Hemel Storm 102 v 105 Worthing Thunder (National League Division One)
Hemel Storm just came up short in another exciting end-to-end shoot-out at Hemel Leisure Centre on Saturday when they lost 102 – 105 against old rivals Worthing Thunder in a National League Division One clash.
Hemel had a chance to send the game into overtime when with one second left Jack Burnell launched a three-point shot from deep but his effort hit the rim and bounced out.
It was another offensive showcase with Hemel – still without the injured Tom Adorian and Mike Darlow - shooting at an impressive success rate of 52 percent and the visitors at 48 percent. But Worthing’s accuracy from the free-throw line where they scored 14 points to Storm’s six was enough to give them the edge.
The game was a rematch of the exciting NBL Division One Playoff Championship Final from last season’s campaign which Worthing won by ten points and Saturday’s match-up saw Vanarama-sponsored Storm claw back from deficits throughout the game including a late run from 76 – 90 down to get within four points (97 – 101) on a Bode Adeluola lay-up.
A high tempo start to the game saw the lead see-saw before Worthing edged in front 28-31 at the end of the first quarter with the visitors’ former BBL MVP Zaire Taylor controlling his team’s offence. But as the sides swapped baskets in the second period Hemel’s Will Ashby gave Storm a spark off the bench and helped his team complete their come-back. A Jack Burnell three-pointer swished through the basket and gave Hemel a 55 – 54 half-time lead.
The visitors came out of the dressing room with a renewed focus on the defensive end and limited Storm to just 14 points in the quarter grabbing a double digit lead (80 – 69) heading into the final ten minutes.
But Hemel refused to let the game get away from them and in a thrilling climax fought back winning the final stanza 34 – 25 but just falling short on the last possession.
An impressive offensive display from both sides kept the scorer’s table busy. For the second game in a row Blayne Freckleton was Storm’s leading scorer knocking down three triples on his way to 20 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Both Leome Francis and Levi Noel flirted with double-double numbers, as Francis contributed 19 points and seven rebounds, while Noel had 17 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Adeluola was another who kept the scoreboard ticking over, adding 18 points, three assists and two steals.
Storm’s Head Coach Robert Youngblood said: “We’re continuing to shoot extremely well and I was pleased with our bench scoring tonight, but we can’t give up 100-plus points each game and especially against the better teams in Division One.”
Storm team and scorers: Freckleton 20, Francis 19, Adeluola 18, Noel 17, Burnell 9, Ashby 9, Henry 5, Hayes 3, Berry 2, Martin, Dunscombe, Ladlow.
Storm are at home again next SUNDAY (14th October) when they play Ipswich in the third round of the National Cup, tip-off 5pm, and the previous night are away to Thames Valley Cavaliers in a Division One match-up. Tickets and information: www.stormbasketball.net
Top right: Blayne Freckleton – top scorer again.
Above: Bode Adeluola – led late come back.
(Photos: Lin Titmuss)
STORM II INJURY BLOW
Hemel Storm II 61 v 76 Richmond Knights (National League Division Four)
Hemel Storm second team’s first league game ended in a fifteen point loss to Richmond Knights at JFK school on Sunday.
It was a tough introduction to League competition for Hemel against a strong Richmond side who already achieved some impressive results in this season’s cup competitions.
A bright opening by the home team at the offensive end was overshadowed by sluggish defence allowing their opponents 25 first quarter points. Storm’s hopes of recovery were dealt a blow late in the second quarter when influential point guard, Nick Allin, was sent crashing to the floor on a strong drive to the rim. The back injury he sustained forced his withdrawal from the game.
The half ended with Hemel trailing by 21 points and things would get worse as Richmond extended their lead to 27 points midway through the second half.
It was Storm’s forward, Dominic Charles, who once again led a defensive effort that gave his team the edge in the last quarter of the game. His tenacious on-ball defence stemmed the Knights’ tide and created fast break points.
Head Coach David Allin said: “If we’re to compete with the better teams in this league the defensive intensity we showed in the last quarter needs to be there for the whole game."
Team and scorers: Daryl Craine 17, Shaun Allin 14, Nick Allin 8, Ben Pearce 8, Dominic Charles 8, Craig Percival 6, Mike Coumas, Matt Renshaw.
Storm II’s next home game is against Essex Blades in the National Shield at JFK School on Sunday October 21st., 5pm tip-off.