(Greater Sudbury, ON) With the Five achieving a split on the road to start their first-ever playoff series, the Northern Boys had their eyes set on an important game 3 victory in the nickel city.
Prior to the game, the Five recognized three team members who received league awards earlier this week as the National Basketball League of Canada recognized its 2018-19 award winners. Jaylen Bland was awarded Newcomer of the Year, Logan Stutz Executive of the Year, and Braylon Rayson League MVP as the trio of award recipients were greeted by a standing ovation by the Sudbury faithful Wednesday night.
While the pre-game ceremony focused on what had been accomplished throughout the regular season, the team was focused on a pivotal game three in unchartered territory. Wednesday's game was another first for the Five, the first NBL Canada playoff game ever played in the Sudbury Community Arena.
The Edge showed no signs of fatigue to start the game, jumping out to an early 6-0 lead and holding the lead throughout the quarter. The Five battled to get back into the game, closing the quarter down just three points. Maurice Jones Sr. continued his strong series against his former team with seven points in the first quarter. Cory Dixon added in six points and the Five moved into the second trailing 26-23.
Shooting fairly well in the first, the Five shooters came to play in the second. Shooting 60% from the field and from three, The Five scored 30 points in the second. Trailing early in the quarter, a timely block by Dexter Williams Jr. on NBA Champion Glen Davis seemed to inspire the Five, sending the team on a 14-0 run. Williams Jr. was a threat on both ends of the court in the second, scoring seven points and collecting five rebounds. Bland and Dixon added in seven of their own, extending the Five lead to five points, 53-48 moving into the second half.
The league's best offense in the regular season continued to find its rhythm in the second half. Shooting 60% or better for the second straight quarter, the offense poured it on for 38 points in the third. The Five scored by committee in the frame, with five players scoring six or more points. Jaylen Bland continued his strong game, scoring eight points on near perfect shooting. Jones Sr. added in seven of his own, helping the Five take a 91-70 lead into the final quarter.
With the game nearly locked down, the Five seemed to reserve most of their energy for the offensive side of the ball. Sudbury scored 33 points in the fourth, with Bland scoring 11 and Rayson scoring 10. The Edge fought their way back into the game, scoring 42 points in the fourth. The lead was enough for the Five to walk away with their first-ever playoff win at home, 124-112.
Jaylen Bland was named the BOSS Supplements BOSS of the Game, leading all players with 31 points and 9 rebounds, one short of his first playoff double-double. NBA Champion Glen Davis led the Edge with 27 points and 11 rebounds.
With the win, the Five take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five first round series, with an opportunity to close out the series Friday at home. Game time is 7:05 PM. Tickets are available at www.thefive.ca or in person at the Sudbury Arena Box Office.
Fans are encouraged to get to the arena early Friday with the Tailgate party starting at 5:00 PM at the Elgin Street entrance!