Hemel Storm 107 – 77 Leicester Warriors (National League Division One)
Hemel Storm 105 – 97 Barking Abbey Crusaders (National Cup, fourth round)
Hemel Storm’s ton-up scoring machine was at full throttle over the weekend taking them through to the National Cup quarter-finals and moving them up the National League Division One table to seventh place.
The winning weekend started at Hemel Leisure Centre on Saturday where Vanarama-sponsored Storm demolished Leicester Warriors 107 – 77 in a League clash producing an impressive display of free-flowing offence and pressure defence.
And on Sunday Hemel came through a much sterner test away to Barking Abbey Crusaders in the fourth round of the Cup holding their nerve against the feisty home side’s rally that saw them fight back from a third quarter 62 – 42 deficit.
Storm who are the current Cup holders advance to the last sixteen where they will play Worthing Thunder at home on Sunday 18th November
Storm were without their dynamic guard and captain Bode Adeluola for both games following a hand injury and still wait for the return of 6’ 6” forward Mike Darlow from long-term ligament damage.
On Saturday all eleven available Hemel players got on the score-sheet with seven producing nine points or more as the team dished out devastating first and fourth periods connecting on 14 three-pointers and throwing a stunning 29 assists.
A renewed focus at training on defence paid early dividends as Storm pressured the Warriors into ball-handling mistakes from the tip-off and led 32 – 17 at the first break. The teams traded baskets in the second and third periods but Hemel then unleashed a 34 point fourth stanza to the delight of their fans.
Although his team is averaging just over 100 points per game, Head Coach Robert Youngblood said: “We have to improve our individual and team defence if we’re to be successful this season and although there’s still a long way to go, tonight’s game was a start.
“We need a more balanced mind-set between offence and defence. We’re executing well with the ball and I was delighted with the 29 assists and also our rebounding but we have to be better defensively.”
Blayne Freckleton and Leon Henry paced Hemel with 18 points apiece as the former added five rebounds and seven assists. Jack Burnell came off the bench to chip in 15 points, five rebounds and three assists, while Will Ashby had 10 points, three assists and four steals. Tom Adorian, Levi Noel and Leome Francis each had nine points.
On Sunday, three triples from top-scorer Henry (27 points) and another long distance effort from Freckleton together with some determined rebounding by Noel and Adorian who snared eight boards each, calmed the visitors’ nerves and stunted Barking’s fourth quarter come-back.
In an intense battle Hemel had built a 55 – 42 half-time lead on the back of some excellent defence and drawing fouls on over-zealous defending by the home team.
Hemel were still ahead (85 – 75) after a competitive third period but some indifferent attacks and slack defence threatened to open the door to Barking before a final flourish avoided the upset.
Associate Head Coach Dave Titmuss commented: “We began to put pressure on ourselves in that last period with a lack of ball and player movement on offence. But it was a good test of our mental toughness and we obviously came through it well.”
Team and scorers v Leicester: Leon Henry 18, Blayne Freckleton 18, Jack Burnell 15, Will Ashby 10, Tom Adorian 9, Levi Noel 9, Leome Francis 9, Ian Berry 7, Jamie Hayes 5, Sam Dunscombe 5, Tom Martin 2.
Team and scorers v Barking: Leon Henry 27, Blayne Freckleton 23, Jamie Hayes 12, Leome Francis 10, Will Ashby 10, Levi Noel 10, Tom Adorian 9, Jack Burnell 3, Ian Berry 1, Sam Dunscombe, Tom Martin.
Storm’s next home game is on Saturday 10th November at Hemel Leisure Centre against Bradford Dragons in a National League Division One game, tip-off 7pm. For tickets go to the drop-down menu above.
Picture caption: Storm’s Leon Henry led the weekend’s individual scoring with 45 points
STORM II JOIN THE TON-UP CLUB!
Hemel Storm II 104 – 79 Westminster Dragons
(National League Division Four)
Hemel Storm’s second team got back to winning ways in National League Division 4 with a convincing 25 point victory over Westminster Dragons underpinned by some exceptional long range shooting from their guards.
Daryl Craine steered the home team to an early lead with three consecutive three pointers and added a fourth midway through the first quarter. But Westminster responded with four triples of their own and ended the period with a six point advantage at 27-21.
The second quarter was more of the same but this time it was Hemel’s Nick Allin who connected on five successful triples. Dominic Charles benefitted as the Dragons’ defence focussed on Hemel’s perimeter bombardment he was able to convert four inside baskets and Storm II took a 48-45 half time lead.
In a massive third quarter effort by the home team Westminster couldn’t cope with Storm’s pressing defence and five more three pointers, two each for Nick and Shaun Allin and one from Ben Pearce along with more fast break points from Craine gave Hemel an insurmountable 16 point lead going into the final quarter.
A delighted Coach David Allin said: “Although we shot the ball really well today we also recognise the hard work and rebounding that Mike Coumas and Craig Percival gave us. And he added: “We’re improving game by game; it’s really pleasing to see the things we’ve been working on in practice executed so well in a game.”
Storm II scorers: Nick Allin 27, Daryl Craine 24, Shaun Allin 19, Mike Coumas 14, Craig Percival 9, Dominic Charles 8, Ben Pearce 3
Storm II’s next home game is on Sunday 11th November at JFK School against London United II in a National League Division Four game, tip-off 5pm.