For Immediate Release - July 3, 2021
Cody John had 23 points, including the Elam Ending winner for the Hamilton Honey Badgers (3-1) as they topped their regional rivals, the Guelph Nighthawks (0-2), 102-98 on Saturday afternoon at FirstOntario Centre live on national TV (CBC TV).
The game was a fast-paced, high-scoring affair that saw both teams get plenty of opportunities in transition and finish the first half with over fifty points. Hamilton tied the league-high number of threes made by a team in the 2021 season with 14 made.
Hamilton came out with great energy in its home opener. The Honey Badgers were ultimately able to seal their third win on the season thanks to a full team effort. Hamilton’s bench outscored Guelph 41 to 13, and the team had five players who scored in double-digits.
“Secondary scoring for us is huge,”
said head coach Ryan Schmidt.
“We know Lindell is the kind of guy who’s going to be the defensive focus for our opponent but if we get guys like JV, Trevon, and Cody to step up and spread the scoring around a bit, it’s going to make us that much harder to guard.”
Alex Johnson also provided a boost for Hamilton off the bench in the first half draining a pair of three-pointers and attacking the basket to finish a tough layup. The veteran guard’s presence helped to harness the energy and excitement of the first quarter.
Hamilton rode this momentum throughout the duration of the half and this sparked JV Mukama began to heat up. The six-foot-eight forward made some deep three-pointers, reminding everyone why he was voted a CEBL First Team All-Star last summer. Mukama nearly notched a double-double in today’s contest and finished with 18 points and nine rebounds.
Cody John took over in the third quarter scoring 16 of his 23 points in that frame. The six-foot-three guard hit a pair of three-pointers before draining a fadeaway jump shot and emphatically pointing to his teammates Mukama and Lindell Wigginton who were hyped up on the bench. John scored more points in that one quarter than he has in a single game this season.
“It’s just my teammates believing in me and the coaching staff believing in me,”
“My teammates found me in the right position and then all I had to do was make shots. I’m just playing free.”
John spent last season with the Honey Badgers but played limited minutes, averaging 6.6 points per game through eight appearances in the Summer Series.
“We saw the potential in Cody, we saw the talent and to his credit he’s been working his butt off for this whole last year,”
“I just told him that performance was well deserved based on his work ethic and his mindset and just sticking with it. I’m proud of him.”
Cat Barber led the way for the Nighthawks with 30 points on 54 per cent shooting. Barber brings a host of NBA G-League experience to the Nighthawks and despite the losses, he had some high praise for the CEBL after his first two games with Guelph.
“To me I honestly don’t feel a difference, the levels of play are the same,”
Guelph was aggressive on defence and this heavy on ball pressure that led to turnovers from the Honey Badgers that the Nighthawks were able to convert in transition.
For the second straight game, Guelph’s speedy guards were able to get into the key and finish at the rim. Once the Nighthawks’ established their ability to get into the paint this drew Hamilton defenders in and opened up good looks for Guelph’s perimeter shooters. The Nighthawks shot 61 per cent from three-point range in the first half with Barber and Isaiah Reese leading the way. Reese finished with 23 points and six rebounds.
The team carried this momentum into the second half where back to back three-pointers by Justin Jackson helped Guelph overtake the lead early in the third quarter. Jackson also finished a fast break layup in the fourth and took contact to cut the Honey Badgers lead to one. The Canadian finished with 22 points and five rebounds. Guelph’s aggressive play in the paint forced the Honey Badgers forwards into foul trouble but the Nighthawks weren’t quite able to take advantage of this down the stretch.
“I thought we got a lot of people involved today but when you get opportunities you have to make them,”
said head coach Charles Kissi.
“We have to capitalize and finish.”
The Nighthawks (0-2) will have their chance at redemption when they face off against the Honey Badgers (3-1) on Monday at 7:00 p.m. ET at the FirstOntario Centre.
All CEBL games will be available for live streaming on the CEBL’s new OTT streaming service, CEBL+, cbcsports.ca, the free CBC Gem streaming service, the CBC Sports App for iOS and android devices, and on Twitch.
About The CEBL.
A league created by Canadians for Canadians, the CEBL has the highest percentage of Canadian players of any professional league in the country, with 75 percent of its current rosters being Canadians. Players bring experience from the NBA, NBA G League, top international leagues, the Canadian National team program, and top NCAA programs as well as U SPORTS. The only First Division Professional League Partner of Canada Basketball, the CEBL season typically runs from May through August. Head to CEBL.ca for more information or follow us on Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, LinkedIn, Facebook & YouTube.