Down to the wire
Storm knocks off Express in back-and-forth contest
Former Island Storm forward Brandon Robinson hit six threepointers Friday but missed one to tie the game in the dying seconds as his Windsor Express dropped a 107-102 decision to his former team.
“I got a good look at it. It just didn’t go down. I’ve hit those shots before,” said Robinson, who scored 27 in his return to the Island. “We were just on the short end of things tonight.”
Storm coach Joe Salerno had a great look at Robinson’s final shot. He thought it was long out of his hand but has seen Robinson hit enough clutch shots not to doubt him.
“It was certainly scary . . . watching Brandon let that go,” he said.
Storm point guard Gary Gibson was fouled off the rebound of Robinson’s miss and iced the game at the free-throw line.
It was Gibson who had made the big defensive play moments earlier. He stole an inbounds pass and Nick Evans got the ball inside to Brian Addison to put the Storm up three.
“I’m glad I caught the ball. I was right there and was able to lay it back up,” Addison said.
Addison was a beast on the boards all night. He recorded 13 rebounds, seven of them on the offensive end, which became put-back buckets as he went for a team-high 24 points.
“I go into games with the mindset that every rebound is a dollar,” Addison said. “I’m trying to be a millionaire at the end of the game. The more rebounds, the more money.”
The Storm improved to 4-5 on the season while the Express is 4-4.
Evans had 21 points for the Storm while Rashad Whack chipped in 13 and Terry Thomas 12. Whack also had eight assists.
Chris Commons had 31 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Express. Robinson had 10 boards and former Storm point guard Adrian Moss added seven assists.
The Storm jumped out to an early 24-9 lead, but the Express rolled off 15 straight to tie the contest before the end of the quarter.
“It just shows we have heart,” Robinson said. “We never give up. We go out and play and compete every night. . . We just can’t get down like that on the road and exert a lot of energy trying to bring ourselves back.”
The Storm held quarter leads of 28-26, 56-52 and 80-76.
The game remained tight throughout with each team taking a shot at holding the lead but unable to land the knockout punch.
“Trading baskets is OK, but you can’t let them go on runs,” Evans said.
The centre got caught on a switch outside with the much quicker Robinson with about a minute to play. The two were teammates for two seasons with the Storm.
Evans said he told Robinson to give him his best shot. Robinson obliged and nailed a trey.
“That’s what he’s been doing in this league for a long time,” Evans said.
The atmosphere was great with 1,650 people inside the Eastlink Centre and two of the league’s traditional powers going down to the buzzer.
Former Storm point guard Sammy Zeglinski had a great seat. Tonight, he and his Niagara River Lions (2-5) look to slow down the Storm at 7 p.m.
“They look very good, really athletic, they can all score and they really defend well,” he said, “so we’re going to have our work cut out for us.”
Island Storm guard Rashad Whack, right, trips as he goes after the ball while being guarded by Windsor Express forward Brandon Robinson Friday during National Basketball League of Canada action at the Eastlink Centre.