got to the huddle, Kalif (Young) was already policing them,” he said post-game.


Gray said the group has each other’s backs.


 “I love this group. Everybody’s gelling and making jokes with each other, and you see it on the court. When a guy goes down, all of us are running over to pick him up,” he said.


NEXT: The Scarborough Shooting Stars take on the Montreal Alliance on Thursday, June 16, 2024, at the Auditorium de Verdun. Stay tuned for more from Intermission Sports.










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