A prairie rivalry came to the hard-court on Friday night, with the Saskatchewan Rattlers making the six-hour trip to Edmonton to take on the Stingers. With the Canadian Women’s National Basketball Team in attendance, and celebrated at half-time, the rivals put on a fierce contest.
Both teams come out revved up for this one, with both the Stingers and Rattlers missing some early layups to start the game 0/6. Mamadou Gueye ended the scoreless drought at 7:06, but the Rattlers subsequently took control, scoring the next 7 points and giving Saskatchewan their largest lead of the night. Early on, Coach Craddock changed things up, sending in most of the bench into the game. LIt seemed to pay big dividends. The Stingers were led by Travis Daniels, who gave the big men of the Rattlers, Shane Osayande and Marlon Johnson, fits both inside and on the perimeter. With the Stingers moving from an inside-out game to more of an outside-in strategy, the Stingers turned the tide, leading 12-9 at the media timeout. Following the break, Negus Webster-Chan hit a three to stop the slide, but two quick turnovers lead to the Stingers increasing their lead thanks to Deondre Parks’ back-to-back three-pointers. However, the Stingers began to get sloppy, with the Rattlers finishing off the quarter with 5 points off those turnovers.
STINGERS 29, RATTLERS 24
The Rattlers started the 2nd quarter hot, picking up five quick points off the hop, tying up the game two minutes in. However, the Stingers countered with some zone pressure, the first time it has been seen at home this season. It lead to a change in momentum, and to re-establishing a lead that the Stingers would not relinquish. A massive fadeaway jumper by Ashton Smith, followed by a turnover and a slam dunk by Travis Daniels, forced the Rattlers to take a time-out as the Hive became unglued. The Stingers appeared to be continuing the momentum out of the time-out, and the Rattlers looked a bit out of sorts. The game started to get chippy at the four-minute mark, with both Grandy Glaze and Jordan Baker making the most out of the fouls they dished out. Bruce Massey kept the Rattlers within biting distance going into the half with some clutch shooting.
STINGERS 50, RATTLERS 43
Travis Daniels lead the Stingers at half with 13 points and 9 rebounds.
The second half started the same as the first, with scrappy play on both ends until Akeem Ellis hits a three-pointer to extend the lead. The Rattlers looked to establish Johnson inside, keeping pace with the energy of the Stingers. A costly turnover by Jordan Baker led to Massey to gain 3 Free Throws on a foul, making all three and bring the game ever closer. However, following the Rattlers’ Shane Osayande picking up his third foul, instead of subbing him out, they subbed out Tavarion Dawson. The Stingers took advantage with Osayande on the floor, attacking him on the floor and going on a 10-3 run leading to a 67-56 advantage at the Media Timeout. However, the Stingers were dealt a blow when Davis got poked in the eye with a Rattlers elbow following a put-back layup, forcing him to be subbed out with 3:00 remaining. Despite Deondre Parks hitting a three-pointer with 1:27 remaining, the Rattlers scored the last 6 points in the paint to close out the quarter.
STINGERS 74, RATTLERS 66
Parks hit a transition three to start out the scoring in the fourth quarter. From there, both sides dug in defensively, including a charge taken by Jordan Baker three minutes in. Massey came out of a timeout with a clutch two for the Rattlers, but a returning Daniels established his dominance on the defensive end. Akeem Ellis hit a clutch 3 to increase the lead to 14 with 4:07 left. However, the Rattlers evidently weren’t going down without a fight, with Alex Campbell and Bruce Massey combining for 5 quick points. While the Stingers held a double-digit lead with four minutes left, some issues making free throws led to the Rattlers take advantage. An unsportsmanlike foul to Glaze with 3:04 left had the Stingers faithful on the edge of their seats. Massey easily made both free throws, make it a nine-point game. The Stingers, unfortunately, couldn’t buy a bucket in the last four minutes, until a three-pointer by Mathieu Kamba seals the deal for the Stingers. STINGERS 93, RATTLERS 84
Travis Daniels led all scorers for the Stingers with 19 points and 9 rebounds. Jordan Baker continued his MVP season with 18 points, 16 rebounds and 6 assists, and Deondre Parks added in 18 points himself. Bruce Massey led the Rattlers with 35 points, with Tavrion Dawson adding in 11 points in a losing cause.
It’s rather appropriate that the Canadian Women’s National Team was in attendance tonight, as they are known to be strong throughout their lineup. The Stingers proved that it takes a full-team effort to take on a very formidable team in the Rattlers tonight, as they won the battle of the benches 53-16, and that appears to be the biggest difference. The Stingers also dominated on the boards 56-37, thanks to Jordan Baker, Grandy Glaze and Travis Daniels combining for 37 rebounds on their own. While the Stingers still need to work on their free throws to close out games, full marks for their effort tonight against one of the league’s elite teams.
Quotes of the Night
“Every player on our team got into the game and contributed, and we needed all ten guys tonight. Every guy came in and pitched in some way.” – Stingers GM/Head Coach Barnaby Craddock
“I knew I had to bring the energy because we started off slow at first. I knew that all of us had to step up and set the tone and go on a run.” – Forward Travis Daniels on changing the momentum of the game early.
“We got guys on this roster that can go. Either the starting five or the bench. Coach (Craddock) did a great job on the rotations, and everyone brought it tonight.” – Guard Deondre Parks on the strength of the Stinger’s roster.
As a result of this game, the Stingers take over a tie for second place in the league at the Quarter Mark, with a record of 3-2. The Rattlers drop to 3-3 and now sit fourth. The Stingers and Rattlers conclude their home-and-home series with a trip to the Snake Pit in Saskatoon next Thursday June 6. The Stingers return home the next night to take on the currently winless Fraser Valley Bandits. Game time next Friday, June 7, is at 7 pm. Check out thestingers.ca for more information and to purchase tickets.