CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – It wasn’t a masterpiece, but it was a win.
The Island Storm defeated the Saint John Riptide 96-95 to even its early season record to 1-1 during National Basketball League of Canada action Sunday at the Eastlink Centre.
“We have to do a better job of closing games out,” Storm head coach Tim Kendrick said, “but we’ll work on that.”
He said with a how the team lost Saturday night’s opener and being in a tight contest Sunday afternoon, some guys get anxious.
“They start playing not to lose and you can’t win that way,” he said. “You have to play to win.”
The Storm led 33-22 after the first quarter and 54-40 at the half, but the Riptide bit into the lead in the third and went to the fourth trailing 75-65.
The game got closer and closer as minutes and seconds ticked off the clock.
“We had a little lull on offence, we made some turnovers, we missed some shots we normally hit, and we got ourselves in a little bit of a mental rut,” Kendrick said. “As guys start to learn the offence more and start to learn how to move the basketball to get easier shots, I think we’ll get better and better.”
Brad States hit one of two free throws to give the home side the lead with 14 seconds left. Former Storm guard Kemy Osse missed a contested three-pointer with four seconds to play and Jarrell Tate hauled in the rebound to end the contest.
“We weathered the storm and got the W,” Kendrick said.
Robbie Robinson had a game-high 20 points to go with 10 rebounds, four assists and two steals. Russell Byrd had 16 points, eight rebounds and five assists while Alex Campbell chipped in 14 points, 10 boards and seven dimes.
Tate added 16 points and five rebounds off the bench.
Randy Phillips had 19 points to pace the Riptide while Jeremiah Mordi add 18 and Chris Early 13.
Nova Scotia guard Tyler Scott didn't play Sunday with a finger injury. There’s a chance he might not be available for the team’s next game at home on Thursday, Nov. 29.