The Island Storm was up and down and up again in a topsy-turvy 122-102 win over the Niagara River Lions on Thursday in Charlottetown.
First the Storm ran out to 36-14 lead on the sluggish River Lions after the first quarter, then Niagara dropped a 38-24 second-quarter bomb on the then-sleepy Storm and cut the edge to 59-52.
Niagara’s resurgence continued in the third quarter of the National Basketball League of Canada game to where the Lions took a brief 66-64 lead and tied the game three times, the last being at 72-72.
But rookie Tyler Scott, a former UPEI Panther, caught fire in the last five minutes of the third, drained seven points and gave the Storm a 90-79 edge going into the fourth.
Scott began the fourth with two straight three-pointers, and helped by Andre Stringer’s trey and three-point play, the Storm never looked back.
“First of all Niagara is great team. We came out strong early, with competitiveness and taking care of the glass. But sometimes in basketball (losing that big lead) helps as crazy as that sounds,” said Scott, who went for a game-high 26 points off the Storm bench. “With us we let up. It doesn’t matter who has the lead until the final buzzer.
The Storm (5-3) took over first place in the Atlantic Division after the Halifax Hurricanes loss to the Moncton Magic on Thursday. Niagara fell to 4-4.
Stringer had 21 points and game-high 10 assists, while Du’Vaughn Maxwell chipped in 21 points and added seven rebounds. Tyler’s former Panther teammate Brad States had 14 points, half of those in the Storm’s torrid first quarter. Marcus Bell led all rebounders with 13
Marvell Waithe and Guillaume Bouchard drained 25 and 24 points, respectively, for the plucky River Lions. Bouchard nabbed a team-tops 10 boards.
For Scott, Thursday could be a breakout game. His previous high was 15 points in a win over the Moncton Magic in 20 minutes of work. Thursday he played 26 minutes.
Either way, Scott was as happy for the win as his night.
“Yeah, finally, felt good, getting more comfortable out there,” he said. “We have great leaders. It was a great team win. We needed that.”
Next the Storm face Halifax (5-4) on Sunday. Game time is 7 p.m.
A look at Thursday's National Basketball League of Canada game at Eastlink Centre:
The Outcome - Island Storm 122 Niagara 102
Top Three Scorers - Niagara: Marvelle Waithe 25, Guillaume Boucard 23, Omar Strong 14; Island Storm: Andre Stringer 21, Du’Vaughn Maxwell 21, Franklin Session 10.
Top Three Rebounders - Niagara: Marvell Waithe, 25, Guillaume Bouchard, 23, Omar Strong, 14; Island Storm: Tyler Scott, 26, Andre Stinger, Du’Vaughn Maxwell, 21, Brad States, 14.
Three-Point Shooter - Niagara: Marvell Waithe, 5-of-8; Island Storm: Tyler Scott, 5-of-10.
Most Assists - Niagara: Jaylon Tate, 6; Island Storm: Andre Stringer, 10 .
Free Throws - Niagara: 17-of-21, 81 per cent; Island Storm: 21-of-25, 84 per cent.
Next Up - The Storm (5-3) face the Halifax Hurricanes (5-4) Sunday in Halifax, N.S. Game time is 7 p.m.
50-50 Draw - $484.