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St. John's Edge don't bottle the Lightning

A.J. Gaines (35) of the London Lightning goes high to defend a shot attempt by Maurice Jones (2) of the St. John’s Edge as players on both teams, including Carl English (23) of the Edge and Josiah Moore (23) of the Lightning, look on during their NBL Canada game Sunday afternoon at Mile One Centre. The Lightning won 119-113 in overtime. — St. John’s Edge photo/Jeff Parsons
A.J. Gaines (35) of the London Lightning goes high to defend a shot attempt by Maurice Jones (2) of the St. John’s Edge as players on both teams, including Carl English (23) of the Edge and Josiah Moore (23) of the Lightning, look on during their NBL Canada game Sunday afternoon at Mile One Centre. The Lightning won 119-113 in overtime. — St. John’s Edge photo/Jeff Parsons

They led by 20 late in the first half Sunday, but defending champion London clawed its way back for OT win

The St. John’s Edge had the London Lightning on the ropes early on, but couldn’t finish off the two-time defending National Basketball League of Canada champions, dropping a 119-113 decision in overtime Sunday afternoon at Mile One Centre in St. John’s.

It was the first loss in six games for the 12-7 Edge, and only the second in their past 13 since they lumbered to a 1-5 start in their 2018-19 schedule.

The Edge had control of this one through the first half before 4,599 hoops faithful. The home side – fresh off a 109-100 win before a crowd over 6,000 Saturday night – enjoyed a 20-point advantage with three minutes to go in the half of the rematch.

“This should have never gotten to overtime,” Carl English said.

Trailing 54-42 at the break, the never-say-die Lightning, who ousted St. John’s in the second round of last year’s playoffs, chipped away at the Edge, who opted to give Glen Davis, coming off a 31-point performance Saturday night, a day of rest (odd, considering the team just had a 12-day break).

The Lightning drew even 103-103 with 41 seconds left in regulation and it remained that way at the buzzer.

Davis entered the game with two seconds left on the clock, and Edge owning the ball on the inbound. Junior Cadougan got the ball to the former NBA big man, who muscled his way to the basket, but couldn’t get the ball to drop for the win.

“I think (it’s) been a case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, where we show within the same game often how good we can be, and then how easily we can be beat if we have mental lapses. We tend to take the foot off the gas, and that’s a sign of an inexperienced team more than anything.”

St. John’s Edge head coach Doug Plumb

London outscored St. John’s 16-10 in OT.

“We didn’t get defensive stops. Simple as that,” said Cadougan, who paced the Edge with 27 points. “In the third quarter, they shot 70 per cent (72.2 to be precise). It’s all about stops.

“If we execute and do the right things, on offence and defence, you see what can happen. We won 11 out of 12. But we need to lock in for the full game. We can’t be content. We have to lock in for the full 48 minutes.”

“You always have to keep the foot on the gas,” added English, who chipped in with 20 points. “You have to keep them by the throat, and put them away. Twenty goes to 30. When 20 goes to 10, things change.

“And that’s on us. We have to do a better job of getting stops and executing on the other end. It’s not just offence, and it’s not just defence. It’s both sides of the ball.”

Coach Doug Plumb was clear in his assessment that sometimes a loss can be a good thing, especially for a team like the Edge which has been on a roll.

“It causes you to look in the mirror, and refocus on what matters, and at the end of the day it’s winning,” he said.

Doug Plumb
Doug Plumb

However, Plumb was somewhat cryptic when asked at what point he felt the game got away from his charges.

“Momentum,” he said, “is a hell of a thing, and when we got into our bench, I needed one through 12 guys ready to play.

“It doesn’t matter who is in the game. The single objective is to win, so we need to be unified and every man one through 12 needs to be prepared to do their job.

“Every man to a man needs to know the scouting report, even if you play one minute or you play 35. You need to do your job every single possession, and I think our mental lapses have been a case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, where we show within the same game often how good we can be, and then how easily we can be beat if we have mental lapses.

“We tend to take the foot off the gas, and that’s a sign of an inexperienced team more than anything.”

Maurice Jones scored 18 points for the Edge and Dez Lee chipped in with 15. Diego Kapelan added 13.

Seven London players were in double figures in scoring, led by Garrett Williamson’s 26 points and 25 from Jaylen Babb-Harrison.

The Edge have eight days off to prepared for the Halifax Hurricanes, who are in town Jan. 29 and 31.

robin.short@thetelegram.com

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