2019 NBLC Playoffs Round 1: Edge vs Five
St. John’s, NL — The Official St. John’s Edge 2019 Playoff Preview for Round 1 is here. We will break down the series by looking at the games played between the two teams, the key players on both sides, and how much of a factor home court advantage will be in this best 3 of 5 series.
The Edge and the Five battled three times during the regular season in 2 of 3 meetings the Edge were victorious winning both of those contests at Mile One Centre in December. The Five picked up their win in Sudbury in a closely contested match-up.
The December games featured a lot of faces on both sides that are no longer with the teams. Notably, for Sudbury, they were led by Grandy Glaze in the post, while the Edge had the services of Maurice Jones Sr. who is now a member of the Five. These two games were expected to be two of the closer games the Edge were involved in during the holiday season, however, they used a combination of interior scoring and knocked down their open looks to take both games by more than 20 points. The Five were led by Braylon Rayson and Grandy Glaze in the games offensively, while the Edge were led by Dez Lee, Diego Kapelan, and the recently (in December) acquired Glen Davis.
When the Edge visited Sudbury in February, the Edge squandered a late-game lead to allow the Five to take over and ultimately pick up the win on home court. On the Edge side, they were finding success on pick and roll’s where Olu Ashaolu would be on the receiving end to rack up 27 points and 12 rebounds before he fouled out late in the fourth quarter. The combination of Maurice Jones Sr. and Braylon Rayson at the point kept Sudbury in the game throughout the night, then as they made their late-game push the two would catch fire and combine for 14 of the teams final 32 points en route to the victory.
As we alluded too in the previous games, both teams had their share of player turnover. For the Five, the additions since those games include Maurice Jones Sr. who has been a key point guard down the stretch for the Five. Jones Sr. has been known to be able to light up the scoreboard, the evidence is shown in his successes with the Edge earlier in this season. He has lightning quick speed, with the ability to hit deep three’s when he gets the chance. This type of player causes havoc to any defence and he will surely be a key factor if Sudbury hopes to advance in their first NBLC Playoffs.
Another key player for the Five, is a potential MVP candidate, Braylon Rayson. The guard is one of the better shooters In the league with a great court sense. He can distribute the ball and is also not afraid to get hit on his way to the bucket. The combination of Rayson and Jones Sr. is one of the better backcourts in the NBLC. The Edge will have to play lockdown defence and prevent any more open looks for both highlight-of-the-night type players.
For the Edge, this series could be won in the post. The key factors will be Olu Ashaolu and Glen Davis. Ashaolu has been with the team since early February but has made an impact when given the opportunity. His strength and rebounding ability make him a threat when the ball gets passed down to the low blocks. He dropped 27 in Sudbury in the final regular season meeting between these two teams, expect that Head Coach Steve Marcus will have a few plays drawn up to feed the big man throughout the series.
Glen Davis will always be a key player, no matter where he goes or who the opponent is. The former NBA Champion has been spectacular since joining the Edge in December. He progressively adds to his point totals, with two 30 point games under his belt and his fair share of blocks and rebounds. The key here is to create opportunities, with all of the Edge guards having such a good scoring touch, they will have to change their focus to distributing the basketball and taking advantage of a Sudbury team that lacks size in the post. If Davis gets the touches we expect, then he will do his thing and be a big part of the Edge success moving forward in the playoffs.
Home Court Factor
Not many teams in this league can boast two straight years of attendance over 3,000 fans a game, which is why Mile One Centre is a factor.
When the crowd gets going it is tough to even think in the building. All season long the players have fed off of the energy that the Mile One Centre crowd has provided. The ability of the die-hard Edge fans to get under the skin of the opposing team is always mind-boggling for the visitors.
Although the stadium is almost 20 years old there has always been something special about an Edge crowd. You can find that evidence from the London/St. John’s series from last season. With a sea of blue and yellow, the Edge have a great advantage. Relying on the help of the fans as the sixth man, the Edge could be poised to make a deep playoff run and give the fans what they want, more basketball.
Don’t wait until it is too late as the Edge Playoff Tickets are on-sale now at the Mile One Centre box office, by calling 576-7657, or online at mileonecentre.com.
Stay current with the latest team news by visiting www.sjedge.ca. Follow the Edge all year long on Facebook (/stjohnsedge), Twitter (@stjohnsedge), and Instagram (@stjohnsedge).