Storm unable to close out Hurricanes

Jason Malloy
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The Island Storm coughed up a 12-point lead in the fourth quarter Thursday in losing 115-112 to the Halifax Hurricanes at the Eastlink Centre.

The short-staffed Storm had a chance to tie it with 3.2 seconds left but point guard Malcolm Grant could not hit the desperation shot.

“With so little time left, you just have to try and get it up there,” said Grant, noting he was trying to draw a foul. “We’re a positive unit, we’re staying together and we have to learn from it.”

The Hurricanes improved to 3-1. The loss dropped the Storm to 1-2 early in the National Basketball League of Canada season, but 0-2 at home. Thursday's attendance was 1,950.

“It’s tough, two losses at home back-to-back,” Grant said. “We want to give these fans something to cheer for and we slipped up on this one.”

The Storm held quarter leads of 27-22, 52-49 and 88-76. They were up eight points with three minutes to play, but could not hold the lead.

“It’s a tough way to lose,” head coach Joe Salerno said. “We led the whole game (but) we didn't execute down the stretch.”

The Storm was without two of its primary ball handlers on Thursday. Point guard Gary Gibson has been out since early in training camp with an ankle injury and combo guard Rashad Whack was placed on the injured reserve and will not be eligible to play until Sunday.

Mike Martin led the Storm with 23 points while Brent Jennings had 18 and Grant 17. Nick Evans added 12 while Billy Rush and Kenny Otieno each chipped in 11. Brian Addison had eight rebounds to lead the Storm while Grant added 10 assists.

Justin Johnson had 27 points, including 4-for-5 from three-point territory, and 10 assists to pace the Hurricanes. Mike Glover added 24 points and Shane Gibson 22.

The Storm travels to Saint John, N.B., on Saturday to play the Mill Rats (3-0) at 7 p.m. It is possible Gibson makes his debut there. Sunday the Storm is in Moncton to play the Miracles (0-4) at 2 p.m.

Organizations: Halifax Hurricanes, Eastlink Centre, National Basketball League of Canada

Geographic location: Saint John, Moncton

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