Just hours after finishing a game in Guelph, the Edmonton Stingers looked to increase their win streak to 7 in a row as they faced off against the well rested Hamilton Honey Badgers. This game was one of the most nerve-wracking back and forth games of the season. New Honey Badger Xavier Rathan-Mayes (former Memphis Grizzlies point guard) showed out in his first CEBL game. Xavier dropped a CEBL record 37 points, dethroning a tie for the record between Xavier Moon and Demtrius Denzel-Dyson at 36 points. Rathan-Mayes was absolutely unstoppable, however the Edmonton Stingers found a way to neutralize everyone else on the court in a hard fought victory on the road.
The star of the show tonight was Travis Daniels, who recorded a CEBL career high 32 points en route to a double double. Daniels scored 10 rebounds and 5 assists, and capped this off with a steal and a block to go with it. Daniels was just so versatile on both ends of the court. Daniels’ ability to knock down the three, or grab a gritty board and score off a second chance made him unstoppable tonight, as the Honey Badgers got very little from their big men on the court. The next player who really stood out was none other than Xavier Moon. Although Moon made a few bad passes, he still finished with 6 assists and 3 rebounds. Moon also dropped 19 points including 5 three pointers, and really helped Edmonton pull out a victory. Just 1 point back of Xavier Moon was Mamadou Gueye, who didn’t record any points last night, but managed to drop 18 against Hamilton. Gueye knocked down three back to back threes late in the game that helped the Stingers eliminate a Hamilton lead. The last player who scored in double digits was Jordan Baker, who managed to grab 15 points. Baker was also the only Stinger who managed to record 0 turnovers while playing significant minutes.
There was an altercation around the start of the second half between Akeem Ellis and multiple Honey Badgers players. Ellis received an elbow to the jaw and had some words for the Honey Badgers. Following this, Ellis received his second technical foul and was ejected from the game. Ellis was shaping up to be a key contributor for the Stingers, recording 8 points in 13 minutes. Adika Peter-McNeilly finished with 7 points, however both him and Mathieu Kamba ran into some foul trouble down the stretch which found the Stinger turning to Mamadou Gueye to take on an increased role. Grandy Glaze had somewhat limited time tonight, however he shot just 1/5 and seemed to struggle a little bit after a great couple of games played by him lately. We got to see Kenny Otieno play a little bit tonight, however he only attempting one shot, which came up short.
This was a controversial game. Most controversially, the referees seemed to be holding up the game, discussing calls and often coming to very questionable conclusions. Many travelling calls and fouls were initially called, debated among the refs and overturned, or occasionally left standing despite the outcome being clearly opposing. I don’t like to complain about refereeing, but this game was simply unacceptable as far as the overuse of breaks to debate calls. The game was also controversial in the disputes and battles between players. Notably Akeem Ellis’ ejection from the game, there were also an incredible amount of technical fouls being handed out tonight. An excessive amount of fouls were called, and this could go down as one of the most aggressive and intense games of the season. Certainly from the Stingers.
The ending of this game was also extremely controversial. With the Stingers up 8 it seemed like a victory was inevitable. As a Stingers fan, I had considered the game over by the time the last seconds rolled around. Ricky Tarrant Jr. and Xavier Rathan-Mayes made an incredible late comeback, as Tarrant Jr. stole the ball from the Stingers twice in the dying seconds. Rathan-Mayes closed the gap after Jordan Baker of the Stingers was unable to inbound the ball on time. Rathan-Mayes took a desperate three pointer following this and was fouled by Mathieu Kamba. With the Honey Badgers down three, Rathan-Mayes missed the first free throw and thus an opportunity to tie the game up. Rathan-Mayes made the second an intentionally missed the final. On the final free throw, Baker tipped the ball out of bounds and the Honey Badgers had possession with just 2.4 seconds to play. Down two, the ball was inbounded to Denzel-Dyson who attempted the game winning three. The ball rattled around the rim and fell out, saving the Stingers after a plethora of turnovers.
What Went Well?
Mamadou Gueye and Travis Daniels really accelerated for the Stingers down the stretch. Gueye was the only player on the team who didn’t record a personal foul (everyone but Grandy Glaze and Gueye recordedeither 3 or 4 personal fouls) and was very hot from three point range. Xavier Moon also tapped into his three point shot, and helped the Stingers claw back from a big deficit coming out of the half. Edmonton also played a very good third quarter in general, being the only quarter where they really looked better than Hamilton. Jordan Baker also looked great for Edmonton, despite a couple slip ups in the end, Baker walked out of the game with a very clean track record, as he scooped up rebounds and put up shots from all over the court tonight.
What Didn’t Go Well?
Turnovers and fouls allowed Hamilton to stay in the game. Every single Hamilton Honey Badger got at least a steal, and Duane Notice managed to get 4 off the bench. Ambitious and poorly decided passing turned into a lot of easy buckets for the Hamilton squad. As well, the Stingers ran into some serious foul trouble. 6 players recorded at least three fouls, sending Stingers to the bench over and over. The Stinger also collapsed at the end of the game. While in the end they came out victorious, multiple bad turnovers allowed the Honey Badgers to attempt a game winning three. Luckily this came off the rim. It seemed like at the end of the game, the Stingers were just tired. They’ve certainly been playing a lot of basketball lately, so this is to be expected.
Despite many issues, the Edmonton Stingers prevailed, and conquered all odds with many players sent to the bench and even to the locker room with foul trouble and turnover issues. Edmonton now rides a 7 game win streak as they remain the hottest team chasing after Niagara for that CEBL title.