In NBL of Canada last week
In other weather-related news, the National Basketball League of Canada staged quite an explosion last weekend in these parts.
There were crashes of Lightning, Storm warnings everywhere, and it all finished up with a downpour in Halifax.
At long last, this late in the season, I’ve been finally and completely unable to resist a fixation on weather puns with so many of the NBL of Canada team names having to do with climate. It’s probably only fair, seeing how weather is one of the things we have in abundance in Canada.
Our own beloved Summerside Storm made a statement that sent shivers across the league a week ago, when they blew away the heretofore almost untouchable London Lightning 113-97 at Eastlink Arena.
The next night, also at home, the Storm caught the Halifax Rainmen in a serious drought (still can’t resist) in almost all aspects of the game, and furiously pounded their Atlantic rivals 135-90.
Yes, that’s right. A 45-point margin!
At this point, it appeared that the Storm perhaps should be playing the Miami Heat or Oklahoma City Thunder instead of their local playmates. Speaking of weather-related names, they’re everywhere. What gives?
However, into each life some rain must fall. The Storm came a cropper against the Rainmen on Sunday in Halifax as their second-half defence let them down, and the Rainmen had obviously made a commitment to their own pride, dominating the boards with all the effort that was lacking less than 48 hours previous.
The result was a 113-97 Halifax victory, and a long, long bus ride home to P.E.I. for our chastened warriors.
So, what’s the upshot of it all?
I would say the biggest lesson is some actual evidence that the Storm could just win it all this year. They were absolutely sensational in the first two games of the three.
Brandon Robinson was simply stunning at the offensive end, Greg Plummer made life miserable for every defender who tried him, Omari Johnson was ridiculously on fire from outside for anyone his size (or any other size, for that matter) and the Storm was simply unstoppable.
Added to the torrid shooting was a team commitment to defence and rebounding, led as usual by Antonio Ballard.
The real magic, however, may have been at the point, where Al Stewart had two of his better games both offensively and defensively, and newly-acquired wunderkind Josiah Turner was jaw-droppingly effective in a relatively small amount of playing time.
The 20-year-old Turner seems to see the court in a different way from most point guards we’ve ever seen on the Island, and the game must essentially slow down for him when he’s in the zone, because his passing is just mind-boggling.
He had 18 total assists in his first two home games, and he was on the floor less time than the Storm Troupers dance team. The fans have figured him out in a hurry, too, as there is a noticeable increase in noise and enthusiasm when he gets off the bench to report in.
Of course, everything fell in on the club in the second half Sunday in Halifax. Defence wins championships, and rebounding is usually the key. The Storm has to take care of business every night to be successful.
But their upside is certainly intriguing.
Bob Gray is a freelance journalist with a long history of P.E.I. basketball reporting. He welcomes comments at firstname.lastname@example.org, and can be followed on Twitter @bgray5.