The Island Storm jumped out early, weathered a run by the Halifax Rainmen and won by 12 Tuesday at Eastlink Centre.
Island Storm logo
The Storm improved to 11-8 and halted a two-game losing streak that came last weekend in Moncton.
“It was a confidence builder. We needed this game and we all knew that,” said forward Jeremy Williams, who led the Storm with 22 points and 10 rebounds.
“We came out ready today.”
The Storm defeated the Rainmen 107-95 in front of 1,407 fans on New Year’s Eve in National Basketball League of Canada action. The loss dropped Halifax to 3-16.
“I’m happy with how we bounced back from a tough weekend in Moncton,” coach Joe Salerno said. “This needed to be a bounce back game for us.”
The one negative from the sloppy contest was the turnovers. Halifax had 28, the Storm 26.
While the Storm wanted to play an up and down game, which can sometimes lead to turnover, it was the careless mistakes that caused the coach concern.
“I think there were a lot of times that we were on a nice run and then we’d go three or four possessions with unforced turnovers and just opened the door for them,” he said.
“For us to try to take the next step up in this league this season, we have to take care of the basketball.”
The win pushed the Storm back into first place in the Atlantic Division, a half game in front of the Saint John Mill Rats.
The Storm jumped out to a 31-21 advantage after the first quarter and was up 21 points with 8:46 to play in the first half. The Rainmen responded and went to the break trailing by only seven.
The Storm outscored the Rainmen 25-20 in the third and each team netted 33 in the final quarter.
“Ever team in this league is going to make runs,” Salerno said. “We weathered their run and built the lead back up and that’s what you have to do.”
Antonio Ballard had 22 points and nine rebounds while Greg Plummer scored 15 and Al Stewart 14. Adrian Moss had five points, seven assists and four steals.
Jujuan Cooley had 24 points to lead the Rainmen while Olumuyiwa Famutimi added 21.
Williams said he was pleased to be able to help the team to victory.
He grabbed a defensive rebound and made a three-pointer in the first minute to spark his confidence and lead him to a statement game.
“I feel like I work hard enough in the gym to accomplish these things on a consistent basis,” he said. “The only thing was to actually just go out there and do it, instead of thinking about doing it.”
Now he wants to ensure it becomes the norm and knows that will take a lot of work in the gym and attention to detail.
The Storm returns to action Thursday in Saint John against the Mill Rats at 7 p.m.
Stratford’s Debbie Forse was the winner of the Storm Kids Dream Home Lottery’s $400,000 home drawn for in the fourth quarter.
The project, sponsored by Sherwood BMR, raised funds for four Island charities including KidsSport P.E.I., Easter Seals of P.E.I., the maternal child care unit of the Prince County Hospital, and the pediatric unit of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.