Maroons win WPSHL ch’ship
ALBERTON – Four-point performances by Mike MacIsaac (3-1) and Andre Howard (2-2) powered the O’Leary Maroons to the West Prince Senior Hockey League championship.
Island Storm guard Terry Thomas, left, with the scoop shot in front of Halifax Hurricanes forward Billy White Sunday at the Eastlink Centre.
©Jason Malloy/TC Media
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – Island Storm newcomer Akeem Ellis hit big shots twice in the second half to thwart the Halifax Hurricanes comeback attack Sunday at the Eastlink Centre.
The Storm defeated the Atlantic Division-leading Hurricanes 112-103 in front of 2,260 fans.
“It was tough out there because they are the best team in this conference right now,” said Ellis, who finished with 21 points and was 5-for-10 from behind the arc. “They’re going to make runs and they’re going to come at us strong. To hit a big three, or to get a big steal, or to get a big rebound like that just gives the team more confidence.”
The Storm was ahead throughout the contest, including quarter leads of 33-23, 58-50 and 94-78. They led by 15 in the second quarter only to see the Hurricanes reduce the lead in half. Halifax, the defending National Basketball League of Canada champs, cut the deficit to four with 7:36 to play in the third quarter. Ellis hit a trey, point guard Jahii Carson made two free throws and a shot in the paint before Ellis added another three-pointer to give the Storm a 78-66 lead with six minutes to play in the quarter.
The host squad pushed the lead to 20 with 1:08 left in the third, but Halifax wouldn’t go away. The Hurricanes got within six points with 3:18 remaining in the game, but Ellis converted an Al Stewart pass to stretch the lead to eight with two minutes to play and never looked back.
“He showed in that game a big reason why we went and got him, but all our guys played hard,” Storm head coach Joe Salerno said. “We really needed that one badly.”
The Storm had lost five straight games, including an overtime contest to the Moncton Miracles at home on Thursday night.
Salerno said Ellis can defend bigger guys and gives the Storm a pick-and-pop option.
“He allows us to stretch the floor more.”
Terry Thomas had 26 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Storm. Stewart had 24 points while Carson chipped in 20 points, eight assists and five rebounds in a balanced Storm attack.
Renaldo Dixon had a game-high 29 points for the Hurricanes while Billy White chipped in 22.
It was the first time in six meetings this season the Storm defeated the Hurricanes.
“All year we’ve played them tough and today we were kind of able to hold on and execute down the stretch a little bit and just get a real gutty win,” Salerno said.
The Storm’s attack will be boosted in the coming weeks with the announced additions of Rashad Whack, Akeem Wright and Mike Allison.
Ellis said the team’s play without the ball would be key as it looks to build off the win.
“We have the most talented scorers in this league. The key for us is definitely defence and getting stops in the fourth quarter,” he said. “It’s going to be a great second half of the season.”
A look at Sunday’s National Basketball League of Canada contest between the host Island Storm and the Halifax Hurricanes.
Scores by the quarter
Hurricanes 23 27 28 25 — 103
Storm 33 25 36 18 — 112
Hurricanes – Renaldo Dixon 29, Billy White 22, Mike Poole 16 and Antoine Mason 15.
Storm – Terry Thomas 26, Al Stewart 24, Akeem Ellis 21 and Jahii Carson 20.
Hurricanes – Anthony Cox 8, Billy White 7 and Mike Poole 6.
Storm – Terry Thomas 13, A.J. Stewart 5 and Jahii Carson 5.
Hurricanes – Clifford Clinkscales 16.
Storm – Jahii Carson 8.
Hurricanes – 48 (41-86).
Storm – 56 (38-68).
Hurricanes – 35 (8-23).
Storm – 47 (9-19).
Hurricanes – 93 (13-14).
Storm – 75 (27-36).
Hurricanes – 22-7.
Storm – 10-14.
Up next – The Storm has road games with the Hurricanes and Saint John Riptide on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, before hosting the Moncton Miracles Sunday at 2 p.m.