It's moving time.
The Summerside Storm has been inhabiting the low-rent district of the National Basketball League of Canada for the past month or so, sitting out of the fourth and final league playoff position after a miserable December.
But it's a new month, a new year and the Storm would seem to be poised to be movin' on up.
Looking for new digs amid the playoff positions, the Storm is embarking on a trio of games that may tell the tale, starting Thursday night when they host the Oshawa Power.
The Storm currently trails fourth-place Saint John by just one game, and they have a pair of games against the struggling Power, sandwiched around a quick trip to Quebec for a Sunday afternoon tilt.
Oshawa has hit the skids lately, losing nine of its last 10. The Storm hosts them Thursday, and then again next Friday (Jan. 20).
At the same time, Saint John has two tough games, visiting the second-place Halifax Rainmen on Friday, and then hosting the league-leading London Lightning on Sunday.
"It's time for us to make our move," Storm head coach Joe Salerno agreed this week. "We've got tough but winnable games coming up."
The Storm beat a suddenly tough Moncton Miracles team on the road last week, playing what Salerno called "some of our best basketball of the season," before running into the buzz-saw that is the Lightning on their home court in London, and dropping an eight-point decision.
Guard Stephen McDowell had a sensational set of games, scoring 57 in the two contests, and even hauling down 17 rebounds, which is not a bad weekend's work for the 5'11" guard from Indianapolis.
For his efforts, McDowell was named the league's player of the week, joining injured forward Chris Cayole as the Storm players to receive the weekly honours thus far.
"It's time for us to make our move. We've got tough but winnable games coming up." - Storm head coach Joe Salerno
Cayole's high ankle sprain will appear to take another week before he's ready to go, Salerno reports.
Also on the injury front, point guard Al Stewart, who has missed all of January thus far, is questionable for Thursday's game but is probable for Sunday. He's recovering from a deep pectoral bruise, which was originally feared to be a broken rib or two.
Meanwhile, fans are still buzzing over the last Storm home game, when 3,296 people showed up for the New Year's Eve game.
The biggest story of the game came between the third and fourth quarters as two fans, Dave Lewis and Janice McInnis, were ushered from the stands to centre court. Mr. Lewis was handed the microphone, he went down on one knee and proceeded to propose to Ms. McInnis.
As the crowd held its breath, she said, "Yes!" (thank goodness). The fans leapt to their feet in a thunderous ovation, and the game then continued, almost as an afterthought. Salerno said he was completely nonplussed, neglecting to congratulate them as they walked by the bench.
Never dull at the Storm game. Makes you wonder what's on for Thursday?
A win, and a move into a playoff spot, would be nice.
Bob Gray is a freelance journalist with a long history of P.E.I. basketball reporting. He welcomes comments at email@example.com.