Storm hosts Rainmen today in NBL of Canada action

Jason Malloy
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Island squad looks to avenge recent loss to Halifax

Island Storm logo

The Island Storm is taking nothing for granted.

On paper the home squad looks like the favourite in today’s National Basketball League of Canada contest with the Halifax Rainmen. Game time is

2 p.m. at Eastlink Centre.

The Storm (9-6) leads the Atlantic Conference while the Rainmen (3-13) have one fo the worst records in the league. But the teams have split the two games this season with both contests decided by two points or less.

“We’re a bit sour about the last lost we suffered down there in Halifax,” power forward Amani Daanish said Wednesday.

The Storm led 50-38 at the half but was outscored 27-16 in the third quarter in losing 84-82 on Dec. 14.

“This time around we’re looking to be a lot more aggressive because we have that chip on our shoulder,” Daanish said.

They know it won’t be easy.

The Rainmen have one of the deepest frontcourts with big, physical and athletic players creating a tough matchup for the Storm.

Coach Joe Salerno said Halifax dominated his team on the glass in the last matchup.

“We can’t let that happen again,” he said. “We just have to play bigger than we are. We have to not be scared to play physical against these guys and still play it at our pace.”

With quick guards like Al Stewart, Adrian Moss and Shawn Vanzant, the Storm hopes to attack the Rainmen’s big guys and get them in foul trouble while creating some mismatches with its speed.

“We want to push the basketball as much as we can,” Salerno said. “It’s quite the clash of styles. It’s made for two very good ball games so far. It will be a tough game, (but) it should be an exciting game as well for the fans.”

The Rainmen’s Tim Parham, a six-foot-nine, 250-pound centre from Maryland Eastern Shore University, has hurt the Storm in the previous two meetings, including grabbing 21 rebounds in the last contest.

Salerno will be looking for strong games from Daanish and centre Steve Tchiengang.

The Rainmen lost their first 10 games before winning back-to-back contests over the Storm and Moncton.

“Their much better than their record shows,” Salerno said. “It’s a tough league and they lost a lot of close games.”

Salerno said the team is improving under coach Craig Hodges, the former Chicago Bulls sharpshooter, who took the reins earlier this month after Chris Terrell was fired following the poor start.

This afternoon’s game is the start of three games in as many days for the Storm and four in five days against Halifax and Moncton, who are a combined 5-27 on the season.

“It’s an important stretch for us. There’s a lot of division games here,” Salerno said.

“These are bottom of the league teams and we need to take care of business,” Daanish added.

*****

A look at the Island Storm’s upcoming schedule:

Next five games

Today

Halifax Rainmen at Island Storm, 2 p.m.

Friday

Island Storm at Moncton Miracles, 7 p.m.

Saturday

Island Storm at Moncton Miracles, 7 p.m.

Dec. 31

Halifax Rainmen at Island Storm, 7 p.m.

Jan. 2

Island Storm at Saint John Mill Rats, 7 p.m.

Tonight’s matchup

Records

Rainmen    3-13    

Storm     9-6

Points per game

Rainmen     90

Storm    103

Points allowed per game

Rainmen    98

Storm    99

Field goal percentage

Rainmen    44

Storm    46

Assists per game

Rainmen    18

Storm    22

Steals per game

Rainmen    7.5

Storm    10

Top scorers

Rainmen – George Goode (13), Cheyne Gadson (12.9), Stephen Sir (12.3).

Storm – Antonio Ballard (21.9), Greg Plummer (15.9), Shawn Vanzant (10.4).

Rebounds

Rainmen – Tim Parham (10.5).

Storm – Antonio Ballard (9.2).

Head-to-head meetings

Dec. 8 - 108-107, Storm wins

Dec. 14 - 84-82, Storm loses

Organizations: National Basketball League of Canada, Maryland Eastern Shore University, Chicago Bulls

Geographic location: Halifax, Canada, Moncton

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