Okorie, Ballard help Island Storm avenge loss to Saint John

Charles Reid
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Centre Adrian Moss looks for a shot during second quarter action in Charlottetown against the Saint John Mill Rats in National Basketball League of Canada action at the Eastlink Centre in Charlottetown on Friday.

Last shot is old hat in the Island Storm-Saint John Mill Rats rivalry and Friday the Storm did the honours in a 129-127 victory in National Basketball of Canada action in Charlottetown.

Antonio Ballard scored with five seconds left in the game, off a sweet feed from Nick Okorie, and Mill Rats sniper Anthony Anderson threw up a last second miss, giving the Storm revenge at the Eastlink Centre after a 106-104 last-second loss to Saint John on Thursday in Saint John.

“It’s a big win for us, especially after (Thursday). We thought that was game we gave away. Missed a lot of free throws,’’ said Okorie, who finished with 20 points including a trio of three pointers in the fourth quarter. “We slowed Anderson down in the second half. That made a difference.’’

The Storm moves to 12-13 in the Atlantic Division, second to the Mills Rats (15-10). The Storm leads the season series 5-3 and play Saint John twice more.

Anderson dropped 39 points on the Storm, including 5-for-10 from the three-point line and Tyrone Levett had 21 points, including 15 from the beyond the arc.

Doug Herring Jr. led Saint John with nine rebounds.

Ballard led the Storm with 26 points and 12 rebounds. Ed Jones chipped in 18 points and Shawn Vanzant had 15 points, all on three-pointers, before he left the game in the fourth quarter with a back problem.

He’s expected to play in the Storm’s game versus Moncton on Sunday at Eastlink Centre (2 p.m.)

Storm point guard Al Stewart is out Sunday because of a knee injury suffered midway through the fourth.

“I twisted it,’’ Stewart said. “I went one way, it went another.’’

He’s day-to-day.

That injury to the Storm’s floor general meant someone else had to create, and late in the game, the call came to Okorie.

He held the ball until 11 seconds, then drove right, got through the Mill Rats defence and dished to Ballard slicing down the lane for the go-ahead layup.

“I kind of figured he (Storm head coach Joe Salerno) would (call my number). He called it the last home game,’’ said Okorie. “I had to either get shot or look for someone open. Tone was in the lane with no one around him. It was an easy pass to make.’’

On the web at www.nblcanada.ca.

Instant Replay

A look at Friday’s National Basketball League of Canada game at Eastlink Centre:

- The Outcome - Island Storm 129 Saint John 127.

- Top Three Scorers - Saint John: Anthony Anderson, 39, Tyrone Levett, 21, Jermaine Blackburn, 17; Island Storm: Antonio Ballard, 26, Nick Okorie, 20, Ed Jones, 18.

- Top Three Rebounders - Saint John: Doug Herring Jr., 9, Casey Love, 6, Erik Crookshank, 4; Island Storm: Antonio Ballard, 12, Steve Tchiengang, Ed Jones, 5.

- Three-Point Shooter - Saint John: Tyrone Levett, 5-for-6; Island Storm: Shawn Vanzant, 5-for-5.

- Most Assists - Saint John: Anthony Anderson, 9; Island Storm: Adrian Moss, 9.

- Free Throws - Saint John: Anthony Anderson, 6-for-6; Island Storm: Jeremy Williams, 6-of-6.

- Next Up - The Storm (12-13) faces the Moncton Miracles (9-16) Sunday at Eastlink Centre. Game time is 2 p.m.

By The Numbers

- Field Goal Shooting - Saint John: 59 per cent, 51-of-86; Island Storm: 54 per cent, 44-of-81.

- Three-Point Shooting - Saint John: 52 per cent, 13-of-25; Island Storm: 61 per cent, 19-of-31.

- Free Throw Shooting - Saint John: 71 per cent, 12-of-17; Island Storm: 71 per cent, 22-of-31.

- Turnovers - Saint John: 13; Island Storm: 14.

- Bench Scoring - Saint John: 19; Island Storm: 51.

- Steals - Saint John: 7; Island Storm: 5.

- 50-50 Draw - $512.25.

Organizations: Eastlink Centre, Instant Replay, By The Numbers

Geographic location: Saint John, Canada, Moncton

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