Saturday 18th November
Bradford Dragons 75 – 90 Hemel Storm
NBL Division One
Hemel Storm succeeded with their revenge against the Bradford Dragons, winning 81-93 at the Inspire Leisure Centre.
Controlling the game for the majority of proceedings, Storm were able to rise up to pressure from the 9 man roster of the hosts, putting together scoring runs in important moments to gain victory.
It was a quick start to the game for the away side, showing no signs of tiredness from the lengthy journey up north. Storm were able to score from their chances, using the physical dominance of Sylla inside the paint, matched with the shooting package of Inger, Burnell and Swalve from the perimeter. The scout was executed to perfection, preventing sharp shooting guard Williams from handling the ball, having scored 33 points in the previous encounter two weeks ago. The end of the quarter approached with Storm running out into a comfortable 10-25 lead.
The Dragons started the quarter needing to cut the deficit as quick as possible. However, Storm were showing no sign of stopping, constantly replying with easy points and capitalising off turnovers. It was unclear to see who had the momentum in the second quarter, as both teams were showing signs of good shooting and beginning to fatigue on defence. The quarter saw the two teams score 22 a piece, meaning Storm went into the half time break, with a 32-47 lead.
Both teams came into the second half with different mentalities. Storm wanted to continue their fantastic defence from the first quarter, extending the points margin at the other end of the court. However, the Dragons’ mentality was shown in the third quarter, playing the game with nothing to lose and cutting the deficit. The home side found their reward as a result of an impressive third quarter shooting display, livening up the home supporters in the Inspire Leisure Centre. What was important for Storm was that they did not panic when in possession, executing the plays called by Coach Clark. The away side went into the final quarter with a 58-63 lead; the final quarter shaping up to have an exciting ending.
Momentum shifted in Storm’s favour at the start of the final period, with tiredness beginning to show from the valiant Bradford Dragons. Their hard work to get the score to within 5 points was diminished after a Burnell 3 pointer forced Coach Mellor into a timeout, with Storm winning by 11 points. The Dragons lacked a response to this, with Storm looking stronger towards the final buzzer. Their efforts in the first half of the final period, meant that Storm were able to take their foot off the pedal, conceding some avoidable turnovers as a result of the points margin. Despite the drop in standards in the final part of the quarter, Storm held out for the 81-93 victory, much to the delight of the travelling supporters.
It was a pleasing performance from the team, showing a clear reaction from the defeat two weeks ago at the same venue. The mentality looked to have changed, with the roster looking to have gelled together over the past games. The defence was much improved, particularly in the first quarter, only conceding 10 points. There will still be work behind the scenes on responding when under pressure, with some turnovers coming from the scoreline being close. Overall, a good victory against a good team, ahead of the double header weekend next week.
Top Scorers: Hakeem Sylla, Seth Swalve: 24 pts, Jack Burnell: 14 pts, Brayden Inger: 10 pts
Storm face a local double header this weekend at Thames Valley and Worthing Thunder before returning home for a huge league clash on Saturday 2nd December, 7pm tip off. Information and ticket sales for upcoming games can be found on our website: www.stormbasketball.net.
Written by Ollie Heathcote
Photos by TGD Visuals