The Edmonton Stingers had been on a tear going into the July 4th game against the Hamilton Honey Badgers. Under new Head Coach Jermaine Small, Edmonton was looking to create some Fourth of July Fireworks of their own, as the Badgers gave the Stingers their only home loss just a week ago.
Moon and the Stingers had a heightened sense of energy to start the game, with smothering defence. However, Justin Edwards started the scoring for the Badgers with a three. Unfortunately, as Mathieu Kamba looked to respond for the Stingers, he was fouled taking the ball to the rim. Fortunately, Kamba made both free throws. While the defence for the Stingers was strong to start, holes were starting to form in the one-on-one battles in isolation, which allowed the Badgers Mark Fraser free to slam the ball down in the lane. Thankfully, a massive block by Daniels on one and a miss on the other leaves the Badgers empty-handed. Shortly after, some slick passing down the court led to a gimme basket for Travis Daniels for the Stingers.
From there, a dose of instant energy was inserted into the game in the form of the duo of Mamadou Gueye and Grandy Glaze. Instantly, Gueye was fouled on a three-point attempt, going 2/3 from the line. However, Ricky Tarrant Jr. – a key piece in the Badgers last victory in Edmonton – nailed a three against the shot clock to increase Hamilton’s lead. From there, Grandy Glaze went to work inside the paint, scoring the next four points for the Stingers. Looking to respond, Tarrant cut into the lane and was fouled by Zac Overwater. With the whistle leading to the media time-out, the Honey Badgers found themselves up 14-8.
Following a pair of successful free throws from Tarrant Jr, the Badgers picked up their defence, leading to a pair of turnovers and a shot clock violation on the Stingers. On offence, Ryan Ejim continued to expose the defence of the Stingers for an and-one and completed the three-point play. However, Adika Peter-McNeilly responded for the Stingers, slashing into the lane and was fouled. Unfortunately, while he made the first free throw, the second failed to connect. Back up the floor, Travis Daniels missed a three, but a bad pass from Joe Rocca stopped a fast break. Back on offence, Kenny Otieno looked to make a three, and not only missed but fouled Ejim coming back down the floor. With the Honey Badgers in the bonus, Ejim made both free throws.
However, in one of the defining moments of the game, Sampson Carter fouled Travis Daniels on a drive-in play with 9.4 seconds remaining. Subsequently, Mark Fraser argued the foul with official Perry Stothart, who assessed Fraser a technical foul. The Stingers managed to make two of the three resulting free throws. Conversely, the Badgers missed a gimme to finish off the quarter and looked a little upset after the technical. Grandy Glaze led the Stingers with 8 points and 5 rebounds. Justin Edwards and Ricky Tarrant Jr. lead the Badgers with 7 points apiece, with both teams shooting around 30%.
STINGERS 21, HONEY BADGERS 19
The second quarter started off with a rare goaltending call on Glaze for the first points of the quarter for the Badgers. Fortunately, Mamadou Gueye responded with a three-pointer for the Stingers. Following a miss by the Badgers, Travis Daniels picked up a garbage bucket and a foul down low the other way. Again, however, Ricky Tarrant Jr. responded with a three-pointer. Seconds later, Grandy Glaze was allowed to leak out on the shot and pick up a quick layup. From there, the other half of the Badgers backcourt nightmare, Demetrious Denzel-Dyson, went to work. Denzel-Dyson hit an elbow jumper and a tough turn-around jumper on successive possessions, staring down Xavier Moon on the second one. Looking to respond, the Stingers’ Travis Daniels was hacked by Ryan Ejim on a three-pointer, though Daniels only made two of the free throws. On the next possession down Mathieu Kamba sliced in for a quick two. Tarrant Jr. tried to respond on the other end but was blocked by Xavier Moon, who grabs the ball and goes coast-to-coast for his first points since returning to the lineup. A pair of consecutive turnovers by the Badgers led to Coach Vallee calling a timeout, with the Stingers up 36-30.
