'Great road win' as Island Storm rallies in fourth quarter

Scott Briggs
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Semaj Inge of the Island Storm takes the ball with Ashton Smith of the Saint John Mill Rats on him in action at Harbour Station Friday night.

SAINT JOHN — After trailing for most of the night, the Island Storm struck back with 28 points in the fourth quarter en route to a 100-96 win over the Saint John Mill Rats in Friday’s National Basketball League of Canada contest at Harbour Station.

Antonio Ballard scored a game-high 25 points for the Storm (9-6), while Shawn Vanzent tallied 24. Semaj Inge added 15 points for the winners and Greg Plummer poured in 13.

Raheem Singleton and Anthony Anderson each scored 21 points for the Mill Rats (9-7), while

Tyrone Levett notched 19, Jermaine Blackburn tallied 12, Doug Herring Jr. added 11 and Casey Love chipped in with 10.

“It was a great road win,” said Ballard, who also grabbed 12 rebounds. “We got a little frustrated at the beginning due to referees getting in our heads and us not executing, but we calmed down and we played at our pace and played hard, instead of just playing emotionally.

“We really wanted it and we needed this win. Every game we play against Saint John, it’s going to be a physical game.”

Ballard made nine of 10 free throws, part of an 85 per cent effort from the charity stripe.

“We like to go at teams,” he said. “We weren’t shooting as well at the very beginning, so we just attacked and attacked, and tried to get some of their players into foul trouble, and that really helped.”

Vanzent made a hook shot early in the fourth quarter to tie the tilt 76-76. Plummer’s lay-up put the Storm up by two with 8:26 left.

After Levett’s fourth foul, Vanzent went 2-for-2 from the line for a five-point lead with just under six minutes remaining. Saint John called a timeout with 5:22 on the clock.

After the Mill Rats got the ball back, Singleton missed twice in close. Blackburn missed a trey shortly after.

Then Plummer notched both free throws for a 93-87 lead with a little less than three minutes left. Blackburn’s foul sent Ballard to the line and he made both shots, giving the Island a seven-point edge with just over two minutes remaining.

Following another Saint John timeout, Herring Jr. made two free throws, but Blackburn was called for another foul and Steve Tchiengang made one of two for a 96-90 lead.

Herring delivered a three-pointer to pull Saint John within three, leading to a Storm timeout with 47.3 seconds left. But Blackburn’s fifth foul sent Vanzent to the line again, and he made both from the line for a five-point lead.

Herring nailed another triple to pull Saint John within three with five seconds left, prompting a Storm timeout. But Vanzent made another from the line to complete the scoring.

Plummer and Adrian Moss both made two free throws to pull the Storm within one near the halfway mark of the third quarter. But Levett deposited a corner three and Blackburn followed with a slam to give Saint John a 73-66 lead with a little over three minutes left in the third.

Tchiengang tallied two from the charity stripe to pull his team within four at the end of the third quarter. Saint John owned a 24-20 lead after the first quarter thanks to Singleton, who drained five of seven field goals, including three straight triples.

Amani Daanish struck from downtown with a little over six minutes left in the second quarter, giving the Storm a two-point lead. But that was the only three-pointer the Island could manage in 10 first-half attempts.

The Mill Rats had the ball for the last shot of the second quarter, allowing Levett to nail a jumper for a 47-42 lead at halftime.

Saint John Telegraph-Journal

Organizations: National Basketball League of Canada

Geographic location: SAINT JOHN

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