Storm visits West Prince

Jason Simmonds
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Team White prevails in inter-squad game at Westisle Composite High School

ROSEBANK – The Summerside Storm made their first public appearance in West Prince on Saturday night.

Calvin Jenkins slams the ball while blindfolded during the Summerside Storm’s inter-squad game at Westisle Composite High School on Saturday night.

P.E.I.’s first-ever pro basketball team, members of the National Basketball League of Canada, held an inter-squad game at Westisle Composite High School. The game attracted an appreciative crowd as the majority of the bleacher seats were filled.

“It was great,” said Storm head coach Joe Salerno. “It was what we wanted. The fans were involved, and I think the kids and basketball community up here (West Prince) are very excited.

“We just wanted to come out and show the people the level of athleticism and talent that these guys really have. I think it went off without a hitch. I was very happy with it, and I think the crowd was as well.”

Close game

Team White, coached by assistant coach Mev Bahonjic, edged the Salerno-coached Team Blue 66-63. Each team had eight players dressed as power forward Mike Williams sat out the game with an ankle injury.

The game was close throughout as Team White held quarter leads of 33-25, 41-40 at the half and 59-57.

Salerno assessed that he saw “spurts of brilliance and spurts of pretty rag-tag basketball at some points” during the contest. The Storm opened training camp in Slemon Park last Monday.

“This was a tough week for these guys,” said Salerno. “I knew coming into the second half we were going to be kind of winded, the pace certainly slowed down quite a bit.

“But we’re learning, guys are trying to build chemistry and there are still 16 guys here who are trying to get to know each other. For the most part I was pretty pleased with it.

“We have an awful long way to go, but, again, we’ve been at it for a week. The spurts were great, and we just have to clean up the rest of it.”

“It was great. It was what we wanted. The fans were involved, and I think the kids and basketball community up here (West Prince) are very excited. We just wanted to come out and show the people the level of athleticism and talent that these guys really have. I think it went off without a hitch. I was very happy with it, and I think the crowd was as well.” Storm head coach Joe Salerno

Xavier Hansboro led Team White with 16 points, and Tyrone Mattison sank 10. Doug McKinney of Charlottetown contributed eight points, including a key slam dunk with 16.3 seconds remaining to close out the scoring and give Team White a three-point lead.

Jessan Gray, with a game-high 18 points, and Michael Dale’s 15-point effort led Team Blue. Al Stewart added 13 points.

Honour West Prince residents

The Storm recognized two longtime supporters of minor sports in a pre-game ceremony. Harvey Mazerolle and Walter Davidson were each presented with Storm shirts by the team’s co-owners, Duncan Shaw and Darren MacKay.

They were also named honorary coaches for the inter-squad game – Davidson with Team White and Mazerolle with Team Blue.

Fan friendly

The Storm also made sure it was a fan-friendly evening for the fans. All youngsters aged 5 to 11 were invited onto the court at halftime to shoot baskets. After returning to the floor from the dressing room, a couple of Storm players hopped in the line with the youngsters.

Then, before the start of the second half, a slam-dunk contest was held. The fans’ cheers determined the winner. The highlight was winner Calvin Jenkins charging in from centre court, and slamming the ball home with a sweater pulled up over his head.

At the conclusion of the game, fans were invited back onto the floor to talk to and meet the Storm players and coaches. It was also an opportunity for autographs and photos.

jpsports@journalpioneer.com

Organizations: Westisle Composite High School, National Basketball League of Canada

Geographic location: Slemon Park, Charlottetown

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