© Guardian photo by Brian McInnis
011914 ISLAND STORM
Nick Okorie showed Sunday why the Island Storm acquired the guard earlier this month from the Mississauga Power.
The six-foot-one Houston, Texas, native went off in the fourth quarter as the Storm pulled away for a 97-85 victory over the Moncton Miracles in National Basketball League of Canada action.
Okorie scored 20 of his 27 points in the final period, including the team’s first eight points of the fourth.
The Storm entered the quarter up 64-58, but Moncton refused to go quietly, closing to within one possession numerous times.
“I just tried to be a bit more aggressive,’’ Okorie said after the game. “We had a lead and the game was kind of (sitting) on the balance. I felt like if I was a little more aggressive I can make plays for everybody else.”
Point guard Adrian Moss said after Okorie hit a couple of shots it was easy to figure out who to get the ball to.
“When he gets hot, you better look out,” Moss said. “It’s nothing new. It doesn’t surprise me. He did it all last year.”
Okorie hit the dagger three-pointer to make it 92-83 with 1:18 to go. Coach Joe Salerno was pleased with his team’s play, including Okorie, Moss and Jeremy Williams.
“I told Nick after the game, ‘hey that’s why we brought you here,’” Salerno said. “It’s not just to hit big shots, it’s to make plays and down the stretch Nick was an all-star.”
The Storm held quarter leads of 28-19, 46-39 and 64-58.
“The good thing I liked about tonight was we got the lead and we never lost it,” Moss said. “I’m proud of the team.”
While the Storm (13-13) is a few games up on Moncton (9-18) in the standings, it has lost four of the seven meetings between the clubs. Moss said Sunday’s win was big confidence booster for the Island squad.
“It’s huge,” he said. “They beat us the last three times we played them. We feel like we have a new team, a better team, and we wanted to come out and prove that.”
The Storm was without its captain, point guard Al Stewart, who suffered a second-degree sprained knee in Friday’s victory. He is expected to be out for three to four weeks.
“Adrian really stepped up today,” Salerno said.
With Antwi Atuahene, the Storm has depth to handle an injury in the backcourt.
“I hate to see Al go down, but hopefully we can hold it up and do it for him until he gets back,” Moss said. “We just have to keep it rolling.”
The Storm gets that opportunity on Thursday when they host the Miracles in its next game. The division-leading Saint John Mill Rats are in town on Friday. Both games start at 7 p.m.
A look at Sunday’s National Basketball League of Canada game between the Island Storm and the Moncton Miracles.
Storm – 97
Miracles – 85
- By the quarters
Storm 28 18 18 33
Miracles 19 20 19 27
- Top scorers
Storm – Nick Okorie 27, Antonio Ballard 14, Adrian Moss 13, Ed Jones 11 and Antwi Atuahene 10.
Miracles – Johnny Mayhane 14, Stanley Robinson 11, Jermaine Dailey and Cordell Jeanty 10.
- Rebounding leaders
Storm – Dwayne Smith 8.
Miracles – Sylvania Watkins 7.
Storm – Adrian Moss 12.
Miracles – Travis George 5.
- Field goal percentage
Storm – 44 (34-for-77)
Miracles – 44 (34-for-78)
- Three-point percentage
Storm – 35 (9-for-26)
Miracles – 0 (0-for-8)
- Free-throw percentage
Storm – 87 (20-for-23)
Miracles – 63 (17-for-27)
Head to head
A look at the season series between the Moncton Miracles and Island Storm
- Nov. 3
Storm 120, Miracles 91
- Nov. 7
Miracles 97, Storm 94
- Nov. 17
Storm 111, Miracles 101
- Dec. 27
Miracles 104, Storm 97
- Dec. 28
Miracles 96, Storm 83
- Jan. 5
Miracles 101, Storm 89
- Jan. 19
Storm 97, Miracles 85
- Jan. 23
Miracles at Storm, 7 p.m.