The Saskatchewan Rattlers have swept their home-and-home series with Edmonton, defeating the Stingers 74-73.
A poor night shooting made the game interesting for the Rattlers, but they prevailed in dramatic fashion in the final seconds of the match.
“It was a good effort, started off a little slow,” said Rattler Alex Campbell, who not only scored the game-winner but dropped a game-high 28 points.
It was a slow start indeed. Despite jumping out to an early 7-4 lead, Saskatchewan soon lost their control. A 10-0 run at the seven-minute mark of the first put Edmonton up 14-7, thanks to threes from Kamba and Gueye.
The Rattlers were down 19-20 entering the second quarter, but a quick five points from Alex Campbell and Maurice Jones gave them a four-point lead. The lead was unfortunately short-lived, as Saskatchewan only scored six more points for the remainder of the half (consisting of two Campbell threes).
For Edmonton, Adika Peter-Mcneilly drained four threes to help his team run away with the lead. After the second buzzer, The visiting Stingers led the Rattlers 44-30.
Saskatchewan’s dominance in the paint from last game didn’t carry into Friday’s came. Poor shooting paired with struggles in the paint gave the Rattlers a lot more to worry about.
Maurice Jones turned it on for his team in the third, scoring nine points in the quarter. A steal from Jones turned into an alley-oop to Marlon Johnson, sending the crowd into madness and sparking Saskatchewan’s comeback.
With 10 minutes to play in the game, the Rattlers trailed by only four points.
For the first five minutes of the quarter, the teams exchanged punches, with the lead fluctuating but never leaving Edmonton’s hands.
Saskatchewan, now against the ropes and forced to make a move, stepped it up a notch. The Rattlers strung together a thrilling 8-0 run, giving them a one-point lead with two minutes to play.
Jordan Baker took it to the rack, dropping a layup to put the Stingers back up by one. Jelane Pryce was fouled and hit both shots from the charity stripe to give the home team the lead once again.
Both teams then proceeded to miss a three-point attempt. With under 50 seconds to go, the ball was in the Stinger’s hands when they committed a backcourt turnover, which was then followed by a shot-clock violation from Saskatchewan.
With 24 seconds to go in the game, Saskatchewan led by one, but Edmonton had the ball. The Stingers used up half the clock, and a layup from Travis Daniels gave the visitors the lead once again with 11 seconds to go.
Saskatchewan took a timeout, then ran a play and sent the ball to Alex Campbell in the paint. With four seconds to go, Campbell nailed the game-winning layup, giving the Rattlers a 74-73 victory.
“Coach drew up a play, my teammate was able to get me the ball in my right spot, got to a spot on the court I was comfortable with, put it up and it went in,” said Campbell. “And then the crowd goes wild.”
Alex Campbell led his team to the victory, making seven threes and scoring a game-high 28 points. Maurice Jones also had a night, scoring 13 points.
Marlon Johnson contributed defensively, recording a near double-double with 8 points and 13 boards.
With this win, Saskatchewan improves to 11-8 and picks up their fifth victory in a row. They’ll stay at home for their final game of the regular season against Guelph on Thursday.
Edmonton’s record drops to 13-6, and most likely secures their spot as the second seed come Championship Weekend. There’s a good chance these teams will meet in the first round of the playoffs, so expect another thriller in a few weeks.