Island Storm hosts deep Ottawa SkyHawks team Wednesday

Jason Malloy
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Point guard Adrian Moss is a game-time decision Wednesday night when the Island Storm hosts the Ottawa SkyHawks.

Moss didn’t practice Tuesday with a lower body injury. The Storm is already without point guard Al Stewart for the next couple of weeks with a knee injury.

It could be an issue with the SkyHawks point guard Jerice Crouch earning the nickname Zero to 60 because of his quickness and ability to push the ball up the floor.

“Hopefully he is going to be able to go,” Storm coach Joe Salerno said Tuesday regarding Moss. “It would be a tough game to have both of those guys missing.”

If Moss can’t go Antwi Atuahene and Shawn Vanzant would see more time with the ball in their hands running the offence.

Game time for tonight’s contest is 7 p.m. at Eastlink Centre.

The Storm is 15-13 while the SkyHawks are 15-15.

Salerno called the SkyHawks one of the most underrated and deepest teams in the National Basketball League of Canada.

“Our transition defence has to be up to par,” he said. “They really push the basketball.”

They also have good outside shooters like Ryan Anderson, who leads the team in scoring at just under 19 points a game, and Justin Tubbs. The team shot better than 50 per cent from behind the three-point arc during the past two games.

“We have to defend the perimeter,” Salerno said.

The Jaren Jackson-coached SkyHawks have been a streaky team for the past six weeks. Starting Dec. 14 they lost four straight, won three straight and lost three straight before winning three of its past four games.

“They’re dangerous,” Salerno said. “They’re playing real good basketball right now.”

The Storm is two games back of Atlantic Division-leading Saint John (17-11) with a month remaining in the season. The team has 12 games left, including five of the next six at home.

It has won eight of the past 10 games at Eastlink Centre with the two losses being a one-point loss to Brampton on Nov. 24 and a 121-118 overtime loss to London on Jan.11.

The Storm finishes the season with four games on the road, including three in Ontario.

“We’re just trying to finish strong and be playing our best basketball going into March,” Salerno said.

Recently signed centre Bilal Dixon has been cleared to play and will dress for tonight’s contest.

 

Upcoming games

The following is a look at the Island Storm’s next five games.

Wednesday

 

Ottawa SkyHawks at Island Storm, 7 p.m.

Feb. 4

Halifax Rainmen at Island Storm, 7 p.m.

Feb. 6

Island Storm at Moncton Miracles, 7 p.m.

Feb. 7

Halifax Rainmen at Island Storm, 7 p.m.

Feb. 11

Halifax Rainmen at Island Storm, 7 p.m.

 

Team leaders

Points per game

SkyHawks – Ryan Anderson, 18.8.

Storm – Antonio Ballard, 22.2.

Rebounds per game

SkyHawks – Ryan Anderson, 7.9.

Storm – Antonio Ballard, 9.5.

Assists per game

SkyHawks – Jerice Crouch, 6.1.

Storm – Al Stewart, 6.2.

Steals per game

SkyHawks – Ryan Anderson, 1.9.

Storm – Al Stewart, 2.5.

Blocks per game

SkyHawks – Fred Sturdivant, 1.3.

Storm – Jeremy Williams, 0.44.

Organizations: Eastlink Centre, National Basketball League of Canada

Geographic location: Ottawa, Saint John, Brampton London Ontario

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