Titans Win Game 4 To Tie Series With Edge

Titans Win Game 4 To Tie Series With Edge
Photo: Dan Congdon
By: Matthew Thomas

The KW Titans managed to come away with another much-needed victory on Sunday afternoon, 97-86 over the St. John's Edge to even their best-of-seven Central Division Final series.
The Titans looked intent on success in the first quarter of the matinee game with the starters coming out with fire and intensity on both ends of the floor. 
Ed Horton (13 points) was feeling it early on as the Titans won the race to double-figures behind a daring pull-up three-pointer that got the home team off on the right foot. 
The Edge, however, let the Titans know that they weren't going to be any sort of pushover in the crucial Game 4 and quickly took back the lead from KW. Ashton Smith (three assists) nearly knocked down what would have been a buzzer-beating triple but came up short as St John's wrapped up the first 12 minutes of play with a lead of 25-23 over the Titans.
The second quarter saw more of the same for the nearly 1,390 hoop fans in the stands. The two teams exchanged blows with neither side gaining much momentum or find much rhythm with the amount of fouls being called (68 by game's end).
The slow-paced quarter made for some chippy back and forth action. Flenard Whitfield (13 points, nine rebounds) and Edge guard Jarryn Skeete (six points) were given off-setting technical fouls for unsportsmanlike conduct which only injected more emotion into the already heated matchup. 
Damon Lynn (19 points, seven assists) knocked down a big three-pointer to give KW their first lead since the opening period in the closing minutes of the half. Moments later, Justin Strings knocked down back-to-back threes of his own to give the Titans a five-point lead with just over two minutes left in the second. 
The Edge regrouped and were able to level the playing field once again and go into the intermission with the score tied at 45 with 24 minutes of basketball left to be played. 
Whitfield came into the third ready to go and casually connected on a smooth mid-range jumper to get the half started. Akeem Ellis (eight points, 14 rebounds) followed suit as he pulled-up from beyond the arc and netted a deep triple. The committee approach was working wonders for the Titans; Tramar Sutherland (16 points) tried his luck from three-point land and didn't leave fans disappointed as he sunk another three-ball to push KW's lead back up to five.  
The Edge refused to go down without a fight though and Desmond Lee (six points, 14 rebounds, seven assists) equalized the score once again at 67 with two minutes remaining in the third quarter. This sparked a big run from the opposing side and the visitors were able to go into the final quarter with a seven point lead as the score stood at 75-68 for St. John's. 
Sutherland came out the huddle even more fired-up in the fourth, finding the bottom of the net on a strong take to the basket to get the quarter started. Lynn followed his efforts up with a big triple to reign-in the Edge's advantage to just two points. 
After another deep three from Ellis and an easy bucket down low for Whitfield, the Titans recaptured the lead from the Edge and looked to capitalize on the momentum swing. 
The Titans continued to apply pressure to the visiting Edge and gave them all they could handle down low as St. John's were missing some serious rim protection with Glen Davis missing the contest due to a one-game suspension. 
KW took advantage of the Edge's shortcomings and were able to come away with a big win after a dagger three-pointer from Lynn to seal the game.
With one more home game in the series left to be played by the Titans on Tuesday, Head coach Cavell Johnson was adamant that his team needed to come out with energy to get the job done.
"Our energy was very focused tonight," Johnson said. 
"We knew that they were in a position that they were going to come out swinging and swinging hard and they were not going to stop swinging."
Tip-off for Game #5 is scheduled for 7 pm and can be seen live on NBLC Live.