Edmonton is the first team to clinch a playoff spot in the Summer Series.
ST. CATHARINES — The Edmonton Stingers had to wait longer than they wanted to get their revenge against the Saskatchewan Rattlers — but it still tasted just as sweet.
The Stingers faced the Rattlers for the first time since last year’s Championship Weekend loss and Edmonton made their western rivals pay.
Xavier Moon led the Stingers with 25 points, four assists, three rebounds and two steals, while Mathieu Kamba chipped in with 16 points, three rebounds as Edmonton ran away with a 88-66 victory on Saturday afternoon at the Meridian Centre to improve to 4-1 in the Summer Series.
Kemy Osse led the Rattlers with 15 points, two rebounds and two assists in the loss as the defending CEBL champions fell to 1-3 in the tournament.
The victory clinches a Summer Series playoff spot and puts the Stingers in great position to receive a bye to the semifinals.
“In my pre-game talk, I didn’t have to say much. For the returning guys, they knew how they made us feel last year,” said Stingers head coach Jermaine Small.
“When you have an opportunity to bury a team, you have to do it, and I just told the guys, put them out of their misery and not give them any life. We had that in the forefront of our minds.”
Edmonton was slow out of the gate in the opening quarter falling behind 15-6 early to the defending champs off a Kris Joseph trey.
But the Stingers found their mojo as the opening quarter wound down and trailed just 18-17, but Moon hit one of his five three-pointers in the game midway through the second quarter to give Edmonton a 30-27 and the Stingers didn’t trail again.
While Moon led the Stingers in scoring, Edmonton got plenty of support from throughout their lineup. Zac Overwater and rookie point guard Kareem South played meaningful minutes off the bench, and contributed at both ends of the floor.
Overwater recorded seven points, four rebounds, two blocks and one assist, while South scored four points, three assists and two rebounds.
“Moon stole the show in the first half with his shooting, but our depth played a real big part in the win today,” said Small.
“We didn’t have the best start, but when I went to my bench, they brought us back in the game.
The Stingers led 66-54 heading into the fourth quarter and they didn’t let up at all.
A Kamba three-pointer gave the Stingers a 15-point lead. Jordan Baker hit a jumper for two of his 10 points just before the Elam Ending to give Edmonton a 22-point lead.
Edmonton led 79-62 heading into the Elam Ending, and they made short work of the Rattlers as Baker drove hard to the bucket and made a circus layup for his second game-winning bucket in as many days.
Edmonton smothered the Rattlers defensively all game long, forcing 21 turnovers. When they couldn’t get a strip, they forced Saskatchewan into taking tough shots. The Stingers shot 48% from the field, but they were even more impressive on the defensive end, scoring 28 points off of Rattlers turnovers.
“Defence is what we hang out hat on and we played some real great defence today and that translated into our game offensively. We played unselfish basketball,” said Small.
“We have the ultimate belief in one another. We know when we need stops we buckle down and guys get extra focused and we find a way to win. It takes a team, and we get different contributions every night.”
NEW FACE: Power forward Devonte Campbell made his professional debut in the Stingers victory. The former University of Albany product signed with the team on Friday to replace Kirk Williams Jr.
Campbell recorded four points and one assist in four minutes of action in the win over Saskatchewan.
NEXT UP: Edmonton will play the Guelph Nighthawks (3-1) on Monday at 5 p.m. MT in their final round-robin game in a battle for first place. (pr)