Thomas Scrubb scored 24 points to lead the Niagara River Lions past the Hamilton Honey Badgers 84-81 as they clinched the second place in the 2021 CEBL regular season on Thursday.
Jaylen Babb Harrison and Philip Scrubb added 17 and 16, respectively, for Niagara. Lindell Wigginton had 17 to lead Hamilton, which saw all other four starters also get to double digits in points.
Hamilton started to cut into Niagara's game-long lead in the final quarter, which made for a tight Elam Ending.
The Honey Badgers even got the lead briefly at 79-78, but the River Lions held on to improve to 9-4 and claim the second straight win against Hamilton, which dropped to 9-5.
Niagara leapfrogged Hamilton for second place in the league standings and will go straight to the 2021 CEBL Championship Weekend semifinal along with hosts Edmonton Stingers.
The quarter-finals will feature Hamilton, the Fraser Valley Bandits (5-6), the Ottawa BlackJacks (4-8) and the Guelph Nighthawks (4-9). The full seeding order is yet to be determined as five regular season games are still to be played.
The Saskatchewan Rattlers (1-11) are last in the seven-team league and have no chance of featuring in the Championship Weekend. The event will take place at the Expo Centre in Edmonton from Aug. 18 to Aug. 22.
Hamilton played its last regular season game in Thursday's loss. Niagara will wrap up their campaign when they host the Blackjacks on Sunday.
Even if they lose and drop to 9-5, therefore tieing Hamilton's campaign, the River Lions will still have the upper hand as they won three of their four games with the Honey Badgers in the regular season.