ST. CATHARINES – The Guelph Nighthawks used a big second half to get off to a a big start at the Canadian Eliete Basketball League's Summer Series tournament on Saturday.
The Nighthwks downed the expansion Ottawa BlackJacks 89-71 to start the tournament that is being used as a replacement for the second-year league's regular season, which was cancelled due to the COVID-19.
Nighthawks forward Jonathan Arledge had 14 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Darius McCallum led Guelph with 16 points.
A slow start for both teams, Ottawa led, 16-12, after one quarter, but the BlackJacks never found their offensive groove, shooting just 38 per cent (24/64) from the field.
Guelph tied the game heading into halftime and came out of the locker room making serious adjustments and finding a new gear of energy.
“Our mindset is just to go out there and compete and be tough and stick to the game plan that we had,” Nighthawks coach Charles Kissi said in a press release. “I thought our guy were tough and competed hard and didn’t panic. We learned a lot. I think we grew in that game, which is good for us - we have a lot more to play.”
Ottawa's Tommy Scrubb led all scorers with 18 points.
Both Guelph and Ottawa will have a day off before taking to the court on Monday. The Nighthawks will play Hamilton, who is looking for their first win of the Summer Series after a 97-85 loss to Niagara on Saturday.
The tournament features all seven of the league's teams playing 26 games. The final is set for Aug. 9.