Storm looking to improve shooting from the field, at the line

Jason Malloy
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Free throws haven't been free this year for the Island Storm.

The team is hitting on 65 per cent of its trips to the line, which is at the bottom of the eight-team National Basketball League of Canada.

"It's unacceptable at this level," head coach Joe Salerno said before Wednesday's practice. "Losing some tight games this year, those (misses) have played a factor."

But it's not the only thing that has hurt them.

Salerno said he wants to see the team reduce its number of turnovers as well as knock down more of the open shots the team is getting.

He thinks part of the issue is some players still have some rust on their game while the team has dealt with a slew of injuries and has ushered players in and out.

The Storm is in the unfamiliar spot of being tied with the Moncton Miracles in the Atlantic Division basement with a 6-11 record.

But Salerno is not pushing the panic button.

He said the team is working on getting a rotation set and playing consistent ball.

Salerno said he has set the goal to be in second place in the Atlantic by mid-March and believes it is achievable with 11 of the team's next 12 games against division opponents.

"We know that right now is the time we have to really come together and start playing consistent basketball every time we step on the floor," he said.

The team gets the chance to take a step in the right direction today when the Saint John Mill Rats (10-6) visit the Eastlink Centre for a 7 p.m. contest.

Saint John is averaging the second most points (110) in the league while the Storm averages the second fewest (101). The Mill Rats have seven players scoring nine or more points per game while five players are shooting 35 per cent or better from behind the three-point arc. Former Storm guard Johnny Mayhane has hit 48 per cent of his 48 three-point attempts this season.

"They're as potent of an offence as anybody in this league," Salerno said. "If you catch them on a hot night, they're going to be tough to beat."

Storm point guard Josiah Turner was activated Wednesday for tonight's game after dealing with a respiratory infection during the past week.

To make room for Turner, the Storm placed George Beamon on injured reserve with a sprained distal joint.

Organizations: National Basketball League of Canada, Eastlink Centre

Geographic location: Atlantic, Saint John

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