At EastLink Arena on Thursday
SUMMERSIDE Although the Summerside Storm will not make the playoffs in the inaugural season of the National Basketball League of Canada, the team is looking to continue playing hard over the final four regular-season games.
Summerside Storm logo
Tuesday night's 103-97 loss to the Moncton Miracles on Tuesday night officially eliminated the Storm from playoff contention. Summerside, which fell to 11-21 (won-lost), was faced with the prospect of winning their final five games, and requiring a lot of help to pass the Oshawa Power and Saint John Mill Rats into the final playoff spot.
"You have to play for pride now," Storm head coach Joe Salerno told the Moncton Times & Transcript following Tuesday's game. "You have to play for just the pride of winning games for your team and for your fans, and that's what we'll do.
"I think we have the character on our team to do that. We're hoping to bring back our core guys for next season. You're still always working towards the next game, the next season. We'll certainly be in these last four games to compete and to win."
Three of the Storm's final four games will be played at EastLink Arena in Summerside, starting on Thursday against Moncton. The opening tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.
"We're going to have a real tough battle on Thursday going to their place, with their crowd, on their court where they are used to their baskets, it's going to be a lot tougher than it was today (Tuesday)," the Miracles' Darrell Wonge, who scored a game-high 31 points in Tuesday's win, told the Times & Transcript. "Having home-court advantage helps a lot."
The Miracles are last in the seven-team league at 8-23.
Miracles head coach Mike Evans said a key in Tuesday's game was Moncton¹s ability to set the tempo early.
"That's a very good basketball team over there," Evans told the Times & Transcript. "Summerside is a very good team, they are very well coached.
"We executed in a lot of ways what we wanted to get done on the floor at both ends."
Summerside Storm notebook:
Thursday's home game against the Moncton Miracles begins the Storm's final homestand of the season. The team will also host the Quebec Kebs on Islander Day (Monday, Feb. 20) at 2 p.m., and plays their home finale against the first-place London Lightning on Friday, March 2, at 7:30 p.m. The Storm concludes regular-season play in London on Sunday, March 4.
The UPEI Panthers will practise on the Storm floor before Thursday's home game in preparation for the arena atmosphere at the upcoming Atlantic University Sport men's basketball championship in Halifax.
Voting began Wednesday for the National Basketball League of Canada All-Star Weekend in Halifax March 31 and April 1. Fans can cast their votes at http://pointstreaksites.com/view/nblallstar/all-star-watch/vote daily for their top 20 players. A total of 41 players, including six members of the Storm, are nominated. The Storm nominees are Julien Allen, Chris Cayole, Eric Gilchrese, Stephen McDowell, Al Stewart and Mike Williams. The top 20 players, along with 10 alternates, will be revealed in early March. All seven head coaches will then choose a captain for each team. The captains will be responsible for selecting their teams through a Fantasy draft.
The Storm has many festivities and a special campaign planned for Islander Day, all in the name of Islanders helping Islanders. Members of the Storm will be visiting communities from tip to tip before the home game at 2 p.m.,
and will then attend P.E.I.'s biggest kitchen party, put on by the Islanders by Choice Alliance. The team will be at the Summerside, Charlottetown and Souris events from 6 to 9 p.m.
The Storm has begun a special fundraising effort dedicated to the Bring Bobbi Jo LeClair Home Campaign. Thanks to the support of Storm co-owners Duncan Shaw and Darren MacKay, the Island's pro basketball team is donating 1,000 tickets for the Storm game on Islander Day (a $10 value) to be sold for $5 at participating West Prince Credit Unions in Tignish, Alberton, O'Leary, Tyne Valley and Wellington. One-hundred per cent of all proceeds from the Credit Union ticket sales will go to the Bobbi Jo campaign.