The defeated Stingers were tasked with taking on a well-rested Ottawa team after losing the first game of a back to back against the Fraser Valley Bandits. The Stingers pulled through with an 89-82 win over the Ottawa Blackjacks in a gritty effort from the whole roster.
The first half for the Stingers went extremely well. The Stingers looked like a completely different team than they did yesterday against the Fraser Valley Bandits. Threes were falling, passing was cleaner, and most importantly, Xavier Moon was firing on all cylinders. Moon’s first half of play was absolutely incredible. His aggression and mid-range expertise had him come in with 14 points and 5 rebounds in the half. Moon also snatched 3 steals in the first half. Kamba also started strong, and Baker bounced back from a rough game.
The second half got a little scary for the Stingers early in the third quarter. Ottawa managed to sneak back into the game, even gaining a small lead for a period of time. However Xavier Moon brought back the heat for the Stingers, and with the help of Jordan Baker and Mathieu Kamba, lifted off and secured the victory. In ELAM time, it ended up being Mathieu Kamba hitting the game-winning three off the assist from Adika Peter-McNeilly. Kamba is the first Stinger to hit a game-winner in franchise history.
The Stingers really bounced back from a disappointing first game against the Ottawa Blackjacks. While the Blackjacks are shaping up to be one the leagues bottom feeders, the Stingers still looked fantastic. Their three-point shooting and defense was back on track.
The two players who really stood out against Ottawa were Xavier Moon and Jordan Baker. Moon finished the game with 24 points and 9 assists. Moon also carried on with an impressive defensive performance, securing 3 steals on the night. It was a magical night for Xavier Moon, who showed that his performance in the Stingers opening game against Niagara last season can be repeated. Anyone who was there knows that Moon’s 36 points was an extremely inspiring and incredible performance. Moon’s only downfall was an apparent right leg injury that caused some discomfort throughout the game. In the first quarter, it’s believed Moon injured his calf or ankle. While he did return when he occasionally checked out he showed grimaces of pain. No word yet on the severity of the injury but he did finish the game.
Jordan Baker had an incredible bounce-back performance as well. Baker came down with 20 points and 14 rebounds, as well as 5 assists and 3 steals. This was a classic Jordan Baker game. Against Fraser Valley, this was not the Baker we saw. It seems Baker shook off the rust and played the way he can play. Baker looked incredibly comfortable crashing the boards and scooping up rebounds on both ends of the floor.
Mathieu Kamba has also emerged as the third star for the Stingers. Kamba managed 14 points including the game-winning three-pointer that carried Edmonton to the win. Kamba also shot 66% on the night. It seems Jermaine Small has begun to trust Kamba more and more to be a three and D player. Kamba matches Guelph’s Jonathan Arledge as co-league-leaders in blocks per game. Both Kamba and Arledge average 2 blocks per game.
Travis Daniels recorded 9 points on the night on 2-6 shooting. It seems Daniels is still finding his shot out there. Daniels averaged 18 points last season, this year he’s down to 11 points per game in his first 2 matches. Daniels still managed to make an impact, scooping up 6 rebounds despite Jordan Baker and Xavier Moon collecting every loose ball. Look for Daniels to bounce back against Hamilton.
After an incredible first game, Adika Peter-McNeilly had a slightly weaker follow-up, finishing with 8 points off the bench on 2-7 shooting. Adika looked confident with the rock, but couldn’t get his shot to fall against bench guards like Munis Tutu and Yasiin Joseph for Ottawa. Much like Adika, Brody Clarke was coming off a great opening game, but couldn’t quite back it up. Clarke finished with 6 points on 3-7 shooting. Clarke also lost some minutes but struggled to get his three-pointer to fall.
The final member of the starting five, Mambi Diawara had a quiet game. Diawara shot an efficient 60%, but only recorded 6 points and 2 steals. Diawara also recorded 5 turnovers, in what would go down as a very forgettable performance. Kareem South also came back scoreless on 2 missed shots, and one offensive rebound. Despite the forgettable performance, the coaching staff was reportedly impressed with South throughout his first couple of games.
Lastly, Sascha Kappos received a slight uptick in playing time. Kappos once again came in with 2 points, 1 block, 1 steal, and a rebound. Kappos once again looked fantastic for the Stingers in limited playing time. He also impressed viewers with a nice two-handed slam-dunk off a pretty pass from Xavier Moon. Kappos is earning every minute he plays, on both ends of the floor and will be a great presence for the Stingers. On defense, Blackjacks players would avoid driving in and meeting the 6’10 Kappos at all costs. This forced Ottawa to throw up contested threes that really helped shift the momentum towards the Stingers.
This was overall a great bounce-back game for the Stingers. This could perhaps be the most important win of the season with the exception of the playoffs, as the momentum is now back with the Stingers, who will look to carry through against Hamilton on July 29th.
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