SUMMERSIDE — The Summerside Storm took the lead and didn’t look back Thursday night against the Moncton Miracles.
The Storm defeated their National Basketball League of Canada rivals 103-95 in front of 2,579 witnesses at EastLink Arena.
Although the Miracles would come as close as six points in the fourth quarter, Summerside’s big first-half lead prevented Moncton from ever tying the game.
“We just had to keep our composure, and go back to what we were doing so well in the first half,” said Storm head coach Joe Salerno of how his team dealt with Moncton’s fourth-quarter run.
“We had maybe 16 points or so off their turnovers, and we defended very well in the first half. Things were getting a little chippy out there — maybe a little bad blood between the two teams — but I thought our guys held it together for the most part, and I was proud of them for that.”
The Storm improved to 12-21 (won-lost) while Moncton drops to 8-24.
Summerside still has a faint hope of making this year’s playoffs if they can win their remaining three games while requiring a lot of help to pass both Saint John and Oshawa for the fourth and final berth.
“If we win our last three and Saint John loses out, there’s still a chance we get in (to the playoffs),” said Salerno.
“We’re just trying to play hard and win games. That’s really all we’ve decided to do this last week and a half.”
Thursday night, Summerside was up 25-16 after the first quarter, and pushed its lead to 56-37 by halftime.
But Moncton would outscore the Storm 24-22 in the third frame, and 34-25 in the final 12 minutes.
But the Miracles’ late push wouldn’t be enough as Summerside’s Troy Jackson nailed a three-pointer out of a timeout. Julian Allen would also hit some key buckets down the stretch.
Big men Jared Carter and Mike Williams pulled in 11 and 12 rebounds, respectively, leading to several points in transition.
“This is a very talented team, Summerside, well-coached, they have good schemes. . . and they get the ball to the right people,” said Moncton head coach Mike Evans. “If you don’t come ready to play, especially on the road, you can get beat by Summerside by 30 points because they are that good.
“We didn’t execute in the first half like we should have, and we took some errant shots that we shouldn’t take.”
Williams completed a double-double with 21 points while Jackson poured in 19.
Terrence Woodyard led the Miracles with a game-high 22 points to go with 12 rebounds. Trayvon Lathan added 21 points and 13 rebounds in the loss.
The Storm move on to play Quebec at home on Monday (Islander Day) in a rare afternoon game beginning at 2 p.m.
By the end of the day Friday, any of the 1,000 tickets donated by the Storm for the “Bring Bobbi-Jo Home” campaign that were not sold at West Prince Credit Unions will be available at the five West Prince community arenas — Evangeline, Tyne Valley, Alberton, O’Leary and Tignish — on Saturday and Sunday. The tickets are for the Islander Day game.