The Halifax Rainmen’s championship hopes are fading as they say goodbye to the Metro Centre for a full month.
The Rainmen, who don’t have a home game until March 22, dropped a crucial contest against the Vermont Frost Heaves on Friday, 100-98. It was a devastating blow to their bid for a Premier Basketball League wildcard spot.
The Rainmen (8-7) are all but out of the race to catch the Manchester Millrats (12-3) for first in the Atlantic Conference, and they trail Wilmington (9-4), Vermont (8-6), and Augusta (7-5) for a berth in the wildcard play-in game.
With five games to go, are the playoffs within reach?
“Absolutely, yeah,” said Rainmen head coach Les Berry. “We’re only half a game back. You’ve got to take care of your own backyard first — win the games you’re playing — and hope that one other team will let a game slip.”
Poor free-throw shooting did the Rainmen in on Friday. They recovered from a 15-point second-quarter deficit and tied Vermont nine times down the stretch, but missed 28 of 55 free throws and never managed to grab a lead.
John Williams won it with a jumper with 29 seconds left.
Halifax plays three times on the road before returning home. They visit the Montreal Sasquatch on Friday. Berry said the time away from home will be a good test.
“In order to win a championship you have to win on the road, so this will be a good chance for that,” he said.