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Dominance in Paint Leads Colts to Steal Algonquin's Thunder

It was a highly efficient night for Centennial Colts centre Dieu Merci Betoukoumessou, finishing with 19 points in the Colts' second straight victory, 85-60, over the Algonquin Thunder at the Athletic and Wellness Centre Saturday afternoon. (Joao De Franco/Colts Media)
It was a highly efficient night for Centennial Colts centre Dieu Merci Betoukoumessou, finishing with 19 points in the Colts' second straight victory, 85-60, over the Algonquin Thunder at the Athletic and Wellness Centre Saturday afternoon. (Joao De Franco/Colts Media)

By: Jamie Branje

Dieu Merci Betoukoumessou starred again for the Centennial Colts, as his 19 points helped push the home team to a 85-60 victory over the visiting Algonquin Thunder. 

The third-year leader of the team, who was lauded for his performance in the win last night against La Cite, again dominated offensively and defensively, picking up nine rebounds and providing a strong presence in the paint. 

He was helped by Kyrin Henlin, who put up 11 points and seven rebounds, as well as Josh Sales, who accounted for eight points and 12 assists.

"Kyrin really had a big second half. Quinton Paul (and) Quentin Herbert had some big shots, and a lot of our guys crashed the boards in the third and fourth quarter, which was really nice to see," noted Betoukoumessou when speaking after the game.

A major strength for the Colts against the Thunder was their size, and it was on display as the Thunder really had no answer for the six-foot-eight centre Betoukoumessou. Centennial dominated Algonquin, 44-16, in points in the paint and led the rebounding battle, 39-27.

"It wasn't really part of the game plan. They were just unlucky to not have height (and) we had the height on our team," said Betoukoumessou after the game.

Simon Desta led the way for the Thunder, as he gathered 18 points with one assist, one rebound, one steal and a block from the point guard position. 

Centennial (3-2) claimed their second win in as many days, and their third on the season after being awarded a victory due to forfeit against George Brown for putting an ineligible player on the court. 

The Thunder (1-4) dropped their third of three road games in the young season, after losing a heartbreaker in the final seconds against Georgian yesterday. 

Algonquin just couldn't get anything going in the fourth, it seemed as though every basket they scored would be matched by the Colts on the other end of the court. 

The Colts closed the game on a 14-4 run, largely indicative of the game flow during the second half. Defensive execution and rebounding was well in favour of Centennial's side, and Algonquin could not keep up as the game wore on.

Henlin intercepted a pass and went the distance to finish with the emphatic slam dunk, pushing the lead to 19 with three and a half minutes remaining, all but sealing the game for the Colts. 

Centennial's lead was as high as 19 in the third quarter, but Algonquin was able to stick around and cut it to 13 thanks to a 6-0 run in the final minute of the period. Entering the final quarter, Colts led 63-48 after outscoring Algonquin 26-18 in the third. 

"We were happy with how our team played more in the second half. In the first half, it wasn't too strong but we were still up," said Betoukoumessou. "We let them hang around for a little longer than we'd like to," he added. 

The host Colts led 37-30 at half time, after outscoring Algonquin 17-11 in the second quarter. Algonquin did not score in the final two minutes.

Betoukoumessou led all scorers with 13 at half time, on 6-of-8 shooting, but he exited in the second with an ankle injury. Simon Desta led Algonquin with 11, including two three-point shots made. 

Second quarter defence contributed to the Colts taking control of the game, after they led by just a point at the conclusion of the first quarter. Walshak Yusef added two huge blocks off the bench in the final minute to power his team's defence. Centennial grabbed its first lead with 15 seconds remaining in the opening quarter when Josh Sales drained both from the free throw line.

The Centennial Colts will be back in action looking for their third straight win on November 9th against the Fleming Knights, in Peterborough.