SYDNEY, N.S. – Chris Johnson had 37 points Sunday to lead the Island Storm to a 138-121 road victory over the Cape Breton Highlanders in the fight for the final playoff berth in the Atlantic Division.
“It’s a big win for us,” head coach Tim Kendrick said. “I really liked the way we played, how hard we played. I thought we . . . executed our offence quite well.”
Du’Vaughn Maxwell had 28 points and 10 rebounds and Franklin Session scored 20 points during National Basketball League of Canada action in Sydney, N.S. Jarion Henry and Meshack Lufile, a former Cape Breton Caper, each chipped in 12 points off the bench while Chris Anderson scored 10 as the team scored a season high 138 points.
The game was tied 26-26 after the first quarter while the Storm had a dominant second quarter, winning the 12-minute period 39-15, to go up 65-41 at the half.
Kendrick said the team talked during the break about the importance of playing well after halftime.
“If we win this third quarter, it makes it very difficult for that team to come back in 12 minutes,” Kendrick said he told his charges.
The Storm retained its 24-point lead, 100-76, heading to the fourth.
“On the road, things can go wrong in the hurry, so to tie that third quarter was a big thing.”
Malik Story had a game-high 38 points for the host Highlanders while Jamal Reynolds scored 23 off the bench and former Storm guard Rashad Whack chipped in 14.
Kendrick said he liked his team’s defence through the first three quarters.
“In the fourth, we were poor,” he admitted. “We allowed them to make some easy shots and then they got hot.”
Kendrick said he liked the poise his players showed when the lead was reduced to 12.
The Storm hit 56 per cent of its shots from the field to improve to 12-16. The Highlanders fall to 11-18.
Roshun Wynne had three points and a steal in eight minutes in his Storm debut.
“Defensively, he played well. He hit a big three for us,” Kendrick said of the positive influence. “The biggest thing with him that I really appreciate so far is his commitment to be a great teammate.”
The Storm returns to the hardwood Thursday when it hosts the division-leading Halifax Hurricanes at 7 p.m. The Highlanders visit Saturday at 7 p.m.
Kendrick expected to know more Monday regarding the situation with last week’s trade acquisition Carl Hall.