Storm scores comeback victory over Miracles

Charles Reid
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Avery Smith provided the punch for the Island Storm to gut out a 119-112 win over the Moncton Miracles on Sunday in Charlottetown.

Smith, the newly arrived point guard playing his second game with the National Basketball League of Canada squad, went for 28 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and three steals to lead the come-from-behind win.

The Storm improved to 6-5 in the Atlantic Division while Moncton fell to 2–8.

In a key 12-second segment late in the fourth quarter, Smith had a defensive rebound off a Shawn Vanzant miss, hit a three-point shot to give the Storm a 110-105 lead, then stole the ball from Vanzant on the Miracles next possession and hit a two-pointer for a seven-point cushion Moncton couldn’t overcome.

Smith said he was proud of the way the Storm tightened after blowing a five-point first-quarter lead and going into the second half down 53-50.

“I’m very pleased with how the players put in the defensive effort. We rebounded the ball well in the fourth and got the stops we needed,” said Avery, adding he didn’t have a fourth-quarter lag like in Friday’s game against Brampton. “(Sunday) I felt a lot better. The energy was there in the fourth quarter.”

Louis Birdsong Jr. had 19 points and seven rebounds for the Storm while Nick Evans and Rashad Whack each chipped in 17 points.

Daquan Brooks led the Miracles with 26 points, including six-for-eight from the three-point line, many of those over Storm defenders.

Former Storm forward Dwayne Smith had 18 points and nine rebounds for the Miracles and was a game-high 6-for-6 from the free-throw line.  

It looked ugly for Moncton early as the Storm held a 22-8 lead just over the mid-way point through the first quarter.

But Moncton clawed back to a 32-27 deficit after the first quarter. The Miracles got hot in the second frame while the Storm went cold and took the lead at halftime.

It maintained that four-point edge going into the fourth.

Storm head coach Joe Salerno said he wasn’t overly concerned about the cold-shooting second frame given the team played minus starting point guard Sammy Zeglinski, leading scorer Brandon Robinson and lost shooting guard Alex DesRoches to an ankle injury four minutes into the first quarter.

“It’s actually not a bad thing to gut this one out. It was a good win. We have key, key players out of our lineup. It was the first real minutes for (forward) Mike Martin, we have a new point guard,” said Salerno. “(We’re still) trying to work this thing out.”

The Storm faces the Halifax Rainman on Sunday, Dec. 14, in Halifax.

Its next home game is Friday, Dec. 26, versus the Miracles. Game time is 2 p.m. at Eastlink Centre.

Instant Replay

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

The Outcome – Island Storm 119 Moncton 112

Top Three Scorers – Moncton: Daquan Brooks, 26, Dwayne Smith, 19, Tyler Murray,16; Island Storm: Avery Smith, 28, Louis Birdsong Jr., 19, Rashad Whack, 17.

Top Three Rebounders – Moncton: Dwayne Smith, 9, Stanley Robinson, 7, Chris Matthews, 7; Island Storm: Avery Smith, 8, Louis Birdsong Jr., Mike Martin, 7.

Three–Point Shooter – Moncton: Daquan Brooks, 6–for–8; Island Storm: Rashad Whack, 3–for–6.

Most Assists – Moncton: Tyler Murray, 5; Island Storm: Avery Smith, 7.

Free Throws – Moncton: Dwayne Smith, 6–for–6; Island Storm: Avery Smith, 5–for–5.

Next Up – The Storm (6–5) faces the Halifax Rainmen (4–3) on Sunday, Dec. 14, in Halifax. Game time is 2 p.m.

50–50 Draw – $388.


Organizations: National Basketball League of Canada, Eastlink Centre

Geographic location: Halifax

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