CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – The losing streak is over.
The Island Storm outscored the Saint John Riptide 18-9 in the fourth quarter en route to a 90-84 victory to snap a six-game skid Saturday at the Eastlink Centre.
“It was definitely a must-win, so it was a huge win for us,” said forward Chris Johnson, who scored seven of his 14 points in the fourth quarter.
“After losing so much, close ones at that, everyone starts to get chippy and you started seeing that in today’s game. . . We came together and we got the win.”
The victory came a night after dropping a two-point decision to the London Lightning, the National Basketball League of Canada’s reigning champs, who scored the winning basket with 0.2 left. The Storm watched the Lightning come back from seven points down with nine to play.
“You kind of have to take it and learn from it,” Johnson said. “They came back, they were resilient, we did the same thing tonight.”
Franklin Session had 22 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists and two steals to lead the Storm. Torrence Dyck Jr. had 15 points while Du’Vaughn Maxwell added 14.
Head coach Tim Kendrick said Dyck, who was inserted into Saturday’s starting lineup, has had back-to-back good games. It was one of a number of strong contributions in a variety of ways from Storm players.
Kendrick pointed to the performance of guards Kemy Osse and Tyler Scott, who both provided a lift off the Storm bench.
“They came in and really kind of stabilized us,” he said.
While Scott shot 2-for-7 from the field, he had five rebounds and a steal while sometimes guarding Riptide top scorer Gabe Freeman.
“He played at both ends,” Kendrick said of Scott. “I think it was a big boost for us. I think him and Kemy really helped us out today.”
Johnson went 5-for-6 at the free-throw line in the fourth quarter and defended Freeman with the game on the line down the stretch in a see-saw contest.
“I love it. That’s the best moment of the game,” Johnson said. “It lifts my level of play. . . . We were able to get the stop tonight, so that was big.”
Newcomer Jarion Henry hauled in 16 boards in his second game with the Storm.
Malcolm Miller had 22 points, 10 rebounds, six steals and five assists to pace the Riptide. Freeman had 13 rebounds, but was held to 10 points on 4-for-18 shooting.
Saint John was 4-for-17 from the field, including 0-for-11 from three-point territory, in the fourth quarter.
The Storm led 24-23 and 53-50 after the first two quarters, but trailed 75-72 heading to the fourth and was down by 13 with 4:11 left in the third.
The Storm improved to 9-10 while the Riptide is tied with Halifax for the Atlantic Division lead at 10-7.
The win allows the Storm to exhale, if even just a little.
“We’re still not back to where we need to be,” Kendrick said.
He said the team will get a boost with Monday’s return of Andre Stringer, Maxwell continuing to get better from injury and Henry getting more comfortable in the team’s systems.
The Storm travels to Moncton to play the Magic Wednesday at 7 p.m.
A look at Saturday’s National Basketball League of Canada game between the visting Saint John Riptide and the Island Storm at the Eastlink Centre.
Scores by the quarter
Riptide 23 27 25 9 — 84
Storm 24 29 19 18 — 90
Riptide – Malcolm Miller 22, Mareik Isom 19, Horace Wormley 12 and Gabe Freeman 10.
Storm – Franklin Session 22, Torrence Dyck Jr. 15, Chris Johnson 14, Du’Vaughn Maxwell 14 and Kemy Osse 12.
Riptide – Gabe Freeman 13 and Malcolm Miller 10.
Storm – Jarion Henry 16 and Franklin Session 12.
Riptide – Malcolm Miller 5 and Horace Wormley 5.
Storm – Franklin Session 7 and Chris Johnson 5.
Team shooting percentages
Riptide – 35.7 (30-for-84).
Storm – 39.1 (34-for-87).
Riptide – 28.6 (12-for-42).
Storm – 27.3 (9-for-33).
Riptide – 75 (12-for-16).
Storm – 68.4 (13-for-19).
Attendance – 1,681