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Edge Drop Game 1 of Finals to Magic

The St. John’s Edge faced the Moncton Magic in Game 1 of the NBL Canada Finals on Wednesday night in Moncton, NB. The Edge battled all night long, but could not close this one out as they dropped Game 1 by a score of 103-94.

It all comes down to this, the NBL Canada Finals were about to begin and the Edge would look to take one on the road against Moncton. They would be doing so without the services of Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis though, as just minutes before tip-off it was announced that Davis would have to sit this one out due to failing concussion protocol after he suffered a concussion at the end of Game 6 of the Division Finals. That would mean that they needed the supporting cast to step up in his absence.

The first quarter would get off to a very slow start, neither team could find a rhythm. Miss after a miss, both teams really just needed to get the ball into the hands of someone who could light the spark. For the Edge, the spark would come from Olu Ashaolu who dropped a couple of tough buckets down low to set the tone and keep this one tied up near the midway point.

Near the end of the quarter, Moncton would find their spark in the form of Jason Calliste off the bench. The combo guard would hit two consecutive triples to give the Magic a 6-point advantage. The Edge would answer with Satnam Singh who utilized his size down low to hit a couple of layups late to bring this one back to within one possession. After one, the Magic would lead 19-18.

Into the second quarter, it was again a slow start. It took the teams almost 2 full minutes before the first basket was made. That basket would be a Jarryn Skeete layup, but just as quick as that happened, Moncton answered with a Corey Allmond three to keep them in front.

After some solid defensive stops on both ends, the teams would be deadlocked at 34 with just over two minutes left. Moncton would then go on a small 6-0 run to end the quarter, capped off by a Billy White layup to send this one into the break with the Magic leading 40-34.

Coming out of the half-time break, the Edge would begin their push to get right back into this one. Murphy Burnatowksi would hit a couple of layups off screens to pull the Edge to within just a single point. Moncton would again answer, as they got a wide-open three from Wayne McCullough, but on the very next possession, Murphy Burnatowski would drain one of his five triples on the night to cut the lead to three.

After an exchange of buckets by both teams, the Edge would get a layup from Isaiah Tate II as he cut through the lane to pull them to within 4-points. That is how the quarter would end as both teams failed to convert on offence for the last full minute of action. Moncton would be up 69-65 with just one quarter to go.

With just one quarter left, the Edge turned up the offence. Murphy Burnatowski would score 8 straight points to tie this one up, then Jared Nickens would start to catch fire as he drained a big triple, forcing Moncton to call a timeout. Out of the timeout, the Magic would go basket for basket with the Edge, but St. John’s would maintain their lead.

At the 2:30 mark of the fourth, after Murphy Burnatowski hit a jump shot to keep the Edge lead at 3-points, Moncton would get a Marcus Lewis layup to pull within just a point. Then after an Edge miss, Billy White would get an and-one opportunity, he would miss the free throw but get his own rebound and convert the layup to push the Magic ahead 97-94 with just over 1:30 left in the game. From there the Edge would turn the ball over twice leading to Moncton free-throws that would eventually seal the deal as they finished the game on a 12-0 run and take Game 1 of the Finals by a score of 103-94.

This game featured 14 lead changes, with the Edge turning the ball over 13 times to Moncton’s 8. Moncton would also outrebound the Edge 48-40 in this one.

Offensively for the Edge, they got a huge performance from Murphy Burnatowksi who shot almost 50% from the field on way to a season and game-high 30 points. St. John’s also got another solid performance from Jarryn Skeete who dropped 16 points and was one rebound shy of a double-double.

For Moncton, they got a big game from Trey Kell, who was the hero for them in their Game 7 win over Halifax. Kell had 29 points on this night, leading his team to the Game 1 victory.

These two teams battle again on Saturday night at the Avenir Centre in Moncton. Game time is set for 7:30 PM NLT and once again Glen Davis will be a game-time decision as he will once again go through concussion protocol.

After Saturday, the series will shift to Mile One Centre for Games 3 and 4. Tickets are available by calling the Mile One Centre box office at 576-7657 or online at www.mileonecentre.com