Out of the time-out, a breakdown of the Stingers defence leads to an easy basket for Mark Fraser. On the other end, Travis Daniels cleans up a Kamba miss with a thunderous put-back jam, bringing the crowd to their feet at the hive. That energy pushed the defence to another level, with Moon getting a steal leading to an assist on a Kamba dunk. Sampson Carter responds with a tough inbound layup underneath. Akeem Ellis makes his mark on the game with a three from the 45. Ellis tries his luck again, but misses and leads to a fast-break three-pointer by Adam Presutti for the Badgers. However, the defence for the Badgers was not able to get back, and Grandy Glaze gets another and-one layup. He misses the free throw, and the Stingers forget to get back on defence themselves, allowing Ryan Ejim to get an and-one as well. The Badger’s Sampson Carter gets his third foul on a Mathieu Kamba drive, and Kamba hits both his free throws. Ryan Ejim catches Glaze underneath and pins him down for an easy layup. On the other end, Glaze looks for some space and gets nailed with an offensive foul for throwing his elbow. Coach Small calls a time-out with the Stingers leading 49-42 with 2:18 left in the half.
Both sides went ice cold out of the time-out. Following misses by both teams, Sampson Carter finally broke the scoreless drought with a layup for the Badgers. However, on the other end, Carter picked up his fourth foul of the game with 58 seconds left. A broken play following a Moon turnover leads to a Presutti layup. Joe Rocca picked Moon’s pocket late, but couldn’t beat the buzzer on a layup.
At the half, the Stingers led the Honey Badgers 51-46. Travis Daniels led the Stingers with 13 points, while Grandy Glaze already had a double-double at the halfway mark of the game, with 10 points to go with 11 rebounds. Ricky Tarrant Jr. paced the Badgers with 12.
STINGERS 51 HONEY BADGERS 46
A pair of turnovers started out the second half for the Stingers, with both Demetrious Denzel-Dyson and Justin Edwards hitting layups on consecutive trips down the court. However, this was the time where Xavier Moon started to put his stamp on this game, hitting consecutive jumpers in responsive. Shortly after, Ryan Ejim missed a layup down low for the Badgers, leading to a Mathieu Kamba fast-break layup. On the defensive end, Akeem Ellis collected his fourth foul with 7:13 left. On the following play, Ricky Tarrant Jr. slashed in for a layup for the Badgers, but that only stopped the bleeding for a moment. Immediately after Tarrant’s points, Moon hit a tough jumper against the clock, feeling the momentum once again. Glaze picked up a rebound on a subsequent Justin Edwards miss and went coast to coast for yet another layup. Looking to rebound after his tough miss earlier, Edwards tried again and was fouled underneath, making both resulting free throws. On the next Stingers possession, Adika Peter-McNeilly used a Glaze screen midcourt to drive in for a layup, but on the subsequent drive gets called for an offensive foul. However, the Badgers went cold for any response, missing their next three shots. While the Stingers also missed a trio of consecutive three-point attempts, the team was bailed out by Travis Daniels getting fouled on a rebound on the third shot. Going into the Media Timeout with 4:06 left in the third, the Stingers led the Honey Badgers 65-54.
Some sloppy play by both sides was the theme after the timeout. Joe Rocca cut the lead down with a layup, but on the subsequent possession, Rocca fouls Adika Peter-McNeilly on a jumper. Peter-McNeilly makes both free throws. Demetrious Denzel-Dyson hits a tough jumper in response. Mamadou Gueye responds with a thunderous dunk on the inbound after the basket. Edwards cleans up a rebound and basket on the other end. Akeem Ellis nails a three in response for the Stingers. Following a free throw from Denzel-Dyson, Xavier Moon goes to work, hitting a jumper on Joe Rocca. A pair of turnovers by each team finishes off the quarter, with the Stingers lead 73-63. Travis Daniels continued to lead the Stingers with 15 points, with Glaze adding 12. Ricky Tarrant Jr. continued to lead the Honey Badgers with 14 points.
STINGERS 73 HONEY BADGERS 63
Early on, Caleb Ajada made his mark for the Badgers, picking up both a rebound off a Mark Fraser shot and a foul courtesy of the Stingers. Fortunately, Ajada only managed to get one of two free throws to fall. On the other end, Xavier Moon continues to dominate, shaking loose for an easy basket on a subsequent inbound play. Yet another Badgers turnover leads to Travis Daniels getting hammered down low. An early time-out was called by the Badgers, with the Stingers holding firm with an eleven point lead with 8:35 left.
