Moving week is here for Storm

Jason Malloy
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Ed Jones goes in for a slam during Island Storm practice at UPEI.

Island team hoping to gain ground on first-place Saint John Mill Rats with three games in the NBL of Canada this week

The Island Storm is looking to make up some ground in the standings this week.

The Storm (16-13) is two games back of the Saint John Mill Rats (18-11) for the Atlantic Division lead in the National Basketball League of Canada.

Saint John is on the road for games with Ottawa, Mississauga and Brampton this week while the Storm plays twice at home against Halifax and once in

Moncton.

“We’ve been calling this one moving week,” head coach Joe Salerno said Monday. “All three of these games for us are huge.”

The Storm’s goal all season has been to win the division and this week can be crucial to achieving its goal.

It starts tonight when the Halifax Rainmen (6-23) come to town for a 7 p.m. contest at the Eastlink Centre.

“Halifax has given us a tough time this year,” Salerno said.

The Rainmen has good size with Raven Barber and Tim Parham among the top bigs in the league while Jason Williams and Olymuyiwa Famutimi provide some matchup issues with their sizes.

“We have to limit their touches in the paint,” Salerno said. “If Halifax is going to beat us, we’re going to make them beat us from the perimeter shooting the basketball.”

The Storm is getting healthier, but is still missing point guard Al Stewart while Adrian Moss is a game-time decision.

“We may end up sitting Adrian down one more game to give him three more days of rest to have him play both games this weekend,” Salerno said.

Antwi Atuahene and Shawn Vanzant have been playing well recently, the coach said.

Salerno added he is pleased with the team’s play of late, including a reduction in turnovers.

Roster

The league’s transaction deadline is Feb. 14.

“I really don’t foresee there being any changes the rest of the way,” Salerno said. “I think this is a group that can compete for a title.”

Saint John recently signed Lawrence Wright, a six-foot-six forward with a 44-inch vertical leap and seven-foot wingspan.

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Upcoming Games

A look at the Island Storm’s next five basketball games:

Tonight

Halifax Rainmen at Island Storm, 7 p.m.

Thursday

Island Storm at Moncton Miracles, 7 p.m.

Friday

Halifax Rainmen at Island Storm, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 11

Halifax Rainmen at Island Storm, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 15

Moncton Miracles at Island Storm, 7 p.m.

Leaders

Points per game

Mill Rats – Jason Williams, 13.8.

Storm – Antonio Ballard, 22.2.

Rebounds per game

Mill Rats – Tim Parham, 10.5.

Storm – Antonio Ballard,9.6.

Assists per game

Mill Rats – Jujuan Cooley, 6.4.

Storm – Al Stewart, 6.2.

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