River Lions report submitted by Stephen Dyell, ThoroldNews:
The battle to win the first ever Canadian Elite Basketball (CEBL) championship is heating up after the Edmonton Stingers defeated the Niagara River Lions 105-98 in overtime Friday night.
Nem Mitrovic led the River Lions with 26 points in the loss while Stingers guard Xavier Moon finished with 24.
With the win, the Stingers are now tied atop the standings and also handed the River Lions' first loss inside the Meridian Centre this season. Both teams have clinched a berth for Championship weekend in Saskatoon beginning on Aug. 22.
Niagara could potentially face a rematch against the Stingers or the host Saskatchewan Rattlers. Currently, the Hamilton Honey Badgers sit with the best odds for the final playoff spot with a 8-9 record. Hamilton, which has suffered an up-and-down season, recently signed Xavier Rathan-Mayes, who set a CEBL scoring high of 37 points in his first game. The Florida State product has dabbled around NBA circles for the past few years and adds a dangerous option heading into championship weekend.
River Lions recently lost Kassius Robertson to the Charlotte Hornets Summer League team but signed Ryan Wright to grow their defensive presence. Wright, who also played with clubs Joensuun Kataja and Pecsi VSK-Veolia, adds size at six-foot-nine.
The River Lions play the final home game on Aug. 2 against the Guelph Nighthawks. They will play the Fraser Valley Bandits and the Honey Badgers before heading to Saskatoon.