BlackJacks take sting out of Edmonton to foil perfect run

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The Ottawa BlackJacks defeated the Edmonton Stingers 79-74 in CEBL action on Saturday.  (@CEBLeague/Twitter - image credit)
The Ottawa BlackJacks defeated the Edmonton Stingers 79-74 in CEBL action on Saturday. (@CEBLeague/Twitter - image credit)

The Ottawa BlackJacks put an end to Edmonton's perfect run on Saturday.

In a tight, defensive game, the BlackJacks squeaked out a 79-74 victory, and, in doing so, managed what no other team has been able to do all season—clip the wings on the high-flying Stingers.

Spurred by a vociferous home crowd, Ottawa put on a defensive masterclass and held Xavier Moon, the two-time CEBL Player of the Year to 17 points before he fouled out during the Elam Ending.

Heading into the game, Edmonton's margin of victory through its last four games had been a whopping 32 points.

WATCH | BlackJacks foil Stingers' perfect run:

Ottawa, however, managed to grind the game down, bringing the Stingers into the trenches with their physical play—outrebounding their opponents 45-44, while frustrating Edmonton's efforts from the arc.

The Stingers shot just 9-32 (28 per cent) from the three-point line, and only 36 per cent from the field, while Ottawa managed 7-28 (25 per cent) from three-point land and 44 per cent from the field.

Trailing 34-32 heading into the half, Ottawa never relented.

"It's a matter of getting this group to play together, and I think we've done that," said BlackJacks' head coach Charles Dubé-Brais after the game, "In the second half it felt like they wanted to pull away with the game, and we never quit. We just stayed with it and couple of players made big plays down the stretch which led us to the victory."

Led by Nick Ward's game-high 26 points the BlackJacks stayed within two points as the game shifted in its thrilling Elam Ending.

Junior Cadougan puts exclamation on Ottawa's win

And, while Ward may have led the scoring, Junior Cadougan was unquestionably the game's star.

With the score 69-67 in Edmonton's favour, and with a target score of 78 or more needed to win the game, the six-foot-one Toronto native played with the heart and passion that encapsulated Ottawa's late charge.

His emotions on full display as he scored the game winning shot—his hands thumping his chest after his floater brought an instant roar from both crowd and teammates as it swished into the net.

"I bring my veteran presence and my leadership," said Cadougan, "I've played in a lot of clutch moments in high levels, so I just try to bring that to my team."

Ottawa's victory levelled the series between the two team's at 1-1, after Edmonton took their first meeting 104-87.

The loss was the Stingers' first in 15 games stretching back to last season. The defending champions were the sole undefeated team remaining. The team will now look to return to winning ways as they prepare to face the Guelph Nighthawks on Monday.

While the BlackJacks will go for back-to-back wins for the first time this season as they take on the Hamilton Honey Badgers on Wednesday.

Both games can be seen live on CBC Sports.

River Lions rally past Honey Badgers

Later on Monday, the Niagara River Lions pulled off another upset by claiming a 71-68 victory over the Hamilton Honey Badgers in front of their home crowd at the Meridian Centre.

Led by a game-high 17 points from forward Javin DeLaurier, the River Lions (4-3) overcame a 14-point halftime deficit and shifted momentum with a big third quarter. Niagara entered the Elam Ending with a 61-59 lead, where a floater from Jayen Babb-Harrison sealed the team's third win of the season.

DeLaurier alao collected a game-high 17 rebounds, while Babb-Harrison and fellow Niagara forward Xavier Sneed each finished with 13 points.

WATCH | Babb-Harrison seals Niagara's victory over Hamilton:

The River Lions struggled from the field throughout the opening quarter, paving the way for Hamilton to pull ahead early with a 19-8 lead entering the second.

Toronto's Cody John scored a team-high 14 points for Hamilton (6-3), while Trevon Duval and Brampton, Ont., native Kenny Ejim chipped in 13 and 12, respectively. The Honey Badgers have now suffered consecutive losses after winning six straight.

The River Lions will look to maintain momentum against the winless Saskatchewan Rattlers (0-8) on Tuesday, while Hamilton will have an opportunity to bounce back against Ottawa on Wednesday.

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