Saturday 1st April, NBL Division One: Hemel Storm Team 88-80 Solent Kestrels
Sunday 2nd April, NBL Division One: Hemel Storm 126-73 Worthing Thunder
Last weekend saw Vanarama-sponsored Hemel Storm play their last two games of the regular season against Solent Kestrels and Worthing Thunder. It was their chance to finish the regular season undefeated but two tough tests stood in the way.
Saturday’s game against Solent Kestrels was a frustrating game for the first three quarters, with Solent dominating the proceedings, and taking a deserved 59-66 lead going into the final quarter. This was until Storm found their shooting touch and mounted a comeback. The crowd was on its feet, after a Seth Swalve three pointer put Storm in the lead by 5 with a minute and a half left to play. Storm used the height and strength of Hakeem Sylla to register 5 blocks, pushing Storm over the line. It was a hard-fought game as Storm came away with the victory, winning 88-80.
Sunday’s game against Worthing Thunder was sure to be a close game, with the second seed looking to spoil the unbeaten status. However, Storm were quick off the mark and shot exceptionally well. Worthing had no response and relied mostly on the skilful guard Moya to help make a comeback. It was a fantastic start to the game with Storm already at a 20 point lead after the first quarter. Despite Worthing’s attempt to get back into the game, Storm showed no signs of stopping as they continued to score with some outstanding plays, including a career best for Sam Newman of 10 successful shots from 3 point range. It was a high scoring game as Storm took the victory winning 126-73 in front of a sell-out crowd.
It was a fantastic weekend of basketball, with two different types of games each day. Storm were able to produce in front of their loyal supporters to win. This has been the case for the whole season, where the team has shown their strength and dominated the league.
The supporters were given the treat of seeing their team presented with their league winners medals and trophy. A night that the capacity crowd will not forget.
Storm will now face Team Solent Kestrels in the Playoff Quarter Final on Saturday 8th April at Hemel Hempstead Leisure Centre, 7pm tip. Tickets for this game are available online at www.stormbasketball.net
Top Scorers vs Kestrels: Taylor Johnson: 32 points, Aaryn Rai: 22 points, Hakeem Sylla: 16 points
Top Scorers vs Thunder: Sam Newman: 32 points, Aaryn Rai: 30 points, Taylor Johnson: 19 points
Report by Ollie Heathcote
Photo by Joanne Charles