Following Daniels hitting both free throws, the Badger’s Denzel-Dyson sneaked behind the Stingers defence for an easy layup. Both teams went cold at that point, marred by misses and turnovers by both teams. Fortunately, it was the Stingers’ Mathieu Kamba broke the cold streak with a corner three. Shortly after, Travis Daniels blocked a Denzel-Dyson shot attempt, leading to a Stingers’ dunk on the other side. Unfortunately, Gueye killed the momentum by fouling Mark Fraser, who hits both of his free throws. On the following play, Moon threw up another bad pass that was intercepted by the Badgers, but Denzel-Dyson misses the layup off the steal. Gueye grabbed the rebound and is fouled by Ricky Tarrant Jr., who picked up his fourth. With the team in the bonus, Gueye hit one of his two free throws to extend the Stingers lead. While Mark Fraser managed to slide behind the Stinger’s defence for a quick two, some tough defence by the Stingers led to a Grandy Glaze turnover and an Akeem Ellis corner three-pointer. In response, Denzel-Dyson slides in for two. On the other end, Glaze hit a tough turn-around jumper. Following a quick layup by Tarrant Jr., Adika Peter-McNeilly used a Grandy Glaze screen for two. However, Ricky Tarrant Jr. wasn’t giving up, driving in and being fouled by Peter-McNeilly, and subsequently, made both free throws.
With the finish line in sight, the Stingers Xavier Moon made the defence look silly with a no-look pass to Grandy Glaze for an easy two. Shortly after, a Mathieu Kamba steal led to an Akeem Ellis layup. Yet another foul to Moon led to a pair of made free throws; however, Joe Rocca attempts to keep the Badgers in it, driving in for two. On the next play, Akeem Ellis lost the ball driving in for a layup, which allowed Denzel-Dyson to turn it into a three-pointer on the other end. Coach Smalls has seen enough, calling a time-out with 2:24 remaining with the Stingers up 13, 94-81. Unfortunately, it didn’t help in the short term as the Stingers turned the ball over coming out of the timeout, leading to a Turrant layup. However, on the subsequent possession, the Moon-to-Glaze tandem connected again for a layup, leading to a Badgers time-out, down 98-85 with 1:05 to go.
Out of the time-out, Denzel-Dyson completes an inbound alley-oop play. Fortunately, Travis Daniels responded with a basket down low for the Stingers. In desperation time, Ricky Tarrant Junior hit a massive 30-footer for three. Following a miss from Xavier Moon, Adika Peter-McNeilly picked Ryan Ejim’s pocket, leading to a Glaze layup. Ryan Ejim hits a layup to close out the scoring in the game.
STINGERS 102 HONEY BADGERS 92
Two players scored a double-double for the Stingers, with Glandy Glaze hitting 20 points and 14 rebounds, while Xavier Moon returned to the lineup to contribute 14 points and 11 assists. Ricky Tarrant Junior lead all scorers in the game, contributing 23 points to the Honey Badgers in a losing effort. Demetrious Denzel-Dyson added in 20 in a losing cause for the Badgers.
This is the first time this season that the Stinger’s have looked comfortable in front late in the game. A 10-point lead might as well have been 30 at some points.
Statistically, the Stingers once again dominated points in the paint 58-48, and bench points 32-22. The Badgers Free throw shooting came back to earth this game, going 73% from the charity stripe, versus 97% in their last matchup in Edmonton. And the Stinger’s shooting was drastically better than the Badgers tonight, 51% versus 42%.
The inclusion of Xavier Moon was a big burst of energy for this team. With the injury to Ashton Smith, a ball-handling guard was desperately needed to help out Peter-McNeilly. And with the return of Jordan Baker this week, and Brody Clarke next week, this team could be the elite team in the Canadian Elite Basketball League going into the playoffs August 24-25.
Following the game, the Stingers have taken out the Guelph Nighthawks 99-89 in Ontario last Saturday. Their record makes them only 1.5 games behind the league-leading Niagra River Lions, whom they hold the current tie-breaker with. The now 8-4 Stingers take on the 3-9 Nighthawks at the Hive coming up this Thursday. Tip-off at the Edmonton Expo Centre is 7 pm. Tickets available at the door or thestingers.ca.
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