St. John's, NL — The St. John's Edge were in the biggest battle they would face all season on Sunday afternoon at Mie One Centre. After 5 hard fought games, the Edge pulled out the win by a score of 101-92 and will now move on to Round 2 of the NBL Canada Playoffs.
It was a depleted bench, a long day of travel, the highs and lows of the series all weighing on the minds and bodies of the Edge players and staff as they faced the Sudbury Five on home court in the fifth and deciding game.
The first quarter started slow for both sides, each team would collect misses on their first two trips down the floor. The Edge would get the scoring started with Dez Lee who converted two free-throws and then would be followed by a Junior Cadougan mid-range jumper to put the Edge in front early.
It would be a 9-0 to open the game for the Edge, but Sudbury would be quick to answer after they finally hit their first shot. They would climb to within 4, then Braylon Rayson would hit two free-throws late in the quarter to bring the Five to within 2 points heading into the second quarter (17-15 Edge).
The second quarter would be much more fast paced. Murphy Burnatowski would score the first four points of the quarter for the Edge, then Junior Cadougan would score the next 6 points. After Burnatwoski hit another triple off a pass from Glen Davis, the Edge would find themselves in front 31-25 with just over 6 minutes left in the half.
Sudbury would continue to hang around in the quarter, they would improve their shooting and get contributions from Jaylen Bland and Braylon Rayson to keep them in this one. Through two quarters it was all St. John's as they went into the break with a slight two-point lead.
Out of the break, the Edge would have to dig deep and overcome the third quarter as the Edge have proven that the third is their make or break quarter throughout the series. Sudbury would go on a game-changing 8-0 run in the middle of the quarter to put them up by 10 points.
After a timeout was called by the Edge, they would begin their climb back to take the lead. In transition, Isaiah Tate II would hit a layup in traffic to force the Five to call a timeout and bring the Edge back to within just 3 points. Late in the quarter, the Edge would regain their lead on the strength of a Glen Davis jumper in the lane, but with 2 seconds left on the clock, Dexter Williams Jr. of Sudbury would hit the half-court buzzer beater to make the score 68-67 for Sudbury heading into the final quarter.
The final quarter was as intense as it gets. With their backs against the wall, the Edge stepped up on defence and created some great open looks to free up their shooters. The turning point would come at the 7:11 mark when Murphy Burnatowski received a quick dish from Dez Lee to extend the Edge lead to 5 points.
As the quarter continued the Edge would build on their lead and find ways to stop the Five's high powered offence. With 1:21 left in the fourth, Big Baby Davis would hit another one of his patented spin-move layups to put the score at 101-92 for the Edge and that is where it would remain.
On the afternoon it was a total team effort that propelled the Edge to the victory, All 5 starters finished in double figures, with Murphy Burnatowksi leading the way offensively dropping 25 points on the afternoon on 6-9 shooting from three-point range. Behind Murphy, Glen Davis notched another double-double dropping 19 points and pulling down 10 rebounds. Junior Cadougan has 16 points of his own, Dez Lee recorded a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Isaiah Tate II rounded out the offence with 11 points.
The Five were led by Jaylen Bland who had 22 points in the Game 5 loss.
It is on to Round 2 for the Edge as they face the KW Titans who knocked off the London Lightning in their fifth game. The Edge have home court advantage for being the higher remaining seed, meaning Game's 1 and 2 will take place at Mile One Centre. The dates will be finalized by tomorrow afternoon, but expect that the first game will fall around Easter Weekend.
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