CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – After months of preparations and training the Saint John Riptide began the 2016-17 season on the road against the division rival Island Storm at the Eastlink Centre.
Early in this boxing day contest it looked as though the Storm had too much turkey dinner over the holiday break with the Riptide rolling to a 26-19 lead at the end of the first quarter.
However, the home side would begin to wake up in the second quarter and never really looked back. Al Stewart knocked down a long ball while Nick Okorie finished at the hoop with contact in the late stages of the half to close the gap and eventually give the Storm the lead. It was a 10-point gap at halftime, 53-43 for the Island Storm.
The storm that had been intensifying throughout the second quarter had hit in full force as the third quarter played out. Joe Salerno’s squad took advantage of the Riptide’s defensive lapses and in doing so took full control of the game extending their advantage to 13 points by the end of the frame.
Saint John found themselves trailing 81-68 going into the final 12 minutes of play and Coach Spon was hoping for a late comeback from his group. Guards Darin Mency and Anthony Anderson began to find their stride in the final quarter finishing with 15 and 20 points respectively as the Riptide would cut their deficit to as little as seven points in the late moments of this game. Despite their efforts, the Riptide would drop the first game of the season 103-95 to the Island Storm.
For full stats from the game, click here.
The Riptide are back in action tomorrow against this same Island Storm squad for our home opener. It’s a 7PM tip-off at Harbour Station. For tickets, click here.