For the 20th time in their last 23 games, the Canton Charge were once again victorious as they made a late fourth quarter surge to defeat the Fort Wayne Mad Ants 114-102.
Early on the Charge wasted little time gaining the initial advantage over Fort Wayne. Lamar Patterson produced for the Charge in the opening quarter as he scored 13 points and dished out five assists.
While the Charge offense found their stride in the first quarter, shooting a scorching 65 percent from the floor, the defense also stepped up and limited the Mad Ants to just 38.5 percent shooting in the opening 12 minutes.
At the end of first quarter, the Charge led Fort Wayne 32-24.
Fort Wayne began the second quarter on a 10-2 run and tied the game. Stephen Hicks and Marcus Simmons scored a combined 13 points for the Mad Ants, which helped spark their early second quarter run.
A balanced Charge attack was able to withstand the early push from Fort Wayne and built their lead back up to double digits as the second quarter came to a close. After 24 minutes of play the Charge led 59-48.
One key to the nine point lead for the Charge was their ability to score the ball at a high percentage (51.1 percent) and force the Mad Ants into several contested shots which led to Fort Wayne shooting just 34.8 percent from the floor.
John Lucas III led the charge in the third quarter for the Mad Ants as he recorded 12 points in the quarter and helped Fort Wayne cut the Charge lead to single digits late in the quarter.
Canton’s leading scorer this season, Quinn Cook, led the way for Canton in the third quarter, scoring eight of his 23 points in the third. “I made some shots but I think (John Lucas III) won the battle tonight, but overall I had an okay game,” Cook said on his performance.
Momentum swung in favor of Fort Wayne early in the fourth as they began the quarter on a 16-4 run and took brief three-point lead. Mad Ants guards Stephan Hicks and Xavier Thames spearheaded the comeback effort and combined to score 15 points in the quarter.
After the Charge called a timeout to regain their composure, they proceeded to go on a run of their own and regained the lead in little time.
Head coach Jordi Fernandez spoke on the problems the Charge had in the early part of the quarter, “We had a lot of problems on the boards, they got a lot of offensive rebounds and our effort to close possessions was not there and giving up so many second chance opportunities kills you at any level.”
Basketball games have those moments where momentum shifts from one team to another and this fourth quarter that had two plays that swung momentum in favor of Canton.
First, Sir’Dominic Pointer made a great defensive play as he blocked a dunk attempt, which brought the crowd to its feet. The block by Pointer then led to a fast break layup for Juvonte Reddic, which extended the lead for the Charge.
The other play was a missed dunk by Mad Ants guard CJ Fair that led to a made three by Cook, which increased the Canton lead to 99-94.
From that point on it was all Charge as they closed the game on a 15-8 and won their 25th game of the season.
Cook scored a team high nine points in the final quarter to help propel the Charge to a 114-102 victory.
“We had tremendous poise to come back and not panic, but we made our run at the end and we got it done,” Cook said.
Reddic has his best game of the season as he scored 24 points, pulled down 11 rebounds and was a headache for the Mad Ants defense all game long. “I just was able to finish tonight,”Reddic said in the locker room after the game. Reddic also credited his teammates for his success during the game.
The victory over the Mad Ants on Saturday extended the Charge’s Central Division winning streak to 10 games.
The Charge continue their home stand on Wednesday, March 9th as they face the Westchester Knicks.