HALIFAX – One thing teams and fans in the Atlantic Division of the National Basketball League of Canada are learning is not to get too high after a win, or too low after a loss.
Take the Summerside Storm, for example. The Storm was outscored 40-28 in the fourth quarter of a 119-113 disappointing loss at home to the Saint John Mill Rats on Friday night. Less than 48 hours, though, the Storm travelled to Halifax and routed the Rainmen 113-90.
“That was ugly; really ugly,” said Rainmen guard Joey Haywood, who finished the contest with 13 points - one of only three Halifax players, compared to seven Summerside players who notched double digits in scoring.
The 23-point margin of victory was the largest in Storm history, one more than a 22-point win (110-97) over the Oshawa Power on Nov. 25, 2011.
It was also the fourth consecutive game the Storm has scored 100 points or more, and the eighth this year. The Storm has limited the opposition to under 100 points in 11 of their 15 games.
The win moved the Storm one game over .500 at 8-7 and into sole possession of first place in the Atlantic Division. The Rainmen and Saint John are tied for second place with identical 7-7 records, and Moncton is fourth at 8-9. Saint John defeated Moncton 116-91 on Sunday afternoon.
Before 2,130 fans at the Metro Centre, the Storm jumped out to a 27-17 lead after one quarter, and took a 54-41 advantage into halftime. The Storm then all but put the game out of reach by outscoring the Rainmen by 14 points, 35-21, in the third quarter to open up an 89-62 lead.
Chris Cayole, who was 3-for-5 from three-point range, poured in 19 points to lead the Storm. Antonio Ballard and Greg Plummer each contributed 17-point efforts while Avery Smith finished with 16. Plummer has now scored 10 or more points in nine straight games. In 14 games this season, he has recorded 10 or more points in 13 of them.
Brandon Robinson, who was released by the Rainmen a week ago and signed with the Storm, had 12 points in his first game against his former team.
Robinson told Metro Halifax that he holds no ill feelings towards the Rainmen.
“They are my bothers; I was with them for two months battling and grinding,” said Robinson, who was leading the Rainmen in scoring and rebounding at the time of his release.
Robinson was just happy to get the win, and said he approached the game the same as he would any other.
Quinnel Brown sank a game-high 22 points for the Rainmen, who received 17 from Eric Frederick.
The Rainmen will have a chance to avenge the loss on Friday night, when the Storm makes another trip to Halifax. The Storm then visits Saint John on Sunday before returning home for three straight games – against Halifax on Dec. 26 (2 p.m.), Saint John on Dec. 28 (7 p.m.) and Montreal on Dec. 31 (7 p.m.).
With files from Andrew Rankin of Metro Halifax.