CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – The Island Storm is looking for some help in snapping its six-game losing streak.
The Storm, in the basement of the National Basketball League of Canada with a 2-7 record, hosts the first-place Moncton Magic (11-3) tonight at 6:30 p.m. in its annual New Year’s Eve contest.
“We’re hoping that being on home court (in front of) our home fans will give us a little spark,” Storm head coach Tim Kendrick said Sunday. “It sure would be great for our guys to come out and have a real nice crowd, and a real enthusiastic crowd, backing us tomorrow. . . We have a lot of great fans and I hope they show up tomorrow and are loud.”
The Storm started the season 2-1 but hasn't won since a 123-111 victory at home against the London Lightning on Dec. 1. It lost 116-115 in overtime to Cape Breton on home court on Dec. 8 and then dropped five straight on the road.
“I think everybody is staying positive,” Kendrick said when asked about the team’s mood given the mounting losses, “but I think we all understand . . . we have to do a better job in certain areas. . . Guys are working hard. We're really trying to get to the bottom of this and get it turned around.”
The Magic defeated the Storm 116-102 Friday in the Hub City in the rivals first meeting of the season.
“We have to execute better in certain situations,” Kendrick said. “They were hitting shots and we went through (some) little lulls where we didn’t hit enough shots.”
While his team competed hard, it had some costly turnovers and missed opportunities. The bench boss said it had a chance to cut the deficit to one in the fourth but couldn’t capitalize on a chance near the rim and the Magic came down the floor and drained a trey.
“We have to do a better job against their guards,” Kendrick said. “As simple as this sounds, we have to keep guys in front of us . . . We can’t allow the middle penetration as much as we have lately.”
The Magic has a number of familiar faces on its squad, led by longtime Storm head coach Joe Salerno. The roster includes Wayne McCullough and big men Nick Evans and Cordell Jeanty.
Former Storm point guard Jahir Carson recently left the Magic to sign with a squad in Romania while Doug Herring Jr. signed with a squad in the Southeast Asia league. The Magic has signed point guards Duke Mondy and Korie Lucious.
The Storm has made only one move this season and there was no word Sunday on when or if Carl Hall might be joining the club. It was expected he would be here in December.
Note: There is a free New Year’s Eve family tailgate party at the Eastlink Centre today from 5-6:30 p.m. in partnership with the City of Charlottetown. It includes entertainment, a photo booth, kids activities, a pyrotechnic show and complimentary refreshments.
A look at the Island Storm’s next five National Basketball League of Canada games.
6:30 p.m. – Moncton Magic at Storm.
7 p.m. – Storm at Cape Breton Highlanders.
7 p.m. – St. John’s Edge at Storm.
2 p.m. – Storm at Cape Breton Highlanders.
7 p.m. – Moncton Magic at Storm.
2 p.m. – Halifax Hurricanes at Storm.