Storm rumble over Rainmen

Charles Reid
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The Island Storm exploded for 41 points in the third quarter to trounce the Halifax Rainmen 129-90 in National Basketball League of Canada playoff action Monday in Charlottetown.

The Rainman went cold in the third under rugged Storm defence and mustered just 19 points after trailing 59-44 at halftime.

That and Storm point guard Adrian Moss, who went for a triple double, gave the Storm a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven Atlantic Division final. Game 6 is Wednesday in Halifax at 7 p.m.

Moss had 17 points, including the first eight points of the decisive third quarter, 15 assists and 10 rebounds, and played smart ball while running the point, driving and not driving when needed and dishing when needed.

But Moss points to his head coach Joe Salerno's modifications after losing Game 4 in Halifax on Sunday.

“We just turned it up a notch. Coach really preached (Monday morning) that we could go a little harder, that we could deny them the ball harder and not make it so hard for us,” said Moss, who notched his first NBL playoff triple double. “Great adjustments. What he said in the morning was what we did in the game. Got to give him all the credit.”

Storm forwards Antonio Ballard led the team with 18 points each while Nick Okorie had 17 points, including 3-for-3 from the three-point line.  Jeremy Williams, Ed Jones, who was 9-for-10 from the free throw line, Charlottetown native Doug McKinney and Steve Tchiengang, who grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds, all scored in double-digits as the Storm tallied its highest output in the 2014 playoffs and tied its regular-season high.

Olumuyiwa Famutimi paced the Rainmen with 23 points while Chris Mathews drained 19 points and Raven Barber chipped in 12 points. Tim Parham led Halifax with nine boards.

Sniper Jason Williams was held to four points.

Next up is Game 6 and Moss knows the strategy for zero letdown. “They’re a team that gets hot. Got to keep the foot on the pedal,” said Moss. “Got to realize what's at stake. Win and we go to the finals. It’s a closeout game.”

Game 7, if necessary, is Saturday at Eastlink Centre. Start time is 7 p.m.  

All-Star game

NBL commissioner Paul Riley was at the game Monday to announce Charlottetown and Eastlink Centre will host the league all-star weekend April 19 to 20. 

On April 19 there will be the dunk contest, a three-point shooting contest and an Atlantic University Sport basketball showcase. 

The all-star game will be played on the following night. 

The all-star weekend promises to be a quite a shindig, said Riley, as more than basketball is scheduled.

A concert featuring Canadian rapper Choclair and other acts closes out April 19.  Earlier in the day is a showcase for AUS players to strut their stuff in front of coaches and general managers at an on-court exhibition basketball game.

Riley said the City of Charlottetown didn’t hesitate when the league asked to stage the 2014 version on P.E.I. “The city embraced the idea. We felt wanted. You always like to go where you’re wanted,” said Riley, a former captain of the Dalhousie University men’s basketball team. “P.E.I has always been one of our most important markets.”

Organizations: Eastlink Centre, National Basketball League of Canada, Atlantic University Sport

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Halifax

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