Storm secure comfortable victory over Barking Abbey

12/02/2024

Saturday 10th February
Barking Abbey 71-93 Hemel Storm
NBL Division One

Hemel Storm continued their fantastic run of form with a convincing 71-93 victory over a struggling Barking Abbey side, who sit at the foot of the table.

From the tip off, momentum was only with Storm, who used their quality and experience against a youthful Barking Abbey team. A victory was imperative for the visitors, continuing their persuit of top of the table. Despite registering under 100 points, the matchup gave opportunities to the entire of the fielded roster, who refused to disappoint the travelling support.

Storm, led by assistant coach Michael Darlow immediately started the better of the two teams in the first quarter, mustering a 3-10 scoring run in the first 3 minutes 20 seconds, forcing Coach Vear into an early timeout. The majority of plays were executed to perfection, working the ball into the paint and taking high percentage shots. Alongside the fantastic work on offence saw an excellent defensive effort, dominating on rebounds and forcing turnovers with their high pressure and good timing. The teamwork was clearly evident, as Storm continued to mount heavy amounts of pressure to ensure that the game was out of sight as early as possible. Storm were comfortably ahead, winning 15-28 at the end of the first period.

The second quarter saw Storm once again in the ascendancy, dominating with the physicality of Hakeem Sylla, combined with the highly athletic duo of Matt Disu and former Barking Abbey player Veron Eze, who was keen to make a statement to his former team. January signings Taylor Johnson and Darien Nelson-Henry also chipped away at the scoreboard, using their previous BBL experience and intelligence, to secure possessions for the away side and score when in possession. Both teams went into half time with Storm winning 28-48. Whilst it was an encouraging start, Storm needed to remain focused and remain professional as they looked to prevent any hope of a comeback.

The first minutes of the third quarter was underwhelming from a Storm perspective, with the away side looking too comfortable with the lead which they had worked hard for. This led to multiple turnovers and an eventual timeout, which was needed to keep the players focused. From this point, both teams started to trade baskets, with Barking starting to convert their opportunities following some commendable play. However, Storm continued to pressurise the home side, as a three pointer from Kavell Hawes put Storm in the lead by 23. Both teams went into the final quarter with Storm winning 46-69. Despite the large points gap, Storm needed to remain focused and continue to play as they did in the first quarter.

The fourth quarter saw a highly competitive period of play, with Barking using their endurance and energy to continue to compete with Storm until the final buzzer. Whilst there was a hint of relaxation, Storm did remain focused on cancelling out the 25 points that the home side scored with 24 of their own. Despite not winning the final quarter, it was a comfortable victory as Storm ended the game, winning 71-93.

It was a good performance for Storm, who looked confident throughout, and deservedly came away with the victory. They dominated the vast majority of statistics, most notably claiming 12 more rebounds than their opposition. It was pleasing to see all the available players contributing to the game, with some fantastic teamwork shown throughout. Overall, a well-deserved victory, going into an intense run-in for the league title.

Storm will not be in action next weekend, but return to the StormDome on Saturday 24th February against a tough Bradford Dragons team. Storm need your support, and you can buy your tickets using the link www.stormbasketball.net.

Top Scorers: Hakeem Sylla: 24 pts, Taylor Johnson: 17 pts, Veron Eze: 16 pts

Written by Ollie Heathcote
Photo by TGD Visuals

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