St. John's, NL — The St. John's Edge faced the Island Storm in their regular season finale on Sunday afternoon at Mile One Centre. With this game meaning a lot for the Edge in terms of positioning in the playoffs, they put together a complete game and defeated the Island Storm in overtime, 121-116.
The Central Division is extremely close going into the last week of the season. Following this game, the Edge were going to need some help but could finish as high as first in the division and as low as third. This would be the last chance for the Edge to stay with the top three teams in the division and they would recognize that from tip-off. In this one, they would have to try and pick up the win without Glen Davis, Junior Cadougan, and Olu Ashaolu, who were all trying to recover from minor injuries.
With a very short bench, Head Coach, Steve Marcus would go with a different lineup in this one as he had Satnam Singh, Dez Lee, Murphy Burnatowski, Jarryn Skeete, and Jared Nickens on the floor for the start of this one. From the start the Island Storm would pick up where they left off last night, draining each shot they took, with Guillaume Boucard continuing his solid play. However, the Edge would also catch fire, with Jared Nickens making it look easy with two straight triples in the middle of the quarter to give the Edge the slight advantage.
A couple of three-pointers by Russell Byrd and Isaiah Tate II would keep the offense rolling. A late surge by the Storm late in the quarter would bring them to within one, with the Edge ahead 32-31 after the first.
Into the second, Murphy Burnatowski would begin his scoring in what would be a season-high night in points for the Kitchener, ON Native. Burnatowski would score St. John's first 7 points in the quarter, but just as they had done on Saturday night, the Island Storm had an answer to keep this one close. At the 4:20 mark of the third, Guillaume Boucard would put the storm in front 52-51, but then the Edge would go on a 9-0 to reclaim their lead. After two quarters the score was 60-54 with the Edge in front.
Following the break, St. John's would control the pace, but the Storm would keep up that exact same pace. Neither team could get a stop and when the stops started to come, they were with the Edge on offense. The turning point would be around the 2-minute mark of the quarter when Shaquille Keith converted a layup and the Edge would get two more stops and convert one last time to hold a 12 point lead going into the final quarter (92-80).
In the final 12 minutes, the fatigue would start to show for the Edge. They were being run up and down the court by an energized Island Storm team, who had cut the deficit to just two points with 7:20 remaining in the fourth. Down the stretch, the Edge would look to the outside to stay in this one. Clutch three-pointers by Murphy Burnatowski and Jarryn Skeete would prove valuable as the teams would end the fourth tied up at 109.
Overtime was a defensive battle as the teams made clean stops at both ends. The first points would be scored by the Island Storm when Guillaume Boucard converted 1 of 2 free-throws after two minutes of no scoring by either team. After the Island Storm again failed to convert both free-throws, the Edge would get a massive corner triple by Burnatowski to put them up by a full possession, then after a turnover, Shaquille Keith would hit two free-throws that would lead the Edge to the 121-116 win.
The Edge rebounded in this one hitting 20 three-pointers and finishing with a 46.7% conversion rate from beyond the arc. St. John's also got a lot of production out of a depleted bench, scoring 44 points in the win. Overall there were 5 players who scored in double-digits, with the line of the night coming from Murphy Burnatowski who had 34 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the win.
For the Island Storm, Tyree White was the scoring leader with 34 points, 10 rebounds, and 9 assists in the loss.
The Edge now have to wait to find out their first-round opponent, with Sudbury and London still having games to play.
Don't wait until it is too late as the Edge Playoff Tickets are on-sale now at the Mile One Centre box office, by calling 576-7657, or online at mileonecentre.com.
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