CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – The race for third place in the National Basketball League of Canada’s Atlantic Division heats up tonight as the Island Storm heads to Saint John, N.B., to play the Riptide.
Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at Harbour Station.
The red-hot Storm (18-16) controls its own destiny leading the Riptide (16-17) and playing its next three games against them.
“We’ve talked about looking at as a kind of a practice round for the playoffs,” head coach Tim Kendrick said Wednesday. “It’s not very often you play a team three times in a row in six days.”
The teams appear to be heading in different directions with the Storm winners of its past eight games and the Riptide having dropped four in a row.
“We’re certainly not looking at what they've done recently,” Kendrick said. “Every time we’ve played them, it’s been a battle.”
He said Saint John is a good team that shoots the ball well. He also has witnessed first-hand a team in a losing streak snap out of it.
“We know how they feel a little bit,” Kendrick said. “So many things at this level can happen in a second. If they come out and go 60 per cent from three, their struggles will be over.”
The Storm was preparing to leave early Wednesday to ensure it got to Saint John despite a forecasted storm.
Kendrick didn't expect to have any more than nine players available tonight. Chris Johnson and Tyler Scott are not expected to play while Meshack Lufile was questionable.
The Storm and Riptide play Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Eastlink Centre in the last home game of the regular season before completing the season series Tuesday in Saint John.
The Storm will then have road games in Halifax, Cape Breton and London, Ont.