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Fort Wayne Mad Ants v Raptors 905

Dial 905: Raptors 905 make light work of short-handed Fort Wayne Mad Ants

It took a while, but the Raptors 905 easily handled the visiting Fort Wayne Mad Ants for their third consecutive win.

Photo by Christian Bonin/NBAE via Getty Images

Everything is humming for coach Patrick Mutombo and his Raptors 905 team. They own the best record in the East (20-7) and are amidst the best month of their season (6-1). Every player on the roster delivered for coach Mutombo every time he called their number, so it wasn’t a shock when a short-handed Fort Wayne Mad Ants team came to Mississauga and got destroyed to the tune of 131-106.

The Raptors 905 shook off a sloppy start, allowing the Mad Ants to put up 46 points in the first 15 minutes of the game. The super small Mad Ants lineup’s speed and quickness got the best of the 905ers early, and the hosts had to dig deep to turn things around in the second period. However, a barrage of runs between the mid-second and third period blew that game wide-open, breaking the Mad Ants’ will in the second half.

Kevon Harris led all scorers with 25 points, with 17 coming in the first half, providing the spark that the team needed to make their decisive run in the second quarter. Reggie Perry had his usual double-double, putting up 24 points and 14 rebounds, but what’s impressive is his four 3PM on 50% shooting. Ashton Hagans had a career night with 15 assists while also adding 15 points. Justin Champagnie had a “quiet” 18 points but showed some flashes of his face-up game. Isaac Bonga almost had a triple-double, filling the stats with 10 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists, and 3 steals. He had an insane game-high +39 as he played centre for most of the big Raptors 905 runs.

The Mad Ants came to town short and short-handed, having to play at least three, if not four, players that are 6’4” and below. They were without their Two-Way Contract players (Terry Taylor and Duane Washington Jr), while also missing the league’s top scorer in former Raptors 905 legend Justin Anderson.

Newcomer Darius Adams led the Mad Ants with 23 points, while former Golden State Warriors Jordan Bell added 16 points, seven rebounds, and six blocks.

Despite the Raptors 905’s size and length advantage, the Mad Ants held an early 15-9 rebounding edge, as they outhustled and outworked the Raptors 905 early. It took a while, but the Raptors 905 tightened things up defensively, holding the Mad Ants to 35.6% shooting for the game.

The first period started off tighter than it should be. At best, the Mad Ants’ defense was pedestrian, and the Raptors 905 were consistently getting quality shots. However, at times, the hosts’ sloppy offense and their transition/early transition defense left a lot to be desired. Reggie Perry was just too big, too strong, and yes, too skilled for the Mad Ants bigs, as he coasted to 11 first quarter points. The Raptors 905’s biggest lead of the quarter was just three, despite solid contributions from Kevon Harris, who got them started with his early seven points in the quarter. Mad Ants’ Darius Adams’ shiftiness allowed them to take a 34-33 lead, as he put up 13 points in the quarter.

The Raptors 905 tried to put more pressure defensively to start the second half, but a badly executed fastbreak led to former Raptors 905 legend Andrew Rowsey’s layup on the other end. The Mad Ants’ small and speedy lineup continued to pose problems for the Raptors 905, as they’ve already hung 15 fastbreak points over the league’s best in transition, and we’re just 13 minutes into the game. Walt Lemon Jr’s 10th point got the Mad Ants their biggest lead at 44-35.

However, the Aaron Best/Ashton Hagans bench lineup started to pick up the defensive intensity, as they would go on a 14-5 run to tie the game at 49, forcing the Mad Ants to call a timeout. Unfortunately, for the Mad Ants coach, it was the Raptors 905 that responded well from the break. They went on a quick 6-0 run that was broken by Jordan Bell’s dunk. If there’s any indication that the momentum has swung in favour of the Raptors 905, there’s no better than this dunk by Kevon Harris:

A back-to-back three-pointer by Justin Champagnie and Breein Tyree broke the game open for the Raptors, giving them a 69-57 lead entering the half.

Things didn’t look good to start the second half for the Mad Ants, as Nate Hinton air-balled a wide-open corner three while Reggie Perry showed him how to do it properly on the other end. Bonga followed that up with a do-it-all two-way sequence: providing help defense on Rowsey’s layup, allowing Tyree to get a clean block, picking up the loose ball and initiate the transition, and quickly found Champagnie for an alley-oop. Not bad.

The Mad Ants responded with their own 5-0 run to cut the lead to 74-62, but Harris and Bonga got those five points back right away, forcing the Mad Ants to call a timeout. The Mad Ants tried to stall the Raptors 905’s momentum for a few possessions (a.k.a. Bonga just can’t finish strong), but Perry’s pick-six dunk started a 12-2 run, punctuated by Best’s corner three in transition, giving the Raptors 905 a 95-69 lead with less than four minutes left in the third period.

Sadly, the Mad Ants never recovered, with the rest of the game becoming a glorified pickup game, and the lead pretty much didn’t move past the 26-30-point range. Instead, enjoy some of the highlight plays here:

Up Next: The Raptors 905 get a few days off, and will travel to Wisconsin to face the Herd on March 23rd.

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