Saturday 21st October
Hemel Storm 93 – 71 Worthing Thunder
NBL Division One
Saturday’s match saw the repeat of last season’s Division One playoff final as Hemel Storm hosted Worthing Thunder. It was an important game for Storm, who had the chance to get their first home victory in this season’s Division One campaign. It proved to be one-way traffic for Storm, dominating the scoring throughout and winning 93-71.
Looking to build upon last week’s victory over Newcastle, Storm started fast, showcasing their accurate shooting and making it tough for Thunder to take easy shots. It took 3:16 for Coach Zaire Taylor to call his first timeout, with the away side struggling to withstand the early pressure. Despite this, Storm showed no sign of stopping as they continued to show moments of selfless play, working the ball into good shooting positions. This looked to be an ominous sign of things to come as the end of the quarter came, with Storm winning 25-13.
The second quarter started as a more scrappy affair, with turnovers forced by both teams, who started slow. This tempo suited Thunder more than Storm as they managed to secure points off turnovers in hope of a comeback. However, Storm continued to play the way they started in the final 5 minutes of the quarter, shooting the ball reasonably well from the perimeter and using their aerial and physical presence to dominate underneath the basket. This spell of pressure meant that Storm went into half time leading 50-30.
The third quarter was definitely in favour of the Thunder, with complacency slightly showing from the Storm roster. The visitors showed no sign of giving up as they started to bring the lead to within a maximum of 12 points towards the end of the quarter. They seemed to show more desire in claiming offensive rebounds, as Storm started to give away avoidable baskets. They did manage to answer with some important three pointers; however, if they played with their maximum intensity and desire, the lead could have been higher. The lead was at 17 by the end of the quarter, as the scoreboard read 69-52 in favour of Storm.
Trying to claw back a 17 point deficit seemed to be an almost impossible task for the 7 player roster of Worthing, as there were signs that they had given up as time progressed. As for the home side, they recovered from the below par third quarter and started to show more intensity, continuing to perform until the final buzzer. Moving the ball quicker, fast defensive movements and good decision making were the key aspects for the last quarter. As the seconds ticked by, the final buzzer eventually sounded, with Storm winning 93-71.
It was a good performance in parts of the game from Storm’s perspective with areas to work on for the next game. However, the team continue to gel throughout the opening stages of the season, with some notable improvements which will be worked upon before the upcoming fixtures. Storm were able to make good decisions especially at the start and end of the game, and shoot accurately, which ultimately gave them a convincing victory. Overall, a pleasing result ahead of a momentous game next week away to Derby Trailblazers.
Top Scorers: Hakeem Sylla: 20 pts, Sam Newman: 19 pts, Seth Swalve, Brayden Inger: 13 pts
Check out more game photos here.
Storm are back at home on Saturday 4th November against Barking Abbey. Tip-off is at 7pm. Tickets available online at www.stormbasketball.net
Written by Ollie Heathcote
Photos by TGD Visuals