One bad quarter has played a big role in the Storm’s recent games, and it was no different on Friday night.
The Windsor Express outscored the Storm 33-17 in the second quarter en route to a 96-84 victory. The loss was the sixth in seven games for the Storm, who fell to 5-6 (won-lost) after starting the regular season with four straight wins.
The expansion Express improved to 3-6, with two of those wins coming against the Storm, who suffered their first home loss in four regular-season games.
“It was a tough one,” said Storm shooting guard Antonio Ballard, who scored a team-high 21 points. “We turned the ball over a lot.
“Me, personally, I think we are beating ourselves. The things we used to do at the beginning of the season, we are not doing as much. I don’t think there are any excuses why we are not.
“We just need to toughen up, get back to the way we were playing, get our chemistry going again and just take our time, be more patient and spread the court out a little bit.”
Before 1,676 fans at Eastlink Arena, Darren Duncan poured in a game-high 23 points for the Express while Helms finished with 17 and Raymond Kraemer had 16.
Greg Plummer and Al Stewart each sank 19 points for the Storm.
Windsor’s bench contributed 36 points compared to 10 by the Storm. The Express scored 17 points off turnovers while the Storm finished with 11. The Storm outscored the Express 40-20 in the paint.
The Storm got off to a positive start, and built a nine-point lead, 21-12. But the Express closed out the opening quarter on a 12-3 run to tie the score 24-24.
The Express then took over, and with 3:58 remaining in the second quarter the Storm was shooting 13-for-29 from the field. The score at the half was Express 57, Storm 41.
“It was a tough one. We turned the ball over a lot. Me, personally, I think we are beating ourselves. The things we used to do at the beginning of the season, we are not doing as much. I don’t think there are any excuses why we are not. We just need to toughen up, get back to the way we were playing, get our chemistry going again and just take our time, be more patient and spread the court out a little bit.” - Storm shooting guard Antonio Ballard
The Storm outscored the Express 27-17 in the third quarter to get back in the game, 74-68.
A key point in the fourth quarter came with the score 79-72 and the crowd starting to get in the game. Windsor missed a shot and a Storm possession would have provided a chance to close to within five points. However, Kevin Loiselle hauled in a clutch offensive rebound for the Express, and Mike Helms completed the play by sinking a three-pointer. What could have been a five-point game was now a 10-point spread – 82-72.
“We all need to come together,” said Ballard when asked about the Storm’s consistency issues during the current skid. “We start off well and why are we not picking it back up?
“It’s something that we have to figure out. . .”
For example, the Storm was outscored 35-24 in the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s loss in Moncton, and the Halifax Rainmen outscored the Storm by 13 points in the second quarter of Sunday’s defeat in Halifax.
When asked about the mood of the team following the game, Ballard said: “No one is happy after a loss. It’s a long season. We need to pick our heads up.
“We don’t need anyone on our team being angry with anyone, pointing fingers or giving criticism. We just need to pick ourselves back up and grind it out.”
The Storm’s next opportunity to do just that is on Sunday, when the Atlantic Division-leading Moncton Miracles visit Eastlink Arena for a rare matinee. Game time is 2 p.m.