UPDATED: Second-half surge leads Island Storm to victory

Charles
Charles Reid
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You wouldn’t think a 28-point win by Island Storm over the Halifax Rainmen on Tuesday in Charlottetown would’ve been close, but the game was up for grabs with only a handful of minutes remaining in the third quarter.

That’s when the Storm took a 57-55 lead on three straight hoops by forward Jeremy Williams.

Guard Nick Okorie then hit a three-point shot for a 60-55 lead and the Storm ran away for its sixth consecutive National Basketball League of Canada victory.

Williams was the catalyst, however, playing rugged defence, blocking shots, hitting key baskets and even leading the break on one occasion which lead to an Antonio Ballard score — two of Ballard's game-high 30 points in the game.

“We had to make up for the first half. We came out poor. (At halftime), we talked about what we had to do. We came out in the second half with a lot more energy,” said Williams of his team which didn’t score its first point until three minutes into the opening quarter.

“I praise (forward) Dwayne Smith for that. He came out relentless on the boards. We toughed up our defence and that led to a lot of easy baskets. Being as deep as we are helps. Most teams go eight or nine deep. We go 12. It’s good to have.”

The Storm moved to 17-13, just one win behind idle division leaders Saint John Mill Rats (18-11). Halifax fell to 6-24, last in the league.

Neither team was stellar to open the game.

Halifax scored the first points off the opening tip then wouldn’t score again until 7:32 into the frame. The Rainmen limped to

a 21-18 lead at the end of the quarter.

More of the same awaited for the crowd at Eastlink Centre in the second period as the teams struggled to Halifax’s 40-32 lead at halftime.

Things remained close in the third, but the Rainmen shuffled out to a six-point lead first on Jujuan Cooley’s three-point play at 8:54 then on Tim Parham’s hoop at 8:13.

But Okorie and Antwi Atuahene each dropped three-point bombs, sandwiching Rainmen scores by Cooley and Chris Matthews, and kept the Storm within two points until Williams gave the Storm a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.

The run preserved the winning streak, though Williams wasn’t relying on laurels to ensure another win.

“We’re not keeping up. That’s how you keep it rolling,”he said with a laugh. “You have to evaluate yourself after every game, look in the mirror. Take the good from it and move forward.”

Williams finished with 11 points, six rebounds and two assists.

Okorie drained 14 points while point guard Adrian Moss, returning from a lower body injury, had 12 points.

Atuahene dished out a game-high eight assists.

Parham, who had 16 points, led all rebounders with 15. Storm centre Steve Tchiengang had 14 rebounds while Smith nabbed 12 boards.

Jason Williams paced the Rainmen with 21 points. Matthew finished with 13 points.

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Instant Replay

A look at Tuesday's National Basketball League of Canada game at Eastlink Centre:

u The Outcome - Island Storm 103 Halifax 75

u Top Scorers - Halifax: Jason Williams, 21, Tim Parham, 16, Chris Matthew, 16; Island Storm: Antonio Ballard, 30, Nick Okorie, 14, Adrian Moss, 12.

u Top Rebounders - Halifax: Tim Parham, 15, Jujuan Cooley, 5, Robert Nortmann, 5; Island Storm: Steve Tchiengang, 14, Dwayne Smith, 12, Antonio Ballard, 8.

u Three-Point Shooter - Halifax: Jujuan Cooley, 1-for-5; Island Storm: Adrian Moss, 3-for-5.

u Most Assists - Halifax: Jujuan Cooley, Jason Williams, 5; Island Storm: Antwi Atuahene, 8.

u Free Throws - Halifax: Jason Williams, 5-for-6; Island Storm: Antonio Ballard, 11-for-12.

u Field Goal Shooting - Halifax: 41 per cent, 32-of-79; Island Storm: 38 per cent, 35-of-93.

u Three-Point Shooting - Halifax: 10 per cent, 2-of-20; Island Storm: 36 per cent, 10-of-28.

u Free Throw Shooting - Halifax: 64 per cent, 9-of-14; Island Storm: 79 per cent, 23-of-29.

u Total Rebounds - Halifax: 47; Island Storm: 63.

u Turnovers - Halifax: 17; Island Storm: 13.

u Steals - Halifax: 3; Island Storm: 8

u Bench Scoring - Halifax: 18; Island Storm: 38.

u 50-50 Draw - $400.

u Next Up - The Storm (17-13) faces the Miracles (11-20) Thursday in Moncton. Game time is 7 p.m.

Geographic location: Moncton

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