The Canton Charge entered Friday night’s home contest against the first place Fort Wayne Mad Ants looking for their third straight win. Marcus Thornton was back on assignment from the Cleveland Cavaliers after signing a 10-day contract with the team on Wednesday. They played the Mad Ants tough but fell short at the buzzer 112-110.
Fort Wayne got off to a hot start in the opening quarter as they shot 65% from the floor including 57% from three. Jarrod Uthoff scored eight straight points as the Mad Ants jumped out to a 22-12 lead with 5:12 to play in the quarter. The Charge were able to recover quickly as they cut the Fort Wayne lead down to one at 24-23 on a Kevin Olekaibe rainbow three. Despite the Mad Ants hot shooting to start the game Canton only trailed 30-25 after one. London Perrantes led the Charge with seven points while Uthoff had 13 points for the Mad Ants.
Canton stormed back in the second quarter and took their first lead at 35-34 on Marcus Thornton’s three free throws after being fouled on a three point shot attempt. From that point on Canton outscored Fort Wayne 24-16 to close out the half with a 59-50 lead. London Perrantes was strong again with another seven point quarter leading the Charge with 14 points at the half. Jacorey Williams was strong around the rim in the quarter as he scored six of his 11 points. Roosevelt Jones ended the first half with eight points, nine rebounds and 4 assists. The Charge shot 50% from the floor in the first half.
The momentum swung back to the Mad Ants in the third quarter. After trailing by eight early in the quarter they were able to pull even at 77. They then went on a 9-0 scoring run to take an 84-77 lead with 2:54 left in the quarter. It was this spurt that ended up being the difference in the game. The Charge were able to crawl back to within four at the end of the third and trailed 89-85 heading into the final quarter.
“Third period…they scored 39 points and we didn’t defend,” said coach Reinking. “That’s where the momentum went to them.”
The final quarter was about as closely contested as could be as the game was tied nine times. The first six minutes of the quarter quickly became the Grant Jerrett show as he scored 11 of the first 13 points of the quarter which included a big blocked shot on DeQuan Jones to end the run. His scoring flurry put Canton up 98-96 with 6:19 to play in the game. The two teams then went back and forth like two prized fighters for the final six minutes of the game. In that final six minutes the score was tied five times and the largest lead was three points. Once again Jerrett came up big as he hit a huge three to put Canton up 108-105 with 1:32 to play. DeQuan Jones answered with a three of his own tying the game at 108. After a Perrantes missed layup Fort Wayne’s Tra-Deon Hollins scored on a nice drive inside giving the Mad Ants a 110-108 lead with 33.5 seconds to play. Out of a Charge timeout Marcus Thornton hit a 21′ jump shot to tie it back up at 110 with 17.4 seconds to play. A bad defensive sequence for the Charge at the other end led to a Ben Moore layup giving Fort Wayne the lead at 112-110 with only four seconds to play. Marcus Thornton could not get a good look on a three at the buzzer as his attempt clanked off the backboard as time expired. Nate Reinking talked about what they were trying to do on the final play.
“It was a play there were a couple of looks off of that,” said Reinking. “That was the shot he (Thornton) chose to take.”
Marcus Thornton also talked about the last possession and what he could have done better.
“I should have drove it but I did want to shoot the three,” said Thornton. “They played good defense and I just tried to get the ball up at that point.”
Marcus Thornton in his return to the Charge led a balanced scoring attack with 22 points. Jacorey Williams, Grant Jerrett and London Perrantes each scored 20 points. Roosevelt Jones had eight points, 13 rebounds and five assists.
DeQuan Jones led Fort Wayne with 27 points and 10 rebounds. Ben Moore dropped 24 points on 11/15 from the floor.
The Charge (15-24) are in Erie tomorrow night to take on the Bayhawks.