Schedule picks up over the next week
SUMMERSIDE – After close to a two-week break, the Summerside Storm is about to get busy going into the homestretch of the National Basketball League of Canada.
© Jason Simmonds/Journal Pioneer
Greg Plummer of the Summerside Storm drives to the basket during a recent National Basketball League of Canada game at Eastlink Arena.
The Storm will return to action for the first time since Feb. 1 on Thursday night, when the Moncton Miracles visit Eastlink Arena for a Valentine’s Day matchup. The opening tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
“We haven’t seen them (Miracles) for a while,” said Storm head coach Joe Salerno on Wednesday. “They have made a couple of roster additions since the last time we played them. They’ve lost a lot of close games to some good ball clubs lately.”
The Atlantic Division-leading Storm brings an 18-11 (won-lost) record into the game, and the Miracles are fourth at 15-20.
“They have had to deal with some injuries, and had to go through a coaching change,” said Salerno. “Recently, they have had some very close games with London, Halifax and Saint John. I think they are certainly better than their record shows, and we have to have that mindset going into that game.”
The Storm travels to Montreal to play the Jazz on Saturday night, and returns home for an Islander Day matinee against the Saint John Mill Rats on Monday, Feb. 18, at 2 p.m., before embarking on a four-game road trip between Feb. 21 and March 2.
The Storm’s game in London against the league-leading Lightning (26-4) on Sunday afternoon was postponed due to the weather. That game has been rescheduled for Saturday, Feb. 23.
“We haven’t seen them (Miracles) for a while. They have made a couple of roster additions since the last time we played them. They’ve lost a lot of close games to some good ball clubs lately.” Storm head coach Joe Salerno
Can’t overlook Moncton
But, first things first, the Storm knows they cannot afford to look past the Miracles.
“Obviously they have some great shooters on the perimeter with Darrell Wong, Devin Sweetney and Oliver McNally, but really Isaac Butts, their big guy in the middle, is a handful,” said Salerno.
As has been the case all season, Salerno said the Storm continued to focus on team defence the last week and a half.
“We’re certainly going to score points and if we can hold teams to around that 95 mark, we are going to get wins,” said Salerno. “We are starting to put a couple of little wrinkles in offensively gearing towards the end of the season and our playoff-push run.”
And after having a complete 12-day break from game action, Salerno admits the Storm players are anxious.
“When you have been with each other this long and you have to play the same guys for five, six, seven practices before your next game, they are ready to go,” said Salerno. “They are looking to play somebody else and take their aggression out on them rather than their teammates.”