As expected, the Hamilton Honey Badgers and the Edmonton Stingers continue to lap the CEBL in terms of quality. They both went 3-0 this past week, with Edmonton’s 41-point drubbing of the winless Saskatchewan Rattlers standing out amongst the two team’s results. The Stingers will get another crack at the Rattlers Monday night. What will they have in store for an encore?
Hamilton, meanwhile, just barely squeaked by the Niagara River Lions to remain unbeaten since their lone loss to the Stingers earlier in the season. Both teams were energized by the presence of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in the stands.
The River Lions will rue their missed opportunity to put the Honey Badgers away after they led by as many as 17 points in the third quarter. But after cutting the deficit to 10 points heading into the fourth, the Stingers, led by Lindell Wigginton, went on a key 18-11 run to get within just three points before the Elam ending kicked in. After Jean-Victor Mukama hit a clutch three-pointer to give the Stingers a 77-76 lead, Wigginton went to the line and drilled the winning free throw to cap off a game-high 25-point performance.
The CEBL’s most notable contribution, however, may have come from a former Honey Badger in international play. In Nigeria’s stunning upset over USA Basketball in a pre-Olympic exhibition, Caleb Agada scored 17 points in 17 minutes. He chipped in with three of Nigeria’s 20 three-pointers and helped put Canada’s league on notice on the world stage.
The Ottawa BlackJacks have not gotten off to a good start in Charles Dube-Brais’ first season. But they picked up their second win against Fraser Valley to move to 2-4. It seemed like the BlackJacks, behind Johnny Berhanemeskel’s 24 points, would cruise to victory when they led 51-37 at halftime.
But when the Elam ending started, Fraser Valley had cut it to an 81-79 game. It was Junior Cadougan who sealed the game at the line for the BlackJacks, who will look to build on their positive momentum against the winless Guelph Nighthawks.
After getting off to a hot 4-0 start, Fraser Valley dropped both of their games this week and will look to break out of this mini slump. Thankfully, their next chance to get back in the win column is also against the Nighthawks.
Guelph put forth their best effort of the season against the Honey Badgers. In their first game at home, Cat Barber put on a show, scoring 25 points. However, while they led up until the third quarter, the Honey Badgers’ talent ultimately won out in the fourth, as Mukama sealed the deal during the Elam ending in a sequence that would make Deandre Ayton proud.
The biggest matchup to watch this week is undoubtedly Thursday’s rematch between the Honey Badgers and Stingers. Can Hamilton exact revenge against the defending champions, or will the Stingers pick up a second head-to-head win and keep on rolling?
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the two remaining winless teams, the Saskatchewan Rattlers and Guelph Nighthawks, will square off on Friday. Something’s gotta give.