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Depleted Island Storm faces an improving Cape Breton squad tonight with playoff implications

Island Storm head coach Tim Kendrick, left, and shooting guard Tyler Scott have dealt with injury issues to their National Basketball League of Canada squad since early January. At one point the team was 8-4, but is now 10-15 and fighting with the Cape Breton Highlanders for the last playoff spot in the Atlantic Division.
Island Storm head coach Tim Kendrick, left, and shooting guard Tyler Scott have dealt with injury issues to their National Basketball League of Canada squad since early January. At one point the team was 8-4, but is now 10-15 and fighting with the Cape Breton Highlanders for the last playoff spot in the Atlantic Division. - Charles Reid

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – This has become a mantra for Tyler Scott and the injury-riddled Island Storm.

“It’s part of the game,” said the Storm shooting guard. “(At the professional level) with longer games and a longer season and guys going hard, injures are going to happen. Last game, with two of our five starters out, we played a good game but lost (to Moncton). We’ve done a great job of dealing with it. We’ll be alright.”

Tonight, the Storm must also deal with the Cape Breton Highlanders in a National Basketball League of Canada Atlantic Division matchup.

Game time is 7 p.m. at the Eastlink Centre and this one has playoff implications.

The last time these teams met the Storm (10-15) won 126-112. It was the Storm’s second win in its last 13 games and its lone victory over the last five games.

Cape Breton is 10-15, too, but has proved hotter with a 5-5 mark in its last 10 games.

And with just 15 games left in the regular season for each team, both squads are now fighting for the fourth and final playoff spot in the five-team division.

But the teams play five more times, including tonight, and the Storm leads the season series 2-1, so head coach Tim Kendrick is optimistic, despite the last month and a half since the injury bug bit.

“It’s been 42 days of hell. We’ve had ligaments, stress fractures in feet, concussions. It’s been hard. Literally we’ve had times with six guys at practice,” said Kendrick. “But we keep on going, moving forward and control what we can control and we have to find a way to win on Thursday. The last game we played hard and competed hard till the end.”

So far, Kendrick hasn’t brought in any new players to replace those who are out. The team has activated forward Trenity Burdine for tonight, giving the Storm at least 10 players.

The league trade deadline is Monday, but Kendrick said no deals are in the works for now.

Regardless, Scott knows a game has to be played and is sure the Storm will pony up come tipoff.

“We’ll have to pick it up, guys know what we’re walking in to. We’ll be ready to go.”

The Storm’s leading scorer and rebounder Franklin Session, and third-leading scorer Chris Johnson are battling the flu and will be game-time decisions. Forward Brad States is out with a concussion.

Cape Breton’s second-leading scorer Duke Mondy is serving a two-game suspension for contact with an official and is out tonight.

The Storm hosts the Saint John Riptide in an Islander Day matinee Monday at 2 p.m. at the Eastlink Centre.

Need to know

A peek at the Island Storm and Cape Breton Highlanders this season.

Record

Cape Breton – 10-15, tied for fourth in Atlantic Division.

Island Storm – 10-15, tied for fourth in Atlantic Division.

Head-To-Head

Storm leads season series 2-1.

Top Scorer

Cape Breton – Bruce Massey Jr., 19.3 points per game.

Island Storm – Franklin Session, 19.6 points per game.

Top Rebounder

Cape Breton – Shane Osayande, 7.9 per game.

Island Storm – Franklin Session, 9.5 per game.

Top 3-Point Shooter

Cape Breton – Duke Mondy, 45.2 per cent.

Island Storm – Du’Vaughn Maxwell, 45.9 per cent.

Top Free-Throw Shooter

Cape Breton – Duke Mondy, 86 per cent.

Island Storm – Andre Stringer, 87.1 per cent.

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