The Capital City GoGo had been struggling as of late. They were 1-3 in their last four games and were coming into last night’s game on a three game losing streak. They came out with great defensive energy and endured a chippy, physical contest to pull out the four point win. The GoGo sorely needed a victory and they did what they had to do to come out on top at home.
This was a weird game from the offset that saw a technical foul called (Devin Robinson) 8:24 into the first quarter. Both teams came out playing a little more hard nosed than we’re used to seeing which led to some turnovers. Neither team was able to establish a rhythm early. The game started to nearly spiral out of control but the referees did a good job of maintaining order. They started calling the game a little tighter in an effort to stop the physicality from getting out of hand. Of course this led to the players having more “spirited” engagement with the refs which resulted in Robinson getting the tech.
In regards to gameplay, the GoGo fought through the raggedness in the early going to establish some type of offensive consistency towards the end of the quarter. Jalen Jones was extremely aggressive going to the basket and on the boards. Jerian Grant was effective as well going perfect from the field and the free throw line in the opening period. The Raptors 905 showed some grit on the interior, got some early blocks and made life difficult in the lane for Capital City. The GoGo led 32-27 and the end of the first.
The second quarter began much like the first. Both teams struggled to get into a flow as the game got increasingly more physical. Devin Robinson got his second technical foul and was ejected in the first minute of the period. It was not a pretty game up to this point and it looked the the GoGo were starting to wear down. Tyler Ennis started to come alive and went coast to coast for layups on consecutive possessions. The defensive energy and intensity the GoGo showed in the first quarter started to fade. They were able to regain their footing in the last three minutes of the half as Phil Booth and Ike Iroegbu gave them a lift offensively. Jalen Jones continued to make his presence felt all over the court as well. The GoGo took a 61-54 lead into the break at halftime and seemed to be in control of the game.
The third quarter was a back and forth affair as the basket started to get bigger for both teams. Tyler Ennis and Paul Watson got into a groove for the Raptors and Phil Booth, Jerian Grant and Iroegbu continued to find ways to generate offense. The officials still kept a close eye on things and called the game extremely tight. They used the whistle to maintain control as six techs were called through three quarters. Emotions ran high as the game was tightly contested throughout and the players attempted to gain a competitive advantage by any means. The Raptors employed full court defense to try to speed the GoGo up and disrupt their flow. The GoGo responded with patience and crisp ball movement to get good looks. At the end of the third quarter, the GoGo were up 92-90.
In the fourth quarter, the GoGo started early and jumped out to an eleven point lead. Stefan Jankovic scored five quick points during that stretch and Jalen Jones continued to be disruptive on the defensive end. The GoGo seemed to have the game well in hand but the Raptors responded with a 16-0 run to take a five point lead with 4:38 to go. Both teams traded baskets with the Raptors getting the better end of the exchanges until Phil Booth hit a huge three to tie the game at 121-121 and was fouled. he would make the ensuing free throw to give the GoGo a one point lead. They would not trail again for the remaining 1:12 to hold on for the three point victory.
This was a good win for the GoGo as they have had some issues closing out games recently. Coach Richman spoke to the development and growth of the team throughout the season in regards to being poised in tightly contested games. They also moved the ball extremely well which had been their Achilles heel in the recent losing streak. They had 25 assists in this game after having 24 combined assists in the last two losses. The GoGo will be back at home on Friday to take on the College Park Skyhawks before a quick road trip to Westchester.