Can you feel the buzz?
The Edmonton Stingers kicked off their inaugural season tonight playing their first-ever game at home. The crowd was electric, and the city of Edmonton witnessed an excellent game of basketball. The Stingers faced the Niagara River Lions in a close game that spilt into overtime.
The Stingers were able to clinch an OT victory beating the River Lions 118-105. For your first-ever Stingers game, it’s your first-ever Edmonton Stingers recap on the WCSN!
The full box score can be found here.
Coach Craddock stated he wanted to play a quick style of play, and that was evident in the first quarter of Stingers’ history. EDM’s Mamadou Gueye hit the team’s first three of all-time early in the quarter, which was highlighted by a fast tempo, good hustle on the board and a cold start for the opposing NIA River Lions. The Stingers were able to gain a 16–5 to lead due to their explosiveness and good three-point shooting. NIA’s Ryan Anderson was able to hit a clutch three towards the end of the quarter to lessen the gap. The Stingers lead 30–20 to end the quarter.
NIA switched to a zone defence to start the quarter, and the NIA River Lions were able to slow down the tempo as the Stingers were beginning to miss shots. While Grandy Glaze hit the first dunk for the Stingers, and EDM’s Xavier Moon had a great shooting performance this quarter, NIA chipped away at the lead playing a half-court game and having an impressive three-point shooting performance of their own. Moon hit a three with 18 seconds left in the quarter to keep a lead over the River Lions.
48-24 at the half for the Stingers. The Stingers started off fast and explosive, but the River Lions slowed the tempo in the second quarter and began to close the gap on the lead with good interior defence and good looks.
The Stingers began the third quarter by hitting three threes. EDM’s Ellis picks up his 4th personal foul. NIA’s Johnson hits a three to bring the game between 8 points. The Stingers are beginning to pick up the same tempo they possessed in the first quarter. Interesting note, NIA’s Dalembert was missing for most of the quarter. NIA’s Anderson picks up his third personal foul as the Stingers find their tempo towards the end of the quarter. Foul by NIA’s Anderson (4th personal) on Gueye with 7 seconds remaining. The Stingers lead 82 – 75 at the end of the third quarter.
A sluggish start by the Stingers combined with a hot start from the River Lions led to Edmonton’s lead not only being cut but eliminated. At the six-minute mark of the third, NIA gained their first lead of 87-86. From there, the scoring completely opened up. NIA’s Boucard hit back-to-back threes, and EDM’s Moon answered back with back-to-back deuces. However, NIA’s Mitrovic hit a clutch three and the team took a 93-90 lead. NIA’s Pinson fouled out of the game with 3:59 remaining. Unfortunately, bad passes by EDM’s Moon and Baker lead to costly turnovers at the three-minute mark. A wild finish to the game saw Gueye goes ½ at the free throw line with 7.2 seconds remaining, NIA’s Anderson missing a late three.
In the first-ever game in Edmonton Stingers’ history, the team is going to overtime.
What an amazing home opener. Wow.
EDM’s Glaze kicked off the scoring in overtime. The team was able to take advantage of a mismatch on NIA’s defence as NIA’s Bell–Hayes was covering Gueye who made an easy early bucket. Glaze continued to thrive in OT scoring another basket and rebounding well. Midway through the overtime, NIA’s Anderson was removed from the game with his 5th personal foul. However, while EDM’s Jordan Baker is able to make a pair of free throws, he too is hit with his 4th personal. In a clutch play, a great rebound from Otieno and a gutsy play from Xavier Moon drew a foul. With a pair of clutch free throws, Moon essentially guaranteed a victory for the Stingers faithful.
A few short seconds later, it was official: the Edmonton Stingers win their season opener 118-105.
One highlight from the extra frame was the stellar play of Xavier Moon. Despite some late turnovers in the 4th quarter, his consistent scoring throughout the game and tough defence in OT are some of the key aspects to the Stinger’s victory.
Post game interview with coach Barnaby Craddock:
The Edmonton crowd was ecstatic throughout the whole night and in a post-game interview with coach Barnaby Craddock, he mentions the home crowd is one of the decisive factors to their victory. Craddock states, “The crowd tonight was the MVP. We don’t win without the crowd and tonight was a win for Edmonton basketball. If were the WWE, we could have not drawn a better script. To have a comeback like that on opening night, what a crowd.”
How important was the contribution by Xavier Moon?
“Xavier Moon is good at basketball, that’s your headline” Craddock states. “The guy is unbelievable. He led us from start to finish, he had the crowd going at the opening tip and he made the plays down the stretch to finish it off.”
Does the game plan change at all for the upcoming away games without the support of the electric Edmonton crowd we saw tonight?
“I mean, we obviously have a lot of things we have to get better at. You can see there were some big defensive lapses on our part and we were lucky we can put up 118 points offensively because our defence was lacking.”
How does this game rank in your coaching career?
“I mean it’s so exciting. It’s the opening game of the year but it sure felt like a different environment didn’t it? Only a month or so ago I was going through the playoffs with the Golden Bears where there is a lot more built up, a lot more sweat and work. This game one, however, what an environment, it felt like a big game, what else can I say?”
Post game interview with EDM’s Grandy Glaze:
In overtime, I saw a different drive in you. Was the mindset any different going into OT?
“My shot wasn’t falling, so I had to find a way to help my team out. I’m a multi-faceted player, I’m not one – dimensional at all. There’s going to be games where my shot’s going to fall, there’s going to be games where I got to be nitty – gritty down low and rebound and play defence so that’s what I did.”
How important was the crowd tonight?
“That was exciting, man. When you have this many people coming out to enjoy the show, you want to give them their money’s worth by giving them some wins so we came out and gave them just that.”
Does the up-tempo style continue?
“I think so. We have guys that have the firepower, that can handle the one on one, that have great basketball IQ and move the ball and the summer is just getting started. I can definitely see 100+ point games continue to happen.”
Thought’s on Xavier Moon’s Performance?
“He’s our heartbeat man. He’s going to bring that hard work and intensity and it’s contagious. When a guy like X comes out and gives it his all, it pushes you to do the same thing. Fantastic game for him, very proud of him.”
The Stingers will continue their season with two away games next week. Remember to check out the WCSN for more future recaps and any other Stinger news.
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