SAINT JOHN – A tip-in by Bryce Washington as time expired secured a win and a playoff spot for the Saint John Riptide Thursday.
Trailing 83-82, Washington’s put back off a T.J. Maston shot gave the ‘Tide an 84-83 victory over the Storm in National Basketball League of Canada action at Harbour Station.
The win eliminated the Storm from playoff contention and solidified fourth place for the Tide, who improved to 17-21.
“I saw T.J. had a good look. It hit the back of the rim and I was able to get in good position for the tip,” Washington said after the game.
Washington led the way for Saint John with 24 points and 21 rebounds, the first 20-20 performance of his life.
“I guess I picked a good time to do it,” he joked post-game. “We got the win and we’re going to the playoffs.”
As the clock expired coach Nelson Terroba celebrated with an uncharacteristic fist pump near half court.
“That’s about six months of efforts, love, care and fight for these guys. They’re awesome,” Terroba said. “Marv (Marvin Binney) was huge and Bryce came up big. What a special night.”
Maston added 19 points and 11 rebounds in the win while Binney poured in 19, including five three-pointers.
“I’m always staying ready and preparing myself for these moments,” Binney said following the game, “and the shots are just dropping. They’re the same shots I was able to get at the beginning of the year, just now I’m making them.”
Frank Bartley added 10 points for the ‘Tide, winners of three straight.
Alex Campbell scored 19 for the Storm, which fell to 10-25.
The Storm started the third stanza on an 8-0 run and cut a 12-point deficit to 65-62 heading into the final quarter.
The ‘Tide went into the halftime break with a 46-34 lead. Saint John led 24-18 after the first quarter, courtesy of two late three-pointers from Binney.
The Riptide finish the regular season with a pair of road games within the Atlantic Division – March 28 in Cape Breton against the Highlanders and March 31 in Charlottetown versus the Storm.