Storm grinds out win

Jason Simmonds
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Moves into first place in Atlantic Division

SUMMERSIDE – It certainly wasn’t the Summerside Storm’s best performance of the season, but in the end they found a way to win.

Antonio Ballard of the Summerside Storm pressures Darrell Wonge of the Moncton Miracles during National Basketball League of Canada action at Eastlink Arena on Friday night. The Storm defeated the Miracles 94-87.

The Storm outscored the short-staffed Moncton Miracles 54-43 in the second half en route to a 94-87 win before 2,073 fans at Eastlink Arena on Friday night.

“I don’t think we played fully up to our potential,” said Storm head coach Joe Salerno. “We still shot the ball less than 40 per cent, which this team shouldn’t do.

“Missing (Chris) Cayole hurts a little bit when it comes to that, but we grinded this one out. This was a grinding win.”

Cayole was injured during last weekend’s three-game swing in Ontario. Salerno said the small forward is day-to-day, and he could possibly play in Halifax on Sunday afternoon.

The win snapped a three-game losing streak, and moved the Storm into first place in the Atlantic Division of the National Basketball League of Canada. The Storm, who are now 3-0 (won-lost) at home, improved to 5-3 while Moncton fell to 5-4.

“It was streaky (play),” assessed Salerno. “I thought in the first half we turned the ball over too much, and I think we only had seven turnovers in the second half.

“The difference between tonight’s (Friday) game and our last three or four was we closed this game out. We took care of the basketball down the stretch, the final three minutes or so, knocked down free throws and executed. I was very pleased with that factor.”

Issa Konare, who was 3-for-3 from three-point range, led the Storm with 20 points. Avery Smith had 15 points while Greg Plummer and Antonio Ballard each sank 14. Ballard also recorded a game-high 14 rebounds.

“I don’t think we played fully up to our potential. We still shot the ball less than 40 per cent, which this team shouldn’t do. “Missing (Chris) Cayole hurts a little bit when it comes to that, but we grinded this one out. This was a grinding win.” Storm head coach Joe Salerno

Devin Sweetney poured in a game-high 23 points for the Miracles, who only had eight players listed on the official game sheet. Oliver McNally (19), Sylvania Watkins (15) and Darrell Wonge (15) also scored in double digits.

Slow start

Both teams struggled offensively in the first half as the Storm led 23-18 after the first quarter, and that was after Summerside hit four straight three-pointers – three by Smith and one by Greg Plummer – to close out the opening 12 minutes.

Moncton outscored the Storm 26-17 in the second quarter to take a 44-40 advantage into halftime. The Miracles shot 16-for-41 from the field in the first half, and the Storm went 14-for-40.

The Storm took a 55-53 lead in the third quarter, and they would not trail the rest of the way, although the teams were tied 69-69 in the fourth.

The Storm’s next home game is against the Windsor Express on Sunday, Nov. 30, at 7 p.m. It will be the first of two home games next weekend for the Storm, who will host Moncton on Sunday, Dec. 2, at 2 p.m.

Twitter.com/JpsportsJason

Organizations: National Basketball League of Canada, Windsor Express

Geographic location: Atlantic, Moncton, Ontario Halifax

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