Ontario’s minor league basketball team fell short against the Valley Vipers on the night of Jan. 31, at their home base, the Toyota Arena.
Basketball season resumes in full swing in the Inland Empire and the Ontario Clippers are eager to secure a handful of victories this season to improve their record in the Western Conference. They currently stand in 6th place, with opportunities to bump into the playoffs. Their season continues into the end of March and Ontario is looking to bounce back.
On the night of Jan. 31, Ontario walked off the court with a heartbreaking loss in a period of overtime. While the final score may have reflected a loss, Ontario put up a challenging fight against the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
At the start of the game, the scoreboard opened up with a 3-pointer from Days of the Valley Vipers, which was shortly followed by a jump shot from Ontario’s Wallace. The first period was neck to neck, and the Vipers began to accumulate a slow lead in the last five minutes of the first quarter, averaging about two to three points ahead of Ontario. With 3:54 left on the scoreboard in the first half, Ontario’s Moon secured a jump shot to tie the game, 24-24. The Ontario Clippers fought their way back to a three-point lead to end the first period, 29-32.
The start of the second quarter took off with a pull-up jump shot from Xavier Moon of the Ontario Clippers, adding two points to their existing lead. With 08:28 left on the scoreboard, RGV slowly began to extend its lead over Ontario. With approximately three and a half minutes left in the second quarter, Ontario began to make its comeback, taking away from RGV’s average of a seven-point lead. The excitement of the game continued and a tie was reached at 52-52 with 02:45 remaining on the scoreboard. The tie of the game was accomplished by Brown III’s 3-point running jump shot. Though Ontario showed immense effort, RGV still obtained the lead at halftime, 58-56.
The second half of the game held potential for both teams. From the beginning of the second period at 12:00, the scoreboard did not change until 10:40 when Ontario’s Darling finished a driving reverse layup. With 08:13 left, the game was in a tie once again, 64-64. The score remained stagnant from this point until minute 06:48 when Darling successfully shot and scored a driving floating jump shot. Though, their lead did not last long when a foul was called by Moon. RGV took this opportunity to complete a 2-point free throw. The scoreboard did not budge until 03:09 remained and Ontario’s Alatishe scored a tipped layup shot. The third period came to an end with RGV slightly behind at 76-81.
The fourth and final period of the game was highly significant for both teams and Ontario began to gain confidence with a lead over RGV by 8 points, with 09:59 still remaining. However, at minute 07:18, Ontario began to face difficulties finishing their shots and their score remained at 95 points with exactly 4:00 left on the scoreboard. The Vipers had gained much momentum and confidence by reaching 92 points. They were only 3 points away from tying the game. With 01:15 left in the final quarter, RGV was only down by one point, reflecting a score of 101-102. Ontario grew frustrated but did not let up. Though Ontario did their best to accumulate a higher lead, RGV followed right behind them and when the buzzer went off at the end of regular time, the game ended at a whopping tie of 105-105. But, the game could only result in one winner. Though both teams did their best, Rio Grande Valley secured their win over the Ontario Clippers, ending the game with a final score of 112-107.
The Ontario Clippers will continue to face a few more teams from across the country and attempt to climb their way up in the Western Conference table. You can watch them play at the Toyota Arena in Ontario, CA through March of this year.
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