CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – The smallest guy on the floor made the biggest play in the Island Storm’s 96-93 win over the Halifax Hurricanes on Thursday in Charlottetown.
Down 95-93 in the National Basketball League of Canada game, Halifax inbounded the ball in the Storm zone with under 20 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
The target was six-foot-seven centre Rhamel Brown.
Instead six-foot-one guard Kemy Osse elevated in front of Brown, came down with the ball, got fouled with 13 seconds left and, although Osse missed the two free throws, it led to the eventual win. Franklin Session hit one-of-two foul shots 10 seconds later to ice the Storm’s third straight win.
“We said we were going to switch everything up (on the inbounds) and that’s what we did. (Brown) was taller, but I knew I was athletic enough to get up there and strong enough to get the ball away from him. I’ve got to hit those free throws though,” Osse said with a smile. “The win gives us good momentum going into the playoffs. It shows we can beat, what I think is, the best team in the league. And we’re short right now with (guard) Andre (Stringer) out. Other guys are stepping up and that’s going to help us down the stretch.”
The win upped the Storm’s mark to 13-16 and put it two games up on the Cape Breton Highlanders. Both teams are battling for the last Atlantic Division playoff spot.
Halifax’s six-game winning streak was snapped, but it still leads the Atlantic with a 20-10 record.
Franklin Session went for game-highs in points (27) and rebounds (14) for the Storm, while Chris Johnson chipped in 26 points and three steals.
Neither team really slapped runs on the other. The game was a two-point affair most of the way. Each team enjoyed an eight-point edge at one point in the game, but that was quickly erased.
Halifax had 27-25 and 51-50 leads after the first quarter and at halftime, respectively. The Storm managed an 80-73 edge at the end of the third, which it needed as Halifax won the fourth quarter 20-16.
Halifax guard Antoine Mason did his best, scoring a team-high 26 points, but down the stretch, he said, the Hurricanes just couldn’t find the touch.
“We had multiple chances to win it, we just got to connect. We’ll bounce back,” said Mason. “There was a lot of back and forth, a physical game. We have to fight through the contact, we can’t expect to get calls in a road game.”
Du’Vaughn Maxwell had 10 points, nine rebound, nine assists for the Storm to go with five blocks and four steals in front of 1,465 fans at the Eastlink Centre. Osse finished with eight points, six boards and two steals.
Ta’Quan Zimmerman and Mile Poole each had 15 points for Halifax, while Clifford Clinkscales dished out a match-high 13 assists.
Next up, the Storm (13-16) host the Cape Breton Highlanders (11-18) on Saturday. Game time is 7 p.m. at Eastlink Centre.
A look at Thursday's National Basketball League of Canada game at the Eastlink Centre.
Island Storm 96
Top Three Scorers
Halifax – Antoine Mason, 26, Ta’Quan Zimmerman, 15, Mike Poole, 15.
Island Storm – Franklin Session, 27, Chris Johnson, 26, Du’Vaughn Maxwell, 10.
Top Three Rebounders
Halifax – Mike Poole, 12, C.J. Washington, 10, Tyrone Watson, 10.
Island Storm – Franklin Session, 14, Du’Vaughn Maxwell, 9, Kemy Osse, 6.
Halifax – Antoine Mason, 2-of-6.
Island Storm – Franklin Session, 4-of-8.
Cape Breton – Cliff Clinkscales, 13.
Island Storm – Du’Vaughn Maxwell, 9.
Halifax – Antoine Mason, 8-of-9.
Island Storm – Franklin Session, 3-of-4.
Score By Quarter
Halifax 27 24 22 20
Storm 25 25 30 16
50-50 – $434.50.
Did you know? Colonel Gray Colonels basketball coach Lauren Phillips won the Credit Union $1,000 half-court shot contest on Thursday.
Next Up – The Storm (13-16) hosts the Cape Breton Highlanders (11-18) on Saturday. Game time is 7 p.m. at Eastlink Centre.