Sunday 12th November
Hemel Storm 103 – 56 Teesside Lions
National Cup 4th Round
Hemel Storm overcame Division 2 challengers Teesside Lions on Sunday night to prolong their defence of the National Cup and move into the 5th round of the competition. Despite a strong start, the Lions slowly faded away throughout the night as Storm became comfortable and began to put on a show in front of the expectant Storm crowd.
The Northern visitors showed no signs of jaded legs after the long trip from Teesside, racing out the blocks and exposing insecurities in the Storm defence, who continuously failed to guard the perimeter effectively and gave up offensive rebounds to allow frustrating second chance points. The Lions hit 6 first quarter triples showing their intent to cause a cup upset, and Storm were grateful for Brayden Inger’s 12 early points to limit the deficit to 8 at the first break: 23-31 to the guests.
Storm slowly grew into the tie with help from Matt Disu and Hakeem Sylla, both used as impact subs tonight by coach Clark, and by 4 minutes into the second period the deficit had been removed. Back-to-back Tez Allen and Brayden Inger threes, followed by 5 late points from Jack Burnell eased Storm to a 10 point half-time lead, with a much improved display in the second 10 minute spell.
Mark Clark demanded more from his side, and after a long half time talk seeing his side late out for the 3rd quarter, they eventually put together an inspired display to start the new period. Burnell again hit from long range to contribute to his total of 12 for the match and despite the Lions’ best efforts Storm’s superior quality began to show, with the lead extended to 23 after a lay-up from Greg Durand. Teesside continued to battle with Storm’s lead held at 19 heading into the last period.
Avoiding any disasters, the Division 1 side knew they should be able to coast to victory and it was time for the players to impress their coach and add some fire to the fans’ Sunday evenings. Sam Newman hit 5 early points before the chaos began to unfold, with Hakeem Sylla slamming home to add to his impressive tally of 22 points, combined with 11 rebounds to give him another double-double to put on his personal record. Then explosive guard Matt Disu provided the fireworks on Diwali night, with back-to-back dunks including an astonishing climb and finish to set the crowd alight. However, for Storm the offensive flames were stoked by a superb defensive display where they afforded their guests a staggering 0 final quarter points to win the last period 28-0, and the final 3 quarters were taken by Storm by a total of 55 points; 80-25.
MandM Glass player of the game Brayden Inger had 26 to go along with his 9 rebounds and fellow big man Hakeem Sylla grabbed himself a 22 point double-double. Sam Newman had 11 points and a stunning 11 assists, with Jack Burnell hitting 12.
This win sees Storm travel to Worthing Thunder for the 5th round tie on Sunday 26th November, 5pm tip off.
There were positive signs for Storm to take away from this Cup tie, with their offence and defence finally igniting together in the closing stages, and they will look to transfer this to a match-winning performance when they return to Bradford for the second time in three weeks next Saturday in league action.
Storm don’t return to the StormDome for 3 weeks, but are sure to appreciate your support as they hit the road to Bradford and face a local double header the weekend after, at Thames Valley and Worthing Thunder. Information for upcoming games can be found on our website: www.stormbasketball.net.
Written by Callum Humphrey
Photos by TGD Visuals