CEBL·Preview

Stingers ready to resume Basketball Champions League Americas play in Nicaragua

The CEBL champion Edmonton Stingers will find themselves in familiar territory this weekend: Nicaragua.

CEBL champions, sitting 1-1, set for weekend action in 2nd window of tournament

Edmonton Stingers forward Murphy Burnatowski, right, guards a Cangrejeros player during FIBA Basketball Champions League Americas (BCLA) action in December. The two teams will play again March 5 in the second leg of the tournament. (Ansh Sanyal/CEBL)

The CEBL champion Edmonton Stingers will find themselves in familiar territory this weekend: Nicaragua.

After travelling to Polideportivo in December to complete the first of three legs of the FIBA Basketball Champions League Americas (BCLA) competition, the Stingers carry their 1-1 record back to the Central American country for their next window of games. 

These contests, part of an league that brings together 12 of the best basketball teams across seven countries in the Americas to compete for a berth in the 2023 FIBA International Cup, were supposed to take place in Puerto Rico earlier this year, but were rescheduled over COVID-19 concerns.

The Stingers are grouped with Puerto Rico's Cangrejeros and Nicaragua's Real Estelí, the 2021 BCLA runner-up, in a round robin format that sees each team play one another three times in the span of three months.

The Stingers will play the Cangrejeros on March 5 and Estelí on March 6, both at 8 p.m. ET.

The Stingers will host the final stage of group play in Calgary at the WinSport Arena, where Edmonton will play the Cangrejeros on March 14 and Estelí on March 16, both at 9:30 p.m. ET.

Live coverage for all games can be seen on CBCSports.ca, the CBC Sports app and CBC Gem.

WATCH | Get to know the BCLA:

North Courts: What is the Basketball Champions League Americas?

10 months ago
Duration 7:15
Vivek Jacob and Jevohn Shepherd give an overview of the BCLA and the Edmonton Stingers - Canada’s lone representative in the tournament.

First leg of the tournament

Despite having home-court advantage taken away from them in January, the Cangrejeros are positioned atop Group A with a 2-0 record after edging out Real Estelí 91-88 and dominating the Stingers 89-68.

In the first window, Edmonton became the first CEBL team to play against a non-Canadian opponent and the first to play an opponent outside of Canada. The Stingers' 84-81 victory over the Nicaraguan club in their own arena was the first-ever CEBL victory outside of domestic play.

If the Stingers maintain a top-two spot in the group, they'll qualify for the quarter-finals in April.

Edmonton was led in scoring by New York native Trahson Burrell in the first two games, who averaged 18.5 points per game, highlighted by 20 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in the win over Estelí.

WATCH | Stingers finish up first leg of BCLA trip with 1-1 record:

Recapping Edmonton Stingers' 1st BCLA trip | North Courts

9 months ago
Duration 6:06
Vivek Jacob and Jevohn Shepherd break down the Edmonton Stingers' first double-header down south in the BCL Americas tournament, where they defeated Real Esteli and lost to Congrejeros.

Burrell has split time between the Mexican and Argentinian basketball leagues this season, a theme common with the makeup of Edmonton's roster for this tournament as just two players from their 2021 championship roster participated in the first leg: guards Adika Peter-McNeilly and Jahmal Jones.

New look in Nicaragua

Jones, of Mississauga, Ont., will be the lone thread tying the 2021 championship roster to the current-day Stingers when they take the court on Saturday against the Cangrejeros.

The shape of the roster will also be quite different from December as well.

Jones will be joined by seven new team members this weekend, with only guard Junior Cadougan, centre Chad Posthumus and forward Murphy Burnatowski making the trip for each of the first two legs.

Winnipeg's Posthumus and Toronto' Cadougan play for Edmonton's CEBL rival Ottawa and will be headed back to the nation's capital when the season starts at the end of May. But for now, they'll count as two of the Stingers' longest-tenured players.

Burnatowski, who last played for the St. John's Edge in the National Basketball League of Canada, is currently an assistant coach with the Dalhousie Tigers.

Nine Canadians dotted the roster in each of the first two legs.

Also joining the team this weekend will be former NBA player Josh Selby, a guard who played 38 games for the Memphis Grizzlies between 2011 and 2013.

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