A massive fourth-quarter run fuelled an 85-67 comeback win for the Calgary Surge over the Edmonton Stingers on Wednesday night and secured them a home game in the CEBL Playoffs.
Calgary trailed by nine points entering the fourth quarter at WinSport Event Centre in their last home game of the regular season. However, a 25-3 run in which Edmonton failed to connect on a field goal changed the complexion of the game.
“When things start to go south, we need to stay true to our identity offensively,” Edmonton head coach Jordan Baker said. “It was just a matter of both sides of the basketball sort of falling apart.”
Clutch Calgary guard Stefan Smith closed the game with a trio of dunks in target time to keep Calgary’s hopes of a first-place finish in the Western Conference alive. Smith finished the game with 12 points, all of which came in the fourth quarter.
“Defence [helped us come back]. It's all our defence,” Smith said after the game. “We did a better job of taking care of the ball. We had a lot of turnovers in the first half … We turned them over a lot and we were the aggressors in the second half.”
Surge star Sean Miller-Moore also stepped up when it mattered. He finished with a game-high 18 points on 6-12 shooting to go along with four assists. Simi Shittu added 12 points, seven rebounds, two steals and two blocks for Calgary while Admon Gilder Jr. and Terry Henderson reached double-digits with 10 points apiece.
“We can trust a lot of different people to help us win a game,” Calgary head coach Nelson Terroba said. “And they're okay with letting it work out in the wash and letting the game kind of dictate who that is.”
Four Stingers reached double figures in the loss with Brody Clarke pacing the offence with 17 points. Aher Uguak added 12, while Nick Hornsby notched a double-double with 10 points, 11 rebounds and five steals. Munis Tutu rounded out the attack with 10 points.
Edmonton struggled offensively in the defeat and has now lost four of their last five games. The Stingers shot 35 per cent from the field, 20 per cent from three and lost the points in the paint battle 40-26. Both teams turned the ball over at a high rate with Calgary suffering 28 and Edmonton 21.
In the first quarter, the Stingers opened the game on a 6-1 run before the Surge stormed back to make it a one-possession game. Jordy Tshimanga gave Calgary a late lead in the first before Meshack Lufile finished inside for Edmonton to give the visiting Stingers a 17-16 lead after 10 minutes.
In the second quarter, Calgary kept close early before a 12-4 run for the Stingers gave them their largest lead of the night at 11 points. Mason Bourcier sliced to the rim late for Calgary to cut the deficit to 41-32 heading into the locker room.
Turnovers plagued the Surge throughout the first half. Calgary gave the ball away 19 times, including 11 steals for Edmonton. The Stingers capitalized on their rivals’ mistakes, outscoring Calgary in points from turnovers 23-6 at the break. Clarke led all scorers at halftime with 13 points, while Shittu paced Calgary with eight points and five rebounds.
Gilder got hot from long range to start the third quarter but Edmonton was able to extinguish any threat of a Surge run. Miller-Moore cut the deficit to six late in the third, but Uguak drained a stepback three to close the quarter with Edmonton ahead 59-50.
However, Calgary seized control in the fourth. The Surge locked down defensively and went on a 25-3 run before target score time to take a 75-62 lead. Calgary prevented Edmonton from hitting a field goal for the opening six minutes of the fourth. Bourcier capped off the run with back-to-back threes to take the game into target time.
Uguak and Clarke delivered Edmonton’s first field goals of the fourth early in target time, but a trio of dunks from Smith were able to close the game for Calgary.
“If you watch the first three quarters, we're a team that's in control and we're forcing things,” Baker said. “But the end of the day, there's no moral victories in game 19 of a 20-game season.”
The Surge improve their record to 11-8 and keep their hopes for the one seed in the West alive. Edmonton falls to 8-11 and have an important game ahead of them in the regular season finale to try and clinch a playoff spot.