(ST. JOHN’S, NL) It was all on the line in St. John’s on Sunday afternoon.
While many around the world were locked in on their televisions to watch Tiger Woods capture the Masters tournament, fans in Sudbury and St. John’s were glued to the fifth and final game of the Central Division Semi-Final.
The Edge got off to a hot start at home, starting the game on a 9-0 run. The Five offense couldn’t find its rhythm early, with heavy pressure from the Edge forcing the Five to take difficult shots from the outside. Yohanny Dalembert got the Five on the board halfway through the first, hitting from the foul line to grab the first two points of the game for Sudbury. The Five would rally to finish the quarter, cutting the lead to just two points. After the first, Sudbury trailed the Edge, 17-15.
After a slow start in the first, the Five came out flying the second quarter. Back-to-back three-pointers by Jones Sr. and Bland grabbed the lead for the Five, but the Edge fought back. Jumping on an 11-2 run, the Edge took control of the second quarter early on. The Five battled to end the quarter, cutting the deficit to just two points heading into half time. After 24 minutes, the Edge were up 40-38.
The Five were on a mission coming out of half time. After scoring a season low 38 points in the first half, Coach Stutz changed his game plan on both sides of the ball. The Edge had no answer to a different looking Five defense to start the half. With the Five offense hitting on their opportunities on offense, Sudbury started to run away with the lead. The Five extended the lead to as many as ten points before the Edge fought back, taking the lead on their final possession of the game. With time expiring Dexter Williams Jr. rushed the ball up the floor, hitting the three as time expired to help the Five regain the lead, 68-67.
The intensity picked up in the fourth, with both sides leaving everything on the floor knowing one team would be heading home when the clock expired. The Edge continued to have the upper hand, allowing Sudbury to claw back to within a bucket on numerous occasions before extending their lead. A staple for the Edge in their final stretch of games in the regular season, Murphy Burnatowski stepped up for the Edge in the final frame. The Colgate University graduate scored 12 points and collected six rebounds for the Edge in the final frame. The Five offense went cold in the fourth, scoring only 24 points to allow the Edge to take the game and the series 101-92.
The Edge will now advance to face the winner of other Central Division Semi-Final between the London Lightning and the KW Titans.
Sunday’s game marks the cap of the Five’s inaugural season in the National Basketball League of Canada. SW Sports & Entertainment would like to thank the team, fans, and media for their dedicated support through an unforgettable season. Your support, passion, and love for basketball in Northern Ontario have truly made this season possible.