Storm takes Game 1 of NBL of Canada playoff series against Miracles

Charles
Charles Reid
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Antonio Ballard of the Island Storm looks for a way to squeeze through the Moncton Miracle defenders during NBL of Canada playoff action Monday night in Charlottetown.

An 11-0 fourth-quarter run  broke open a 78-78 game and propelled the Island Storm to a 108-89 victory over the Moncton Miracles in NBL of Canada playoff action Monday night in Charlottetown.

The Storm leads the best-of-five Atlantic Division semifinal 1-0. Game 2 is Wednesday at Eastlink Centre. Game time is 7 p.m.

It’s a critical contest to Storm point guard Adrian Moss, who had 16 points including 4-for-5 from the three-point line.

“We have to use the same formula. We had a two-point lead at halftime and we won the second half by 17 points. Focus on what we did well, bring the same intensity. Game is always an important game in any series,” said Moss, who keyed the clinching run with tough defence and timely assists.

“The last seven to eight minutes (Monday) we turned it up defensively. Tone (Antonio Ballard) and Nick (Okorie) turned it up (offensively). It was nice to sit back and watch the show and play defence.”

Ballard went for a game-high 30 points, including six of the main run’s 11 points, and grabbed 11 rebounds. Okorie chipped in 18 points and a game-high seven assists. Storm forward Jeremy Williams led all players with 13 rebounds.

Johnny Mayhane led Moncton with 18 points while Oliver MacNally and Trayvon Lathon each dropped in 14 points.

Most of those points came well before the Storm’s run, which was helped by the Miracles’ fumbles and their cold shooting.

Overall, Moncton shot 35 per cent from the floor and 46 per cent from the free throw line.

“We had a couple of costly turnovers and let it get away. And missed a lot of open shots,” said MacNally, who handed out five assists and nabbed seven boards. “(But energy) isn’t going to be a problem for Game 2. We played 40 hard games to get here. The energy will be there, and we have to eliminate the mental mistakes that cost us. I liked where we were the first 40 minutes (on Monday).”

Storm guard Shawn Vanzant had 14 points, including 9-for-9 from the three-point line, while point guard Al Stewart had 10 points and three assists in his first game since suffering a knee injury in mid-January.

Miracles forward Jermaine Dailey chipped in 10 points and led the team with 11 rebounds.

The Storm led 22-17 after the first quarter and 45-43 at halftime. It also won the third quarter 33-28 then nearly doubled Moncton 30-18 in the fourth.

Game 1 of the Saint John Mill Rats-Halifax Rainmen semi is tonight at 7 in Saint John, N.B.

*****

Instant Replay

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

u The Outcome - Island Storm 108 Moncton 89

u Top Three Scorers - Moncton: Johnny Mayhane, 18, Oliver MacNally, 14, Trayvon Lathon, 14; Island Storm: Antonio Ballard, 30, Nick Okorie, 18, Adrian Moss, 16.

u Top Three Rebounders - Moncton: Jermaine Dailey, 11, Johnny Mayhane, 8, Oliver MacNally, 7; Island Storm: Jeremy Williams, 13, Antonio Ballard, 11, Shawn Vanzant, 5.

u Three-Point Shooter - Moncton: Quin Humphrey, 1-2; Island Storm: Adrian Moss, 4-for-5.

u Most Assists - Moncton: Oliver MacNally, 5; Island Storm: Nick Okorie, 7.

u Free Throws - Moncton: Oliver MacNally, 4-for-6; Island Storm: Shawn Vanzant, 9-for-9.

u Field Goal Shooting - Moncton: 35 per cent, 36-of-102; Island Storm: 46 per cent, 39-of-84.

u Three-Point Shooting - Moncton: 31 per cent, 5-of-16; Island Storm: 44 per cent, 8-of-18.

u Free Throw Shooting - Moncton: 46 per cent, 12-of-26; Island Storm: 81 per cent, 22-of-27.

u Total Rebounds - Moncton: 64; Island Storm: 58.

u Turnovers - Moncton: 14; Island Storm: 16.

u Steals - Moncton: 7; Island Storm: 7.

u Bench Scoring - Moncton: 33; Island Storm: 33.

u 50-50 Draw - $410.

u Next Up - The Storm hosts the Moncton Miracles on Wednesday in Game 2 of the best-of-five Atlantic Division semifinal. Game time is 7 p.m. at Eastlink Centre.

Organizations: Eastlink Centre, Game 2, National Basketball League of Canada

Geographic location: Moncton, Canada, Saint John

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