By Michael Kennedy
Over the ten days leading up to February 23, 2020, we will highlight some of the greatest moments of Carl English's tenure with the St. John's Edge.
In the brief history of the St. John's Edge one team has clearly been their arch-rival: the London Lightning. Prior to the Edge's arrival on the NBL Canada scene, the Lightning were the model franchise of the league with its highest attendance numbers and strongest fan base.
Then along came Carl English and the St. John's Edge. With them came an intense wave of basketball fever that swept, not only the city of St. John's, but the entire province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The Edge were selling out home games, blowing up social media and had become a local phenomenon. The new kids on the block were knocking at London's door and coming for their throne.
After a first-round sweep of the Windsor Express the Edge would cross paths with the Lightning in the Central Division finals. London were led by Royce White, a former NBA first-round draft pick and a beast of a man known for his skill and physical power. White was a polarizing figure and a player opposing team's fans loved to hate. Not just for his dominant play but also his brash attitude and penchant for outspokenness(White was never one to shy away from mouthing off to fans and his visits to the Mile One Centre were no exception). St. John's meanwhile were led by the Hometown Hero, Carl English, who had just been named league MVP, much to the chagrin of White, and had his sights squarely set on bringing an NBLC championship to the rock.
The Edge and Lightning were knotted 2-2 in their best-of-seven series. The first four games saw the combatants trade wins and losses and set up a crucial game five.
The stage was set. The environment was tumultuous and these were the moments that Carl English relished.
Game five was an intense thriller from start to finish as both teams fought tooth and nail. In a word, it was a classic. The Lightning were led by White but not without a cost as he would foul out midway through the fourth quarter and serve as an immense distraction(White would eventually be suspended and never play in the league again). On the other side, English showed his MVP form as he shouldered the load for the Edge all game dropping 34 points, including 14 in the fourth quarter, to go along with seven rebounds and seven assists. It was a clutch performance as he shot a stellar 11-17 from the field including 5-8 from the three-point line. When the Edge were desperate for a bucket, #23 was up to the task.
The Lightning would eventually come away the victors, 130-127, but ask any Edge fan about the best games they've seen at Mile One and this one will undoubtedly be in the discussion. Not only was the game an instant classic but it was one of the greatest efforts by the local legend in an Edge uniform.
Keep watching as the countdown continues tomorrow! CLICK HERE FOR THE COMPLETE LIST.
Join us on February 23rd as we celebrate and pay tribute to the career of Newfoundland's own, Carl English. In honour of Carl's retirement, the Edge organization will retire his number 23 and hoist his jersey to the rafters of the Mile One Centre. Tickets can be purchased online at www.mileonecentre.com, by phone at (709)576-7657