For the first time since August 2020, the Edmonton Stingers hit the court to take on the Hamilton Honey Badgers. With a brand new roster and 7 returning players, the Stingers came into the season opener against Hamilton on a 7 game active win streak. The Stingers starting five was Xavier Moon, Mathieu Kamba, Jordan Baker, Brady Skeens and Marlon Johnson. The Honey Badgers fielded Lindell Wigginton, Trevon Duval, JV Mukama, Khalif Young and Tyler Kennedy.
With around 100 fans in the arena, the Stingers lined up at half court for the tip off. Marlon Johnson, who’d waited nearly a year since being diagnosed with a crippling illness, smiled big prior to the tip off, which he won, but Mukama stole possession of. Right off the bat, the Stingers looked deadly. Marlon Johnson brought a ton of energy to the game and threw down a handful of first quarter dunks.Following a period of time where Marlon Johnson took a series of dimes from Moon and threw them down, Jordan Baker started finding ways to cut to the basket. Moon came through with 10 points and 9 assists in the first half of action as the Stingers took a commanding 19 point lead.
The Honey Badgers battled back behind the impressive shooting clinic by Hamilton’s Lindell Wigginton. Wigginton finished with 30 points and 9 assists. The second half was highlighted by Xavier Moon, who began to heat up in the fourth quarter. The Honey Badgers did manage to cut the Edmonton lead cut down to just 3 points for a long period of time.
When it came to ELAM ending time, the Stingers and Honey Badgers were neck and neck. Wigginton and Moon went back and forth until Marlon Johnson put up the game winning runner. The Stingers would walk away with a 91-87 victory in their first game of the season, extending their active win streak to 8.
Marlon Johnson was extremely impressive in his Stingers debut. Johnson did a little bit of everything coming in with a game high 27 points, along with 7 assists, 5 rebounds and 4 steals. Johnson threw down some huge dunks, made some key shots, and of course hit the game winner. Johnson looked extremely comfortable on the floor playing with Moon, the question now is can he keep it up? Johnson was everywhere on both ends, so it only makes sense that he runs out of gas eventually… unless.
Of course, the MVP Xavier Moon put together a wonderful game. Moon came through with 25 points of his own, along with 11 assists and 6 rebounds. Moon was doing what he does best, hitting mid ranges, making smart passes, and even dunking! Moon silenced any critics that were left to critique his passing game, his 11 assists is a personal CEBL record. Moon also became the CEBL all time scoring leader, passing Ricky Tarrant Jr.
Jordan Baker was the next man up following the dynamic duo of Moon and Johnson. Baker finished with 13 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists. Baker was a huge contributor in the first half, but slipped into a playmaking Rollin the second half when Moon started scoring. Baker was a consistent presence for the Stingers who once again complemented the Stingers superstar duo, as he has done since the inaugural season.
Brady Skeens had an intriguing CEBL debut as he dropped 6 points on 3-3 shooting, as well as 4 rebounds and 2 steals. Skeens spent most of the game on the bench as he struggled with fouls. Skeens was extremely efficient when he was on the court, coming in with a team high plus-minus, but his foul trouble gave Stingers fans a very small sample size to look forward to.
Mathieu Kamba was the last starter, and was a bit slow coming out of the game. It wasn’t the world’s worst game, but Kamba finished with 7 points, 1 assist, and 5 fouls. Kamba found himself on the bench quite often due to his 5 fouls, and struggled to get shots to fall. Despite this, Kamba has reportedly been looking beastly in training camp, so don’t be surprised if he bounces back in a big way.
Adika Peter-McNeilly was the highest scorer off the bench, he came through with 8 points in limited minutes, also due to four fouls. Jahmal Jones came off the bench as the sixth man, perhaps partially due to Adika’s fouls, but Jones saw near starter minutes. In his minutes, Jones took few shots, mainly acting as a floor general. Jones finished with 3 points and 5 assists.
The last scorer for the Stingers was Zac Overwater, who came through with 2 points, 2 rebounds and a block. Overwater looked solid in his limited minutes, but once again a small sample size makes it difficult to assess his performance. Kareem South was scoreless in his limited minutes, but dished one assist.
Overall, it was a strong game for the Stingers. An impressive start turned into a shaky finish, but the Stingers game away with the win nonetheless. It seemed like the Honey Badgers were getting lucky with prayer threes, so the fact that this game was so close after a 19 point deficit is not too bothersome for the Stingers.
The Stingers take on the Niagara River Lions in front of a full crowd on July 2.