Game-Winning Three Powers Saskatchewan Rattlers to 99-96 Upset Over Winnipeg Sea Bears

Logo from Canadian Elite Basketball League website.

Josh Kozelj

A game-winning three pointer by Justin Wright-Foreman helped the Saskatchewan Rattlers (5-9) pull off a 99-96 upset against the Winnipeg Sea Bears (9-6) at the Canada Life Centre. 

Wright-Foreman finished with a team-high 26 points, 9 assists, and 5 rebounds to keep the Rattlers in playoff contention, and prevent the Sea Bears from clinching a playoff position on home court. 

Quenton Decosey, in his fourth game for the Rattlers, put up 20 points in a starting role, while Anthony Tsegakele and Adong Makuoi provided a combined 25 points and 17 rebounds off the bench. 

“It would be crazy if I said it was not just the shot,” Wright-Foreman said after the game. “Yes, it was a big-time shot that won the game, but I don’t win that game without my teammates.” 

On the final possession, after three missed opportunities to secure the upset, Wright-Foreman dribbled just outside the left side of three point line before pulling up from long range and knocking down his fifth three of the night. 

“I just had to get it done,” Wright-Foreman said. “That’s just simply how I thought about it, we came down, got some good looks at the basket, in my head it was just time to go home.” 

Both Wright-Foreman and Teddy Allen, the top two scorers in the CEBL, did not disappoint in their third and final meeting of the regular season. 

Allen put up a game-high 36 points and 8 three pointers. The Phoenix, Arizona native also shot better than 50 per cent from the field and recorded 3 rebounds and 3 assists. 

“He’s been so efficient since the beginning of the season,” Sea Bears head coach Mike Taylor said. “This is as a marked man… Teddy can really carry a team and we’re proud of his effort.” 

E.J. Anosike chipped in with 25 points and 9 rebounds. 

But it was Saskatchewan’s ability to win the battle on the glass to snap their three-game losing streak, and earn their first victory under interim head coach Tanner Massey. 

“Rebounding was the biggest thing heading into the game,” Massey said. “We had to do a good job on the glass and limit their second chance opportunities. We felt confident in our defence in the half court and our guys just hustled.” 

Saskatchewan also scored 23 more bench points than Winnipeg in the game. 

“I think our bench has been the best bench in the league,” Taylor said. 

“But today is was not their day, they were outplayed. We gotta get everyone ready to go, and that’s a credit to the Saskatchewan guys who came in with a lot of energy, defended, and made the hustle plays.” 

Winnipeg, who came into today leading the league in offensive rebounds with 15 per contest, were outrebounded tonight. The Rattlers secured 17 offensive boards—including six by Makuoi—and edged the Sea Bears in total rebounds 45-40. 

Both teams had no trouble finding the bottom of the net early on. 

Winnipeg seven of their first eight field goals, including their first four three pointers. Every starter, aside from Shane Osayande, recorded a triple within the first five minutes of the game, and Winnipeg held a 11-point lead in the first quarter. 

But the momentum started to shift after a Wright-Foreman lob to Tsegakele towards the end of the quarter. 

The CEBL’s leading scorer, who faced constant double teams tonight, followed the alley-oop up with a three pointer on the next possession to even the game at 29 after one. 

Both Wright-Foreman and Allen had 10 points after the first. 

In the second quarter, Allen added six more points to keep the Sea Bears within striking distance. However, Wright-Foreman’s ability to find open looks—including a shot clock-beating three by Mike Nuga—for his teammates helped Saskatchewan take a 51-48 lead after two. Wright-Foreman had 6 assists at the half. 

Makuoi, who recorded four offensive rebounds in the first half, started the third quarter with a put-back slam to keep Saskatchewan out front. 

But 12 points from Allen in the frame and steady contributions from AJ Hess, who finished 16 points and 4 threes, helped tie the game at 72 by the end of the quarter. 

The Rattlers then used a 10-0 run to start the fourth quarter to jump ahead, but the Sea Bears responded with a 8-0 run of their own—capped off with a dribble-drive by Allen—to climb within two points to start target score time. 

Both teams traded blows in target score, but a corner three pointer by Decosey pulled the Rattlers to within one point of victory. And after a pair of free throws by Anosike, Wright-Foreman ended the game with a three. 

With the win, Saskatchewan moved to within one half game of Vancouver for fourth place in the western conference, and will look to build on their win streak on Thursday with a date against the Stingers in Edmonton.  Winnipeg, meanwhile, will look to get back in the win column on Friday night when they take on the Montréal Alliance at home.