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Canton Charge edged in the waning seconds by the Rio Grande Valley Vipers

The Canton Charge played like champions against the NBA Development League champion Rio Grande Valley Vipers but in the alas it was all for naught as the Canton Charge was overpowered in the waning seconds 124-119. Tuesday’s loss at the Memorial Civic Center drops Canton to 20-13 for the season and 12-4 at home. Rio Grande Valley ups their record to 24-8.

Some of the exciting action at the last Canton Charge game.
Some of the exciting action at the last Canton Charge game.Mark Horning
It was a valiant battle but in the end the Canton Charge fell short
It was a valiant battle but in the end the Canton Charge fell shortMark Horning

It was a brutal game under the boards during the first half as each team led by margins in turn but as the smoke cleared the Vipers held a slim 58-56 lead after a last second behind the back under the board.

The third quarter saw the two teams exchanging blows with a total of nine lead changes and five ties as neither team could gain dominance. In spite the fact that they shot 22-8 in the paint, including ten points from Shane Edwards, Canton was up by just one as they headed into the final quarter with the score 88-87.

The fourth quarter was a blur as each team began running fast break offenses with full court pressure. Canton led for the first 8:40 as Jorge Gutierrez handed out four assists, but it was the Vipers high scoring attack that kept Rio Grande in the game with 13-of-23 shooting for 57%.

Canton managed to pull ahead 110-104 but Rio Grande had an 11-5 run to tie the game with 2:15 left to play. The Vipers defense locked down Canton’s scoring over the next 2:00 and in spite of a valiant effort by the Charge put the game away as the final buzzer sounded.

Seven Charge players scored in double digits, led by Edwards’ career-high 35 points on 14-of-26 shooting with seven rebounds and four steals in 41 minutes. Gutierrez notched his third double-double of the season with 13 points, 11 assists and five boards in 34 minutes. Cavs assignment Sergey Karasev added 14 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals in 33 minutes. Canton hit season-highs as a team with 31 made free throws on 44 attempts tonight.

The Vipers were paced by Troy Daniels’ 26 points, including 6-of-15 from the three-point line, with eight rebounds and two steals in 41 minutes. Rockets assignment Isaiah Canaan poured in 26 points of his own with nine assists in 30 minutes. Houston’s Robert Covington added 16 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks in 39 minutes on assignment.

POSTGAME QUOTES

HEAD COACH STEVE HETZEL
(On if Rio Grande Valley’s offense gave them problems):“I didn’t think their style of play versus our style of play ended up (causing) a loss. At the end of the game, it was a half-court defensive game versus a half-court offensive game. If you can’t get those stops in the half-court, you can’t win the game.”

F SHANE EDWARDS
(On getting up for a team that is facing injuries):“I thought we fought the whole game. We kind of slipped up in the fourth quarter. When it comes to that point in time of the game, you have got to get stops and I just felt that we didn’t do as well as we could have with our team defense in the fourth quarter.”

The Charge is back at the Civic Center for their next game on Friday, February 21 at 7:00 p.m. versus the Erie BayHawks. It’s Canton Charge Prom Night, with a photo booth, dancing, prom dress donations to Fairy Goodmothers, postgame free throws and dollar dogs presented by Sugardale, all starting at just $7!

For game day promotions and links to live stats and YouTube game streams, head towww.CantonCharge.com.

Fans can stay up-to-date on team news by following the team at: @CantonCharge on Twitter atwww.twitter.com/CantonCharge and on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/CantonCharge.