The Edge finished second place in the Central Division, and the team will have home court advantage in round one of the NBL playoffs.
The St. John’s Edge will begin its journey for NBL Canada glory this weekend as the team takes on the Sudbury Five in the first round of NBL playoffs at Mile One.
The Edge finished with a 21-19 record this season, leading the team to the second seed in the central division. The team saw contributions from the entire group, led by Desmond Lee’s 16.4 points per game. Centre and new addition Obinna Oleka led the NBL in rebounding, snagging over 10 boards per game.
The Edge also lead the league in fan attendance, averaging over 3,000 fans a night for the second straight season. Going into round one, Edge head coach Steve Marcus says the team is ready to go.
“The guys are excited about the opportunity ahead of them,” Marcus said. “We’ve had about two weeks off since we last played so we took last week to get guys healthy and get everyone 100 per cent ready to go for this weekend. . . We’ve watched a ton of film on them and how we’re going to defend them, their offensive sets and their actions. Get everyone ready for this weekend.”
“Everything is kind of heightened a bit”
The Edge and the Sudbury Five faced off three times during the regular season, with two games being played in St. John’s. The Edge won both of its home games against the Five but lost on February 25 in Sudbury. Coach Marcus says team preparation stays the same, but the playoffs can bring a whole different energy.
“I think everything is kind of heightened a little bit,” Marcus said. “During the regular season you might not have this much time [to prepare], or you might play another opponent the next night or two nights after. I’ve watched probably 15 or 20 games of Sudbury, just trying to find anything they do that I haven’t seen yet. In the playoffs, it’s all going to be about adjustments, how you can adjust from game to game.”
The Edge has been preparing for the Five’s “three-headed monster” of guards: Jaylen Bland, Braylon Rayson and former St. John’s Edge guard Maurice Jones Sr.
The trio combines for about 67 points per game, or 55 per cent of the team’s total scoring. The Edge will continue to call upon big men Glen Davis and Olu Ashaolu, who can drive the ball into the paint and score from the inside.
Fans of the Edge can’t wait to see playoff basketball back on the rock. Stephanie Evans has been going to Edge games all season long. She says the team deserves to be where it is and has overcome a lot of adversity.
“[The season] started off rough with all the trades and injuries, such as Carl English getting injured with his hand and Glen Davis was injured for a few games too with his knee. But even with all these distractions, the Edge powered through and made the playoffs happen.”