Storm loses Game 5, NBL series goes back to Windsor

Charles Reid
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Island team's comeback falls two points short

The Island Storm’s title celebration waits for another day after the Windsor Express hung on for a 113-111 victory on Saturday in Charlottetown.

Windsor, up a by 20 points late in the third quarter, withstood a furious, 45-point fourth quarter by the Storm to stave off elimination in Game 5 of the best-of-seven National Basketball League of Canada final at Eastlink Centre.

The Storm leads the series 3-2. Game 6 is Tuesday in Windsor, Ont., with Game 7, if necessary, on Thursday, also in Windsor.

Express guard Stefan Bonneau broke the hearts and hopes of the 3,002 raucous fans at the Link, keening for the Island squad’s first NBL title, by draining a game-high 39 points, many with Storm defenders draped all over him. Bonneau also was 5-for-10 from the three-point line.

Backcourt mate Darren Duncan, who had 18 points and a game-high six assists, said his squad accomplished what it wanted from the three games in P.E.I.

“Our goal was to take home-court advantage and that’s what we did. (A win like this) builds a little confidence. Offensively and defensively we played pretty well. I thought we played well enough to win Game 4, but things didn’t go our way,” said Duncan.

“(At home) we have to contain their big-time scorers, force them into tough shots. We do that we should be victorious.”

Neither team shot well in the first quarter and Windsor finished with a 24-20 lead, but in the second frame Windsor’s gunners woke up and shot it to 57-45 advantage.

And if the game was made difficult, it made there in the first half, said Storm forward Antonio Ballard.

“We got down. We know what we have to do, it just a shame it took us to get down 20 points to realize it,” said Ballard, who led the Storm in minutes (39:49 and free throws (14-of-15). “We should’ve played like we were down 20 from the beginning.”

Things looked over with the Storm down 85-66 going in the fourth, but the Island squad chipped away, helped by guard Nick Okorie draining 14 of his 31 points in the frame, including one of his six three-pointers from deep in the left corner with two seconds remaining in the game and Bonneau defending. The shot, from an inbounds assist by Dwayne Smith, made the score 112-111 for Windsor.

Bonneau, however, hit one of two fouls shots in the last seconds to ice the game.

Windsor’s Quinnel Brown chipped in 16 points and nabbed a game-high 12 rebounds while DeAndre Thomas had 13 points, despite being hampered by foul trouble. George Goode grabbed 11 rebounds for the Express.

The Storm, said Ballard, still has the series lead and won’t forget that going into Game 6 in Windsor where the teams split the first two games.

“As far as we’re concerned, we have the advantage. They’ll have to win two dogfights. We just have to do (what we did Saturday) from the beginning and take care of business,” he said.

Ballard had 21 points and eight rebounds while Adrian Moss chipped in 14 points, including 12 on 4-for-5 in three-point shooting.


Instant Replay

A look at Saturday’s National Basketball League of Canada playoff game at Eastlink Centre:

The Outcome - Windsor 113 Island Storm 111

Top Three Scorers - Windsor: Stefan Bonneau, 39, Darren Duncan, 18, Quinell Brown, 16; Island Storm: Nick Okorie, 31, Antonio Ballard, 21, Adrian Moss, 14.

Top Three Rebounders - Windsor: Quinnel Brown, 12, George Goode, 11, Kevin Loiselle, 9; Island Storm: Antonio Ballard, 8, Jeremy Williams, 8, Dwayne Smith, 8.

Three-Point Shooter - Windsor: Darren Duncan, 2-for-3; Island Storm: Adrian Moss, 4-for-5.

Most Assists - Windsor: Darren Duncan, 6; Island Storm: Jeremy Williams, 4.

Free Throws - Windsor: Darren Duncan, 6-for-6; Island Storm: Al Stewart, 2-for-2.

Next Up - The Express host the Storm in Game 6 of the best-of-seven NBL final Tuesday in Windsor Ont. Game time is 8 p.m. AT.

By The Numbers

Score By Quarter -

Windsor 24  33  28  28 – 113

Storm   20   25  21  45 – 111

Field-Goal Shooting - Windsor: 45 per cent, 38-of-84; Island Storm: 47 per cent, 36-of-76.

Three-Point Shooting - Windsor: 33 per cent, 8-of-24; Island Storm: 45 per cent, 10-of-22.

Free-Throw Shooting - Windsor: 81 per cent, 29-of-36; Island Storm: 91 per cent, 29-of-32.

Total Rebounds - Windsor: 43; Island Storm: 49.

Turnovers - Windsor: 11; Island Storm: 16.

Steals - Windsor: 9; Island Storm: 4.

Bench Scoring - Windsor: 27; Island Storm: 29.

Attendance - 3,002.

50-50 Draw - $2,565.

Organizations: National Basketball League, Windsor Express, Eastlink Centre

Geographic location: Windsor

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