The Rustlers men's basketball team played host to the Edmonton Storm on the weekend, opening the Rustlers exhibition play. The Edmonton Storm consisted of former Lakeland Rustlers and ACAC players, as well as others from the Edmonton area.
Saturday, the Rustlers came out fast in the first quarter, applying pressure that Edmonton could not handle. The Rustlers pressure gave them easy scoring opportunities and helped them build a 41-22 lead after the first quarter. After the first quarter, the two teams played nearly even, with neither team winning a quarter by more than 3.
Edmonton could not come back from the Rustlers early lead, as the Rustlers won 97-77. The Rustlers were led by third year guard Ricardo Joseph who scored 24 points for the Rustlers and third year forward Artavis Holiday who added 21 points.
Edmonton came out strong and ready to play on Sunday. Lakeland continued to apply strong, full-court pressure, but Edmonton was able to find ways to break it. In the half court, the Rustlers faced Edmonton's zone defence but found ways to score. After the first quarter, the Rustlers led 25-18. Both teams came out strong to start the second quarter.
Lakeland was able to increase their lead with strong play attacking the basket and good shooting. The Rustlers continued to apply pressure and force turnovers, allowing them to build a 10 point lead at the half, 50-40. In the second half, the Rustlers came out strong, getting steals and fast breaks, increasing their lead to 24. At the end of the quarter, the Rustlers led 75-55.
Edmonton started the fourth quarter on a 13-3 run to cut into the Rustlers lead. The Rustlers got a tip-in off of an inbounds from Artavis Holiday and back to back 3-pointers from PJ Gardner to get back in control of the game and regain a 25 point lead. Edmonton made a push late, but the Rustlers won the game 102-83.
Rustlers Head Coach Sheray Thomas was happy with what he saw from his team in the two games. "It was good to get out there and play against another team," Thomas said, "even though it was a team that was just put together. We want to get out and play in transition, so it was good to see us do that, but it was disappointing to see that we don't always come away with something when we have numbers."
The Rustlers return to the court Saturday, October 7th for an exhibition game at home against the Briercrest Clippers. The game tips-off at 4:00 pm.
The regular season begins on October 13th when the Rustlers will travel to Edmonton to take on the King's Eagles, with the home opener on October 14 against the same King's Eagles.