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Is St. John’s losing its Edge?

St. John’s Edge photo/Jeff Parsons - Junior Cadougan of the St. John’s Edge and Randy Phillips of the Saint John Riptide battle for a rebound during NBL Canada play Sunday afternoon at Mile One Centre in St. John’s. The Riptide won both weekend games, beating the Edge 96-89 Sunday following an 84-84 loss Friday.
St. John’s Edge photo/Jeff Parsons - Junior Cadougan of the St. John’s Edge and Randy Phillips of the Saint John Riptide battle for a rebound during NBL Canada play Sunday afternoon at Mile One Centre in St. John’s. The Riptide won both weekend games, beating the Edge 96-89 Sunday following an 84-84 loss Friday. - Contributed

They have stalled trying to nail down a playoff spot

That playoff-clinching win is proving hard to come by for the St. John’s Edge.

The Edge were beaten 96-89 by the Saint John Riptide at Mile One Centre Sunday afternoon, their third loss in four games, leaving the home side without a post-season guarantee with just a couple of games left in the regular season.

St. John’s entered a two-game weekend series with the Riptide needing a single victory or a loss by the K-W Titans to secure a playoff spot. But the Riptide shaded the Edge 84-82 Friday night, then followed up with their Sunday triumph. In between, the Titans defeated the London Lightning in Kitchener, Ont., on Saturday.

That means it will be next weekend before the Edge (20-18) will definitely know they will get into the playoffs. The Titans play the Windsor Express Friday, while St. John’s clews up its regular-season schedule — and an eight-game homestand — versus the Island Storm this coming Saturday and Sunday at Mile One.

The Edge have gone 3-7 in their last 10 games, and have fallen out of first place in the Central Division behind the Lightning (20-17), but still have a middling shot at finishing in top spot and a better one of at least securing home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

Then again, the standings are so tight in the division the math says St. John’s still could finish anywhere from first to fifth, although the only way a fall to the cellar and out of the post-season could occur is if the Edge lost twice the Storm while the Titans, who now occupy last place, won all three of their remaining games.

Sunday at Mile One, the Edge jumped out to an early lead, but the Riptide went ahead before the game was seven minutes old. The home side would stay in hailing distance the rest of the way, even getting to within three points with 1:17 left in the contest, but never would regain that early lead.

Dez Lee scored 24 points for the Edge, while Jaren Nickens, making his first start of the season, added 16 for St. John’s. A few of Nickens’ points came as he went three-for-three on free throws in his first trips to the charity line all season.

Olu Ashaolu (11 points, 16 rebounds) and Glen Davis (10 points, 12 rebounds) had double-doubles for St. John’s, which got 12 points and eight assists from Junior Cadougan.

However, the Edge lost in the turnover category (they had 12, while the Riptide had eight) and had another below-average day on three-pointers, going just eight-for-29 from long distance. Saint John was 12-for-33 from beyond the arc, producing a 12-point difference in the category that more than covered the margin of victory.

Saint John (16-21) was once again led by Frank Bartley, who alone made seven treys as he registered 29 points for a second straight game against the Edge. Bryce Washington (17 points, 11 rebounds) made it to the double-double club for the visitors, who saw Marvin Binney score 13 points off the bench.

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