CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – The losing streak is over.
The Island Storm built a 26-point lead in the third quarter and withstood a late push from the Moncton Magic for a 108-91 victory to end a 10-game losing streak Friday in National Basketball League of Canada play.
“Guys did their jobs. Guys played hard and guys played well,” head coach Tim Kendrick said.
Kendrick threw the proverbial monkey off his back after leaving the court near the team’s locker room at the Eastlink Centre.
“It’s nice to have him off – I feel lighter,” he quipped.
The Storm, plagued by falling behind early in games this season, never trailed. They got going early and built on it.
The team employed an unusual tactic of using two five-man shifts when substituting its players.
“We’ve been thinking about it a little bit,” Kendrick said. “Both of those groups kind of play very well together and we said, ‘What the heck, let’s give it a whirl’ and, sure enough, it looked pretty good tonight.”
The Storm received contributions up and down its lineup and five guys scored 10 or more points.
Guillaume Boucard, who was acquired from the St. John’s Edge in a trade for Brad States on Monday, had 18 points, eight rebounds, two blocks and an assist.
“Guys trusted me . . . and wanted me to be aggressive and I did just that,” he said.
Forward Dominic Shuler broke Du’Vaughn Maxwell’s franchise record of six block shots with seven on Friday. He also had 12 points and 12 rebounds in 25 minutes.
“I think Dominic is understanding his role a lot better now,” Kendrick said. “I told him the thing about being a good pro is now you have to come back Sunday and play similar.”
The Storm host the Halifax Hurricanes Sunday at 2 p.m.
Friday, the Storm held 31-23, 56-37 and 83-60 quarter leads.
Kendrick said he thought there were a couple of key moments. The first came with the Storm up about 13 points in the second quarter, the second group entered the game and got the lead to 19 at the half.
The second moment came late in the game, with the Magic having cut the deficit to 11. A timeout was called to get the home team back on track and enable it to close out the game.
“People start looking at the clock,” Kendrick said. “Don’t look at the clock to bail you out, don’t look at the referees to bail you out, get back to attacking the basket, get back to making our open shots and defending.”
Boucard said defence was key in stopping the Magic’s surge.
“We just needed stops, that was the main thing. I think we got a little complacent and we let them come back,” he said. “We locked in (during) a few minutes and got some stops.”
While there was a jovial mood around the team after the long-awaited win, the squad is still 3-11 and in last place in the league. It can’t think about winning eight in a row to get back to .500 or dwelling on the past. It is just focusing on the future.
“We just said it in the locker room, ‘The season for us starts right now. We’re 1-0, let’s go from here’,” Kendrick said.
A look at Friday’s National Basketball League of Canada Game between the Island Storm and the Moncton Magic at the Eastlink Centre.
Magic – 91
Storm – 108
Magic – Gentrey Thomas 21, Corey Allmond 18, Wayne McCullough 15 and Nick Evans 12.
Storm – Sampson Carter 21, Guillaume Boucard 18, Robbie Robinson 16, Dominic Shuler 12 and Tyler Scott 11.
Magic – Denzell Taylor 11 and Joel Ndondo 7.
Storm – Dominic Shuler 12 and Sampson Carter 10.
Magic – Corey Allmond 5.
Storm – Kareem Canty 6.
Block party – Dominic Shuler had a franchise record seven blocks.
Magic – 36
Storm – 53
Magic – 12-7
Storm – 3-11
Attendance – 1,000.