They were buoyed by another big St. John’s basketball crowd last night, boosted by the presence of Glen “Big Baby” Davis back in the blue and white home jersey, and driven to win the city’s first pro sports championship.
But the Edge were too bruised and too battered, and in the end, not good enough to get it done.
Once again, it was the visiting team celebrating a league championship inside Mile One Centre, with the Moncton Magic winning their first National Basketball League of Canada title Thursday night before 4,328 in downtown St. John’s.
The Magic won 130-120 to complete a sweep of the best-of-seven final.
The city is now zero-for-three in championship game appearances in the pro ranks, after the St. John’s IceCaps lost to the Texas Stars in the 2014 American Hockey League Calder Cup final. Like the Magic, the Stars celebrated their championship inside Mile One.
In 1992, the St. John’s Maple Leafs lost on the Calder Cup final in their first year of existence.
For the Edge, the 2018-19 campaign was only their second in the NBL Canada, and an improvement on their inaugural season when St. John’s reached the division final.
Unlike last season, however, the Edge were decimated with injuries in the post season, culminating with news prior to Thursday’s game that Carl English, who was already hobbling, was done for the season with a torn quad.
At one point or another in the playoffs, the Edge were without English, Glen Davis, Dez Lee, Shaquille Keith, Junior Cadougan, Olu Ashaolu and Satnam Singh.
Injuries and the resulting lack of depth — the Edge dressed 10 players Thursday, but Cadougan played seven minutes and Singh two — saw St. John’s trail 72-50 at the half. To their credit, the Edge didn’t roll over in the second half, at one point closing to within six points of the Magic, but St. John’s, in the end, was unable to close the gap.
Lee, who was hobbled with a sore leg all series, was marvelous in the last game with 43 points and 13 rebounds. Davis scored 28 points.
Moncton was the league’s best team during the regular season, going a league-best 27-13.