Storm blow away Thunder on the road!

04/02/2024

Saturday 3rd February
Worthing Thunder 77 - 97 Hemel Storm
NBL Division One

Another strong Hemel Storm performance made it six straight wins as a well-rounded team display was too much for an underwhelming Worthing side to handle. Taylor Johnson’s return was the pre-game talk of the town, and he slotted back into place comfortably for the side he departed just half-a-year ago. A fast start with dominating defense stifled the hosts and took the game away, meaning a late Worthing charge acted as mere consolation with Storm allowing themselves to relax knowing full well the result was secure. 

Encouragingly for Storm and coach Clark on a night where the roster was limited to eight through injuries to Jack Burnell and Brayden Inger, the whole squad stepped up to ensure their absence wasn’t felt; Veron Eze top scoring with 20 and Kavell Hawes impressing with the opportunity at an extended period on the floor. 

Johnson took just six seconds to make his presence felt, securing the first points of the game with a well-rehearsed lay-in straight from tip. He hit eight of Storm’s first 12 as Thunder struggled to settle and adapt to stem the flow of Storm’s offense, with fellow new recruit Darien Nelson-Henry also starting fast, using his height and smarts to cause some issues, and Eze finished the quarter with a blast to secure a ten-point first quarter deficit. 

Storm used some strong defense as a catalyst for their offense and truly the hosts never had  a grip on the game, with the visitors pulling all the strings on Worthing’s home court. Hemel dominated the inside battle at both ends and the Thunder had to rely on their outside game to keep them in the tie; Storm gradually pulling away to lead 58-35 at the break. 

Storm rather coasted through the third period after an early Mark Clark timeout to realign his troops and continued to edge away taking the quarter by eight and extending the lead to 31. As the fourth quarter arrived, it was about game management and experimentation for a Storm side who were confident of another convincing win, but they will be frustrated at some sloppy play and a missed opportunity at a statement result. The final score saw them 20-point victors at 77-97 but they knew it should have been many more, which would have truly informed the league at the potential of the new-look side. 

Next up it’s a trip to bottom side Barking Abbey, with Storm keen on another big win to push on and continue their climb up the table. Clark and his side will be focused on getting the job done and keeping the growing pressure on the pace-setters, as Storm begin to breathe ever heavier on their necks. They will return to the StormDome to host Bradford on the 24th February; tickets available on the website; www.stormbasketball.net.

Written by Callum Humphrey
Photo by TGD Visuals

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