Saint John avenges earlier setbacks to Summerside squad
Chris Cayole of the Summerside Storm tries to get around Steve DeLuca of the Saint John Mill Rats during National Basketball League of Canada action Thursday night at Credit Union Place. Submitted photo
SUMMERSIDE — The Saint John Mill Rats avenged two previous losses to the Summerside Storm in a big way Thursday night.
The Mill Rats routed the Storm 106-90 in National Basketball League of Canada action, in front of an announced 1,824 at Credit Union Place.
Saint John was up by as much as 32 at one point in the game after jumping out to a big lead in the first half.
Three Summerside players were on injured reserve Thursday night, but head coach Joe Salerno said his team’s 30-for-89 shooting performance from the field was the biggest detriment.
“It (the injuries) hurt us — nowhere near as much as our shooting percentage — but...that's not the reason for our performance tonight,” he said.
“We’ve got to stay positive. We’re getting the shots we want to get, we’re getting good looks, we’ve just got to finish and make shots.”
Point guard Eric Gilchrese and power forward Troy Gottselig are both out with injuries. The team’s newest acquisition, small forward Rasheem Barrett, was also a late-day scratch.
The Storm, which came into Thursday’s game with the second-best record in the league at 3-1, kept the game close through the first quarter, trailing just 18-17 to Saint John.
The Mill Rats took over in the second quarter though, aided by 20 of Anthony Anderson’s 35 points for the game.
Saint John led 52-35 at halftime, shooting 21 for 40 from the field.
The Mill Rats, who improved to 3-3 on the season, made good use of fast breaks and second-chance rebounds to increase their lead to 85-53 to end the third quarter.
Saint John’s normally animated head coach, former NBA player Jaren Jackson, even had a fairly relaxed second half, by his standards.
“It’s just my demeanor. I really don’t want to get up and do all that shouting and screaming. I guess I did sit down a little bit and watched the guys come off the bench and play,” Jackson said. “We’ve been playing much better as of late, even the past road games that we’ve had. Right now, my players seem to be playing together with a lot of confidence.”
The Storm edged a bit closer in the final quarter, thanks to a 21-point night from Julian Allen, most of which came in the second half.
Earlier this month, the Mill Rats lost back-to-back games to the Storm within one week, including a heartbreaking 108-107 overtime loss on Nov. 10.
Friday night, Summerside hosts the winless Moncton Miracles in what Salerno is hoping will be a turnaround game for his team after two straight losses.
Game time is 7:30 p.m.