SUMMERSIDE — Although the Summerside Storm will not make the playoffs in the inaugural season of the National Basketball League of Canada, the team is looking to continue playing hard over the final four regular-season games.
Tuesday night’s 103-97 loss to the Moncton Miracles officially eliminated the Storm from playoff contention.
Summerside, which fell to 11-21, was faced with the prospect of winning their final five games, and requiring a lot of help to pass the Oshawa Power and Saint John Mill Rats into the final playoff spot.
“You have to play for pride now,” Storm head coach Joe Salerno told the Moncton Times & Transcript following Tuesday’s game. “You have to play for just the pride of winning games for your team and for your fans, and that’s what we’ll do.
“I think we have the character on our team to do that. We’re hoping to bring back our core guys for next season. You’re still always working towards the next game, the next season. We’ll certainly be in these last four games to compete and to win.”
Three of the Storm’s final four games will be played at EastLink Arena in Summerside, starting on Thursday against Moncton.
The opening tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.
“We’re going to have a real tough battle on Thursday going to their place, with their crowd, on their court where they are used to their baskets, it’s going to be a lot tougher than it was today (Tuesday),” said the Miracles’ Darrell Wonge, who scored a game-high 31 points in Tuesday’s win. “Having home-court advantage helps a lot.”
The Miracles are last in the seven-team league at 8-23.
Miracles head coach Mike Evans said a key in Tuesday’s game was Moncton’s ability to set the tempo early.
“That’s a very good basketball team over there,” Evans said. “Summerside is a very good team, they are very well coached.
“We executed in a lot of ways what we wanted to get done on the floor at both ends.”