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Surge storm out of gate to beat Rattlers for first win of season

Calgary Surge Justin Lewis - CEBL

The Calgary Surge are on the board.

Sean Miller-Moore led the way with 27 points including the game-winner as the Surge topped the Saskatchewan Rattlers 102-85 at Winsport Event Centre on Wednesday in Calgary for their first win of the season.

The Surge’s last victory came in last season’s semifinals. Since then, Calgary lost the championship game to the Scarborough Shooting Stars and its first three games of the current campaign.

And so the victory over Saskatchewan was a long time coming.

“The word around town was teams around the CEBL were laughing at us, so we just had to prove that we’re still contenders and we’re still able to lock in,” Surge forward Mathieu Kamba told sideline reporter Cami Kepke after the game.

Miller-Moore, of Brampton, Ont., was among the few players who have been with the team since those 2023 playoffs. He dished eight assists and pulled down four rebounds in addition to his game-high point total.

“It’s a part of the game. You’re gonna lose some, you’re gonna win some. It’s just how you bounce back. I know I needed to be better, it goes down the line. Everyone needed to be better and it starts with me and I’m just grateful to be in that position,” Miller-Moore said.

Calgary came firing out of the gates, starting the game on a 12-0 run featuring one basket from each starter that forced Rattlers head coach Larry Abney to call an early timeout. Saskatchewan didn’t score for four minutes until Maurice Calloo, the former Surge forward, converted on a floater.

But the momentum stayed on Calgary’s side as veteran Malcolm Duvivier, the Toronto native, found his rhythm and nailed his second of four three-pointers as the Surge led 30-13 after the first quarter.

“He set the tone. He kinda just said, ‘Hey listen, this is how we’re gonna play today. We’re not gonna back down to anything.’ And we needed that,” Surge head coach Tyrell Vernon said.

Calgary increased its lead to 53-33 at half on the strength of 47 per cent shooting from distance, compared to just 18 per cent for Saskatchewan. The Surge also out-rebounded the Rattlers 29-19 in the first 20 minutes.

The Surge’s energy was evident from the tipoff, as the offence continually looked to push the ball in transition off both misses and makes. Duvivier said Vernon challenged the team pregame to defend its homecourt after losing its first two home games of the season.

Saskatchewan cut its deficit to as little as 14 points in the third quarter, but never got closer. The Rattlers fell to 3-2 with the loss, while the Surge improved to 1-3.

The win marked the first of Vernon’s CEBL career.

“It feels good. The way the guys competed today, they really got after it. … The energy was there, the effort was there, but now it’s a quick turnaround. We got Vancouver coming up on Friday,” Vernon said.

Calgary’s victory means every team in the CEBL is now in the win column. The Ottawa BlackJacks also broke their winless drought on Wednesday.

Kamba, the Calgary native in his fifth CEBL season, surpassed the 500-point mark for his career with his eight-point effort.

“It’s pretty dope. I had family members out there, best friends, and they got to see that moment and that’s always inspiring for me,” Kamba said.

Guard Jalen Harris led Saskatchewan with 23 points, but both he and fellow starter Elijah Harkless sat for all of Target Score Time.

“The [Surge] came out like a team desperate to win and we didn’t match their energy and that was the result,” Abney said of his team’s loss.

Calloo was ejected from the game in the third quarter after receiving his second technical foul. He exited with 11 points and two rebounds.

What’s next?

Both teams are back in action on Friday as the Rattlers head to Brampton to face the Honey Badgers while the Surge host the Vancouver Bandits looking to avenge a 26-point loss from earlier in the season.