Saturday 11th February, NBL Division One: Manchester Magic 60-116 Hemel Storm
Saturday’s game saw Vanarama-sponsored Hemel Storm face Manchester Magic in a match where both teams came into it sitting on opposite ends of the table. Although Manchester were not to be taken lightly, Storm produced a professional, impressive display to claim their 16th win of the season.
However the first quarter started closely as Storm were quick to start the scoring with a Taylor Johnson dunk. Magic replied with some three pointers of their own as fast passing around the perimeter gave an open shot, especially in the corner. The score was 10-10 before Storm started to showcase their best basketball, capitalising on turnovers to score on the fast break. It was a better second half of the quarter with Storm winning 19-29 at the end of it.
Three successive three pointers within 1 minute of the second quarter saw the Magic collapse forcing them into an early timeout. Momentum had swung completely in the way of the travelling Storm team as they were able to score a spectacular 39 points in this quarter. From layups, alley oops and three pointers, Storm took complete control of the game and were quick to stretch the lead to within an uncatchable distance. A successful offensive effort saw Storm deservedly go into half time with a comfortable 36-68 lead.
Storm’s third quarter was unusual in terms of the fact that they only scored 19 points. However due to the lead that they had built up, this was not a massive issue as the structured defence was able to limit the Magic to only 16 points. This margin gave Coach Spinks a chance to experiment with the team and give game time to all 11 players. The hustle, desire and determination was still evident as Storm led 52-87 going into the final quarter.
Storm were able to relax as they built up their lead but they showed they were keen to increase their points difference with brilliant passing and precise shooting. Defensively was much better as well, keeping the Magic to only 8 points. Overall, Storm were able to register every player on the scoresheet and come away with a convincing 60-116 win.
It was a fantastic display by Storm, who showed focus and outstanding team chemistry to overcome the Magic. This gives Storm a 16-0 record keeping them top of the league table going into an incredible important local rivalry away to Thames Valley Cavaliers on Saturday 18th February at 6.30pm.
Storm’s next home game is against Essex Rebels on Sunday 19th February at Hemel Hempstead Leisure Centre, 5pm tip. Tickets available online at www.stormbasketball.net
Top Scorers: Taylor Johnson: 28 points Aaryn Rai: 26 points, Seth Swalve: 13 points
Photo by Joanne Charles