Island Storm takes 2-1 series lead with 25-point victory

Charles
Charles Reid
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Game 4 goes Friday night at the Eastlink Centre in Charlottetown

The Island Storm outscored the Windsor Express by 21 points in the second quarter and notched a 129-104 victory on Wednesday at the Eastlink Centre in Charlottetown.

It gave the Storm a 2-1 edge in the National Basketball League of Canada best-of-seven final. Game 4 is Friday at 7 p.m. at the Link.

Point guard Adrian Moss' four clutch three-point shots and Jeremy Williams' sturdy defence (10 defensive rebounds) paced the Storm while leading scorer Antonio Ballard asserted himself for 35 points and 13 rebounds for his best game of the series.

Meanwhile, the Storm limited Windsor snipers Stefan Bonneau and Chris Commons to 16 and 19 points, respectively.

"We know from our past mistakes against Windsor (that they) can really jump out on us. In the first two games in Windsor we weren't really contesting shots," said Ballard. "I think personally they did (need a big game from me). We made some adjustments so I got a few more touches and multiple options for my teammates when (the defence collapsed on me). Like Dorothy said, there's no place like home."

Both teams started the game hot and Windsor took a 33-32 edge into the second quarter in front of 1,940 spectators at Eastlink Centre.

Once there, however, Express shooters went cold, knocking down just 15 points in the quarter on 38 per cent shooting, and except for centre DeAndre Thomas, who went for a team-high 26 points, remained cool the rest of the game. Windsor finished the contest shooting 42 per cent from the floor.

The Storm, however, stayed hot and put up 36 points in the second quarter and cruised a 68-48 halftime lead.

Windsor pushed back in the third quarter against a sluggish Storm, cutting the deficit to 10 points.

But Moss and crew weathered the Express effort and retained 97-80 lead, helped by a 10-4 run to close out the quarter, including Moss' three-pointer with three seconds left in the frame.

From there, the Storm tallied a 32-24 fourth quarter against a downtrodden Express and rode things out to a one-game series edge.

But for Moss, who finished with 20 and five assists, weathering the third wasn't as important the big second stanza. In Game 2 in Windsor, the Storm came back from 18 points down to take a 10-point lead late in the fourth only to see the Express recover and force the Storm to hang on for a 104-102 win.

"The second quarter (Wednesday) was more important because without it there would be no hold-off in the third," said Moss. "We didn't let them get back in it. We learned from our mistakes."

Williams had 20 points and 13 rebounds while guard Nick Okorie drained 17 points and was 8-for-10 from the free-throw line. Storm guard Al Stewart had a team-high 10 assists.

Quinnel Brown had 16 points for the Express while teammate Darren Duncan had 15 and a game-high 11 assists. Commons grabbed 13 boards.

Game 5 is Saturday, at 7 p.m., at the Link.

 

Instant Replay

A look at Wednesday's National Basketball League of Canada playoff game at Eastlink Centre.

The Outcome - Island Storm 129 Windsor 104

Top Three Scorers - Windsor: DeAndre Thomas, 26, Chris Commons, 19, Quinnel Brown, 16; Island Storm: Antonio Ballard, 35, Adrian Moss, 20, Jeremy Williams, 20.

Like Dorothy said, there's no place like home. Antonio Ballard, Island Storm

Top Three Rebounders - Windsor: Chris Commons, 13, DeAndre Thomas, 8, Quinnel Brown, 7; Island Storm: Antonio Ballard, 13, Jeremy Williams, 13, Casey Love, 6.

Three-Point Shooter - Windsor: Papa Oppong, 2-for-4; Island Storm: Jeremy Williams, 3-for-4.

Most Assists - Windsor: Darren Duncan, 11; Island Storm: Al Stewart, 10.

Free Throws - Windsor: Stefan Bonneau, 5-for-5; Island Storm: Antonio Ballard, 8-for-9.

Next Up - The Storm host the Express in Game 4  of the best-of-seven NBL final. Game time is 7 p.m. at Eastlink Centre.

By The Numbers

Field-Goal Shooting - Windsor: 42 per cent, 37-of-89; Island Storm: 54 per cent, 43-of-80.

Three-Point Shooting - Windsor: 38 per cent, 11-of-29; Island Storm: 50 per cent, 14-of-28.

Free-Throw Shooting - Windsor: 90 per cent, 19-of-21; Island Storm: 83 per cent, 29-of-35.

Total Rebounds - Windsor: 39; Island Storm: 52.

Turnovers - Windsor: 15; Island Storm: 17.

Steals - Windsor: 9; Island Storm: 11.

Bench Scoring - Windsor: 12; Island Storm: 31.

Attendance - 1,940.

50-50 Draw - $1,257.50.

Organizations: Eastlink Centre, Windsor Express, National Basketball League of Canada

Geographic location: Charlottetown

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