UPDATE: Storm hot at crunch time

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Island squad uses fourth quarter heroics to beat Moncton on Thursday

Terry Thomas described the Island Storm's 101-100 win over the Moncton Miracles on Thursday in Charlottetown to a tee.

"It was scrambly," said the Storm shooting guard, who finished with 16 points. "Moncton is a transition team; they run and gun. We worked all week in practice on trying to hold them. We had some guys step up. Luckily, I was there, and Malcolm Grant (hit a big two-pointer)."

So the strategy worked, sort of, though nothing was settled after Moncton's Brandan Kearney drained a clutch three-point shot to tie the game 100-100 with 13 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.

Overtime loomed and almost ruined Thomas' 12-point fourth period, which included two clutch threes of his own and a late-game steal, which put the Storm in the driver's seat before Kearney's three.

But Morgan Lewis hit one of two free throws with four seconds left after being fouled by Kearney on a low-post move to give the Storm a one-point edge and Moncton's last-ditch effort missed.

All of it was typical of the night.

It started slow for both teams. Neither was sharp offensively despite the Miracles 25-24 edge after the first, and defensively, each squad gave up good chances and too many open shots to the other.



Moncton led 49-43 at the half and 70-69 after three quarters.

The teams combined for 42 turnovers (25 for Moncton, 17 for the Storm) and each finished with 20 points off those guffaws.

And foul shooting? The Storm was 54 per cent (10-of-24) while Moncton shot 50 per cent (13-of-26).

The best quarter turned out to be the fourth when both teams shook off the scrambles and found some offensive rhythm.

"It's 80 per cent mental (in a game like this), to stay focused with all that's happening around you," said Thomas. "You stay in the game ... and get some stops. We outplayed them in that aspect tonight."

The Storm improved to 6-9 and moved out of the Atlantic Division basement.

Grant led the Storm with 19 points and a game-high nine assists while centre Nick Evans chipped in 16 points and five boards. Brent Jennings scored 13 points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished out eight assists.

Tydran Beaty paced Moncton (5-10) with 25 points and 11 rebounds while centre Thomas Granado had 24 points. Kearney chipped in  15 points and nabbed seven boards.

Granado agreed it wasn't pretty, but he commended both teams for gutting it out.

"That was a dog fight. Both teams brought it, both teams played hard. It came down to execution and details and who wanted it more," he said. "I was telling the guards that Lewis' turn around jumper was vicious. Sure enough, he got the ball and drew a foul. The Island Storm was the better team (Thursday)."

Today, the Storm travels to Halifax to face the division-leading Hurricanes (9-4). Game time is 7 p.m.

Instant Replay

A look at Thursday's National Basketball League of Canada game at Eastlink Centre:

The Outcome

Island Storm 101

Moncton 100

Top Three Scorers

Moncton: Tydran Beaty, 25, Thomas Granado, 24, Brandan Kearney, 15.

Island Storm: Malcolm Grant, 19, Nick Evans, 16, Terry Thomas, 16.

Top Three Rebounders

Moncton: Tydran Beaty, 11, James Justice, 9, Brandan Kearney, 7.

Island Storm: Brent Jennings, 7, Tirrell Baines, 6, George Beamon, 4.

Three-Point Shooter

Moncton: Brandan Kearney, 3-for-4.

Island Storm: Tirrell Baines, 3-for-6.

Most Assists

Moncton: Dexter Strickland, 6.

Island Storm: Malcolm Grant, 9.

Free Throws

Moncton: Thomas Granado, 4-for-5.

Island Storm: Nick Evans, 6-for-8.

50-50 Draw - $670.

Next Up - The Storm (6-9) travels to Halifax today to face the division-leading Hurricanes (9-4). Game time is 7 p.m.

Organizations: National Basketball League of Canada

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Moncton, Halifax

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