Storm kick off their KitKing campaign with a victory


Sunday 17th September
Hemel Storm 102 – 91 Essex Rebels
KitKing Trophy

It was the start of their defence of the KitKing Trophy as Hemel Storm faced a tough Essex Rebels side, who had recruited well over the summer. After an intense affair throughout, Storm managed to run away 102-91 winners, with a resilient team performance.

The game also gave debuts to head coach Mark Clark, and new players Tez Allen and Ade Atiba. The only player absent was Bernard Hehetro, however the team needed to stay relentless against the energetic Essex Rebels. This game also gave the opportunity for many players to showcase their talent in order to cement their place in the starting five.

As expected, the first quarter was incredibly close, with both teams within touching distance of each other - Storm beginning to take control which forced an early timeout. However, it was an impressive response from the Rebels, who swiftly managed to cut the deficit to a one possession game. In particular, it was Guard Luke Busumbru who used his pace and agility to drive in for layups, which lifted Essex into a small lead. Despite Storm’s attempts to get back into the game, it was the Rebels who were the happier of the two teams by the end of Quarter One, winning 24-27.

Storm showed no sign of allowing the Essex Rebels to control the game, depleting their unbeaten record to start the second quarter. It was Storm’s bigs who saw early action with Hakeem Sylla registering a block and many points, alongside New-Zealander Brayden Inger who tantalised the Storm faithful with his exceptional array of finishing. Although Storm were starting to apply more pressure, Essex refused to back down from the challenge, replying with baskets of their own. It was half time with Storm in the lead, winning 58-51.

The third quarter began with Storm starting to pull away again, using the intelligence of Seth Swalve and Sam Newman, who both had outstanding games and shot with high accuracy. Although Essex continued to try and come back, Storm started to pull away to their game high of a 20 point lead. Turnovers definitely contributed to the Rebels downfall, especially after a Veron Eze dunk in transition fired up the electric crowd. However, the lead was cut to 17 points after a three pointer from Essex sent the teams into the final quarter with the scoreboard reading 84-67 in Storm’s favour.

It was a vital final quarter for Storm who just needed to keep the Rebels at bay, in order to continue their unbeaten record. However, persistence from the visitors brought the deficit to within 10 points after 1:30 played. This was due to be an intense finish. Momentum was swinging both ways with Newman immediately replying and Storm defending well. Both teams had to stop each other from scoring which led to the relatively low numbers being scored for the last quarter as time continued to decrease, much to the satisfaction of Storm. Time eventually expired which meant that Storm took the victory, winning 102-91 at the expense of Essex Rebels.

It was a game of a lot of quality from both teams, who look to be competing for potential silverware this season. Although close and scrappy at times, it was a step in the right direction for Hemel Storm. This win gives them another platform to improve upon, as next weekend’s double header approaches at home to London Elite on Saturday 23rd September and away to local rivals Thames Valley Cavaliers on Sunday 24th September. Overall, a good display shown by Storm and a positive start for new head coach Mark Clark.

Relive the action through the photos of Joanne Charles here.

Vanarama Player of the Game: Seth Swalve - 29 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists
Top scorers: Seth Swalve 29, Sam Newman 23, Hakeem Sylla 21.

Tickets are available online for Saturday’s home game at

Written by Ollie Heathcote
Photos by Joanne Charles




Copyright Hemel Storm Basketball