Friday night at the Hive, the Edmonton Stingers went tooth-and-nail with the visiting Guelph Nighthawks. It was appropriate that with WBC International Silver Heavyweight Champion Ryan Ford as a special guest tonight, this game was a slugfest similar to a 12-round title fight. The Stingers came out on top over the Nighthawks in the form of an 82-80 victory.
Here’s how it broke down:
The Stingers look to push the pace early, led by Akeem Ellis, who scored the game’s the first five points. However, led by Ezekiel Marshall the Nighthawks countered by establishing their inside game and their full-court pressure, leading to an 11-3 run to gain the lead. Newcomer Brody Clarke entered the game for the first time at the four-minute mark and paid immediate dividends with his stellar defensive play. Back-to-back turnovers from the Nighthawks allowed the Stingers to tighten the score, and a clutch three-pointer from the Stingers’ Mathieu Kamba allowed the team to finish off the first quarter down one.
NIGHTHAWKS 21, STINGERS 20
Ellis continued his strong game, hitting another three to start the quarter. However, two early turnovers allowed the Nighthawks to get four quick points and take over the lead. A huge block by Jordan Baker led to a three-point play by Glaze and gives the Stingers a 31-29 lead. Shortly after, the team was able to go on a run, pushing their lead to 39-32 with two minutes left. However, the Nighthawks clawed back to bring the score back to within two at half-time.
STINGERS 41, NIGHTHAWKS 39
At the half, the leading scorers were Jordan Baker with 11 points and Akeem Ellis added 10. Chadrack Lufile contributed 10 to be the leading scorer for the Nighthawks.
The defences for both sides really tightened down to start the third quarter. Both teams were creating turnovers on multiple occasions; however, while turnovers were being created, both sides were missing layups, failing to capitalize on those chances. With the Stingers leading 52-49, Grandy Glaze hit a thunderous dunk leading to a 6-0 run by the Stingers at the 4-minute mark. However, the transitioning 2-3 and 3-2 zone defences by the Nighthawks allowed them to generate turnovers, capitalizing on the fast break. Eventually, some quick ball passing allowed the Stingers to break down the zone, with some easy dunks for Kamba to close out the quarter.
STINGERS 62, NIGHTHAWKS 58
Sloppy turnovers early from the Stingers saw them relinquish the lead for the first time since the second quarter. The turning point of the game appeared to be at the 6:47 mark, as it appeared that seven-footer Ezekiel Marshall had received his fifth foul on a drive on a turnover. However, the foul was charged to Chris Johnson, who also received a technical foul after chatting with the official. Twenty seconds later, Grandy Glaze was hit in the head by Chadrack Lufile driving in the lane, receiving an intentional foul. However, free throw shooting was a major issue throughout the game, so the Stingers could not capitalize on their chances to advance the lead. This seemed to cool off the Stingers, as they could not buy a shot for the next three minutes, going 0 for 6, allowing the Nighthawks to extend their lead to seven with 4:29 to play.
That, however, is when the Stingers truly turned it on. Jordan Baker hit a three to get the Stingers within four. Grandy Glaze followed it up with a layup to take the lead with 1:09 remaining. While the Nighthawks had plenty of chances to retake the lead, but Myck Kobongo missed a layup with 12 seconds remaining. The Nighthawks desperately fouled Jordan Baker, and he only makes one out of two from the line, extending the lead to two. Racing down the court, the Nighthawks missed a potentially game-tying jumper from just inside the three-point line, and the buzzer sounded with the Stingers on top.
STINGERS 82, NIGHTHAWKS 80
Jordan Baker had his second double-double tonight, with 13 rebounds to go along with 23 points. Akeem Ellis and Grandy Glaze were the other two Stingers to hit double figures, with 12 points each. Chadrack Lufile led the Nighthawks coming off the bench with 18 points, while Olu Famutimi added 15 and Myck Kobongo had 13.
A real tough shooting night from both teams, but especially the Stingers. While both teams shot 40% from the floor to close out the game, a ton of layups were missed throughout the game, keeping this game one of the lowest-scoring in the CEBL season thus far. The Stingers also only shot 5/14 (35%) from the charity stripe, compared to 13/20(65%) for Guelph. The biggest advantage for the Stingers was the offensive rebounds, where the Stingers dominated 19-9. This led to an 11-point advantage in second-chance points. For a team that lost two games handily down east last week, this win was a very gutsy effort to earn this victory.
Quote of the Night:
“It’s awesome! We live off it, down the stretch especially. The fourth quarter, shots started going in.” – Stingers forward Jordan Baker, talking about the loud crowd at the Hive helping the team to victory.
The Stingers are in action next Friday, as they host the first of a home-and-home series with the league-leading Saskatchewan Rattlers. Game time from the Hive is 7 pm. Tickets available at the door or check out thestingers.ca for more information.
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