Storm adjusting defense for meeting with first-place team

Stephen Brun
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SUMMERSIDE - It's no secret that the Summerside Storm's defense will require some adjustments heading into Tuesday night's game against the National Basketball League of Canada's top team.

Head coach Joe Salerno in front of the Summerside Storm bench.

The Storm, in the midst of a six-game losing streak, host the first-place London Lightning in a rare Tuesday game at EastLink Arena. Tip-off time is 7 p.m.

Averaging nearly 104 points per game, Summerside is the second-highest scoring squad in the seven-team league. On the other hand, they also allow more points per game on average than any other team.

"Defensively, we've been working on that over the last week or so, and we're making a slight adjustment off the ball," said Storm head coach, Joe Salerno.

"It's no secret we're not defending well this season."

Summerside, (5-9, won-lost), is coming off Friday's 111-102 loss to the Moncton Miracles. It was the first win of the inaugural NBL of Canada season for the struggling Miracles.

Salerno said the team focused its Monday afternoon practice on defense - something the Storm will need against the 11-3 Lightning. 

To help its cause, the team acquired six-foot-four shooting guard Troy Jackson on Sunday, while releasing shooting guard and first-round draft pick Justin Garris.

Jackson, a native of Philadelphia, Penn., played for Salerno in Vermont two years ago when he led that league with an 18-points-per-game scoring average. The coach said Jackson is also an excellent on-ball defender.

With a new player in the mix, fans could see some different combinations in the line-up against London tonight.

"We have talented guards, and we're a very deep team," said Salerno. "The guy who has it going on that night is going to get the minutes."

Although London averages less than 100 points per game, the team has been holding opponents to an average of 91.8, the lowest points-against average in the league.

The Lightning's top scorer, six-foot-seven forward Gabe Freeman, averages nearly 17 points a game, and has an impressive 11 double-doubles in 14 games this season.

How do the Storm plan on containing Freeman?

"You get a Mike Williams, and we have one of those," said Salerno of his top scorer, who averages over 17 points a game. "We were up 16 on this team (London) with three-and-a-half minutes left in the third quarter the last time we played them. It's really about us playing our game and playing a full game against London (on Tuesday)."

Tuesday night's game is the last of a six-game home stand for the Storm. The team then travels to Ontario to play the Oshawa Power this Thursday in its final game before Christmas.

 

sbrun@journalpioneer.com

Organizations: London Lightning, Oshawa Power

Geographic location: Summerside, London, Canada Philadelphia, Penn. Vermont Ontario

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