(St. John's, NL) Completing the regular season ranked second and third in the NBL Canada's Central Division, the Five and the Edge matched up for a first-round playoff series beginning Friday in St. John's.
Both teams' finished the regular season with identical records, with St. John's gaining the edge with home court advantage after winning two of the three games in the season series. All three games of the season series were won by the home team, with the Five looking to change that Friday night.
The first quarter was tight, with most players getting the playoff jitters out early. More than half of the Five roster were competing in their first-ever NBL Canada playoff game, but the nerves didn't show for the Northern side. The Five had a strong quarter thanks to perfect shooting from Cory Dixon. The forward came off the bench for 11 points in eight minutes on five shots. The Five ended the first up two, 28-26.
The Edge came at the Five heavy to start the second. The Edge moved the ball to the perimeter, looking to beat the Five on one of the success factors through the regular season, three-point shooting. The Edge shot 38.5% from behind the three-point line to carry the offense, scoring 32 points in the second. Olu Ashaolu had a big quarter for the Edge, coming off the bench to score 9 points. Cory Dixon continued his strong game, scoring six points in the second, not missing a shot on three attempts. The Five went into half-time trailing 58-51.
The Five came out firing on all cyclinders in the third quarter. The Five defense was the story of the third, dominating the glass and limiting any Edge chances. The Five limited the Edge to 13 points in the quarter to help the Five take the lead. Jaylen Bland scored six points for the second straight quarter, to help take a three point lead into the final frame.
The final quarter featured a strong start from the Edge, eliminating the Five lead early on. The back-and-forth quarter got interesting, with just over 30 seconds to play. Trailing by two, Glen Davis was fouled, heading to the line. After missing both shots, the former NBA Champion grabbed his own rebound, to be fouled again. Davis scored one of two shots to bring the Edge within one, but that was as close as it would get. The Five defense dominated the final moments of play, taking the game 100-99.
Game 2 of the series will take place Sunday at 12:30 PM EST, with The Five looking to head home with both wins on the east coast.