After an undefeated homestand, the Saskatchewan Rattlers are ready to hit the road

Saskatchewan sits atop the Canadian Elite Basketball League standings along with the Edmonton Stingers, who the Rattlers will play next when the two Western Conference leaders face off in Edmonton on Sunday.

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Undefeated at home thanks to a perfect 3-0 home score, the Saskatchewan Rattlers hit the road for their next three games.

Saskatchewan is tied with the Edmonton Stingers at the top of the Canadian Elite Basketball League standings – and that’s the team the Rattlers will play next. The two Western Conference leaders clash Sunday afternoon in Edmonton.

“Next from Edmonton; The coaching staff is going to come together and make plans for Edmonton,” said Rattlers head coach Larry Abney when asked about the upcoming road change, which includes stops in Edmonton, Calgary and Brampton.

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“They won again on Thursday, so they feel good. We make a game plan for them. One game at a time. Home or away, neutral, we approach it the same way.”

Although undefeated, the Rattlers lack that killer instinct when it comes to Elam’s final score. It’s been a bit of an adventure so far this season, and first-year head coach Abney knows that.

“It is,” admitted Abney, whose team defeated the previously undefeated Vancouver Bandits 98-86 at SaskTel Center on Thursday night but struggled to close out the game with a number of missed opportunities at the end.

“Everyone told me about it. Everyone talked about the challenges there. I see it in the other games. You think it won’t be you. You think you can execute, but it gets ugly, you know what I mean? We will continue to work on it. In such situations we continue to try to close. I thought we had some chances. You can’t be mad at the opportunities we get. As long as they get better every game, and we execute and get the chances, we just have to put it down.”

Former Toronto Raptor guard Jalen Harris led the way on Thursday with 26 points and nine assists to go along with six rebounds and two steals.

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“The approach has to be better,” says Harris, team captain of the Rattlers. “We’re 3-and-0 now, but to be honest I’m not super happy. I think we can be much better. We’re doing well – I’m happy we’re doing well – but I think we need to be better, especially on the road. I think we will do that in the future.”

Elijah (EJ) Harkless finished the night with 19 points, four rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocked shots.

“Wait until he starts shooting because he’s actually a good shooter,” Abney noted. “He doesn’t shoot well and he still comes up big with his defensive pressure. If you look at his numbers in the last game (against the Montreal Alliance), they weren’t great, but I thought he was one of the main reasons why we were able to make that comeback (after being 23 points down).

‘Same tonight. We’re talking about guys who play 40 minutes. I think he’s the head of the snake. I don’t think there’s anyone in this league that can match his energy.”

Harkless thrilled fans with a thunderous one-handed dunk to end the third quarter with a 19-point lead.

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Harkless – who is new to the CEBL this season after playing under Abney for the NBA G League Ontario Clippers in the Los Angeles Clippers organization – admits he doesn’t know what to expect from the upcoming road games.

“Home game was a surprise to me,” Harkless noted. “I didn’t know what routine it was or if we had routines. It was kind of like getting back into it for me. Just like on the road, I don’t know exactly what to expect, but I know I’m going with my boys and it’s a great unit. I know we’re going to fight and we’re going to go out there and try to get some games.”

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