April 1, 2018 8:12 pm

Lightning take regular season finale against Island Storm

The London Lightning next face the Niagara River Lions in the post-season.

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The London Lighting wrapped up the second-best record in the NBL Canada on Sunday with a 140-136 win over Charlottetown’s Island Storm at Budweiser Gardens.

London held their .700 winning percentage and ended the year at 27-13.

The game was postponed in February after a winter storm prevented the Charlottetown team from getting out of Atlantic Canada.

The Storm nearly managed to give London a sense of that feeling as they made it difficult for London to get out of the fourth quarter with what had been a sizeable lead earlier in the game.

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“We lost focus at the end of the game,” admitted Lightning forward Garrett Williamson. “There’s a lot at stake [in the upcoming playoffs] so the intensity and the focus will pick up. Anyone that comes across us is going to give us their best — we expect it and it’s going to be a good series.

“Anyone is good enough to come back in a game and beat us — we learned that a few times this year,” he added. “But it’s on now. We are playing for a championship — nothing else matters.”

The Lightning enter the post-season as the defending champions. They defeated the Halifax Hurricanes in six games last June to win their third title in franchise history.

Halifax ended the season one victory better than London in 2017-18.

Williamson led the Lightning with 25 points and added seven rebounds. Royce White chipped in 24 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

Ryan Anderson had 25 points off the bench and hit a game-high seven three-pointers.

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London head coach Keith Vassell was realistic after the game, following the pushback from the Storm in the fourth quarter that saw them outscore the Lightning 38-29.

“The focus was not where we wanted it to be, especially preparing for playoffs,” Vassell said. “I know that Niagara wants us pretty bad, so we [have to] make sure we are paying attention to detail and that we are capitalizing on the opportunities we are creating. In the playoffs, every game matters; every possession matters.”

The Lightning went 7-1 in eight games against the River Lions. London lost their season opener in Niagara and then reeled off seven consecutive victories against the Lions.

The start date for the series has yet to be determined.

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Windsor will play the St. John’s Edge in the other Central Division series. The K-W Titans missed the playoffs with an 8-32 record.

The Atlantic Division will feature the Island Storm against Halifax in round one. Saint John will meet Moncton in the 2-3 series. Cape Breton wound up on the outside of the post-season picture after they finished in fifth place.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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