My initial plan was to review some things that the Edmonton Stingers did in their previous game or two and preview their upcoming opponent, much like I did last week. However, my plans changed a bit. The Saskatchewan Rattlers have had some injury issues (Osse and Gant are out, Webster-Chan is not with the team as well) and are down bad right now. The Stingers play them 3 times in a row and I expect them to win at least 2 of them (this sport is crazy and anything can happen, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Rattlers snagged a win.)
Edmonton were not good hosts to their visitors from Ontario. Hamilton, Niagara and Ottawa all left the Expo Center with losses. In the game vs Niagara, Xavier Moon reset the Canadian Elite Basketball League’s (CEBL) single game scoring record to 38 points. Let’s break down how the whole thing went down.
The Stingers win the opening tip and Moon actually jogs down to the corner as the shooting guard. He uses a Baker screen to get the ball at the wing. Pandi gives him a bit too much room as Moon takes a few methodical dribbles to get to the free throw line for the jump shot. 2 points.
Moon gets the long rebound here, and Xavuer Sneed passively picks him up in the transition defense. Moon gets to his spot at the elbow for another jump shot where Sneed just allows it to happen. However, Javin DeLaurier helps off of Skeens and actually is right in Moon’s face when he pulls the trigger. Doesn’t matter. 4 points.
Moon slowly brings the ball up on this play. Marlon Johnson sets a screen at the top while the other players clear out. Both Pandi and Sneed get caught under the screen giving Moon tons of room for his first 3 of the game. Moon may have been 0-3 from 3 in the season opener, but he’s been shooting over 45% from distance in this league over 2 seasons. Defenders shouldn’t be going under screens on him. 7 points.
On this play Johnson gets the ball at the top. Moon sweeps over and “screens” for Adika Peter-McNeilly on the strong side, while at the same time Johnson passes to Baker on the other side above the arc. After Moon and Adika’s action, Moon cuts back up top to the wing and his defender Pandi gets caught on a Johnson screen. Baker earns an assist on another open 3. 10 points.
Moon starts in the corner as the off-guard again with Adika at the point. Moon quickly sweeps to the top and receives the hand-off. This action causes some scrambling with the defense, Sneed switches off of Johnson to defend the ball. Moon gets him moving right a bit before changing direction faster than Sneed can. He’s fouled as he gets to the rim earning 2 shots at the charity stripe. Moon was a perfect 7/7 from the line in this game. Practice your free throw shooting kids! 12 points.
This shot is just a ridiculous heat check. Daniel Mullings becomes the primary defender on Moon. However, he tries to go under the screen by Baker. Moon buries the deep 3. 15 points.
The Stingers get the offensive rebound here. Kamba tests the defense with a jab step before getting the ball back to Moon. Baker and Johnson set screens in the same area, as Moon moves through them Boucard becomes his primary defender. Moon changes his pace and his direction a couple times as he dances to the elbow. He draws contact from Boucard as he puts up the shot. He banks it in and the foul. 3 point play the old fashioned way. 18 points.
Moon is in the corner as the off-guard again. Jahmal Jones is at the point and the Stingers run that double screen that they executed earlier. Baker and Kemel Archer screen at the top. Archer’s screen is used and he receives the pass as he roles to the hoop. Moon’s defender Mullings is all the way down in the key ready to help. Archer recognizes this and passes to the wide open Moon for another 3. (Why would you help that far off of him?) 21 points. All in the 1st quarter, a new CEBL record!
Xavier Moon was actually scoreless in the 2nd quarter, the Stingers were running things to get some other guys going a bit. Mathieu Kamba excelled the most during this time, he ended the day with 14 points.
Early in the 3rd came Moon’s next bucket. A screen at the top by Brady Skeens gives him just enough daylight to streak to the hoop. He hooks the layup in avoiding heavy contact from the help defender. 23 points.
This next Gif is brought to you by “Entrust – Respite”. Moon gets the ball at the top with Mullings hounding him. Moon uses a burst of speed to get around him to the right, then puts in a beautiful floater over Sneed. As easy as it looks, the floater is an EXTREMELY difficult shot. It’s mainly used by guards to get over taller defenders. The drawback is that it’s not easy to control your accuracy on the attempt. Clearly Moon works on this all the time in the lab because this is a shot he makes regularly. 25 points.
Moon gets the steal and the Stingers run the other way. He passes to Johnson near the hoop, but the ball gets fumbled to the top. Baker ends up diving for it and gets the ball to Johnson. As the Stingers retain control of the ball, Moon backs up to the corner. The fight for the ball caused all the defenders to forget about Moon. Johnson recognizes this and zips a pass across the floor to Moon for a wide open 3. 28 points.
Onto the 4th quarter. Skeens sets a screen at the top and as Moon goes left DeLaurier switches onto him. Javin DeLaurier is actually a very good defender. He recognizes he gets beat as Moon gets around him moving right. DeLaurier then tries to accurately time a block at the rim but Moon is too quick and gets another layup. 30 points.
Elam time is approaching. The Stingers run the same play at the top. Skeens sets a screen for Moon and DeLaurier switches onto him. This time Moon gets him dancing a bit before finding a spot just under the free throw line and putting in another difficult jumper. 32 points.
The Stingers run the infamous double screen at the top again. Moon acts as if to use Baker’s screen to the right before sprinting to the left on Skeens’ side. DeLaurier is just a moment too late as he comes up to hedge. He ends up using his hip to force Moon to the right instead of getting his chest in front of him first. You can’t do that. The foul puts Moon on the line (they were in the bonus). 2 more points, puts him at 34.
The cross court pass to Kamba doesn’t quite get the offense what they’re looking for. It gets reset back to Moon at the top. He beats his man and again puts in a difficult floater from the middle of the key. Notice his body control. Moon is able to sprint towards the basket then stamps out that momentum to elevate up, instead of forward and through the defender committing an offensive foul. Incredibly impressive. 36 points.
Jaylen Babb-Harrison gets the ball at the top of the key. He tries jab stepping a couple times to create some room but Moon ends up stripping the ball. Babb-Harrison dives for the loose ball but he ends up colliding into Moon’s legs. The foul puts Moon on the line for the final points of the game.
Xavier Moon was automatic again from the line. He made both, got another Elam winner and got the Stingers another win on the season.
Xavier Moon shot 13/19 from the floor, 5/7 from 3 and 7/7 from the line. He got 6 rebounds (1 offensive), 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block and unfortunately 3 turnovers. (Watching this game as I wrote this, I thought Moon had 2 steals. There was a strip on Sneed as he went up for a jump shot that they must have counted as a block.)
To have this performance in front of the fans too was extra special! The MVP chants as he put the game on ice gave me chills!
The Stingers play tomorrow July 8th 7:30 at the Expo Center as they host the Saskatchewan Rattlers. Get some tickets and head out to the game, or watch it live on CEBL+, the CEBLeague channel on Twitch, or the CBC Gem app.
As always, Defend the Hive!