Saturday 22nd January: Hemel Storm 104-85 Loughborough Student Riders (NBL Division One)
Saturday's game saw Vanarama-sponsored Hemel Storm win in a thrilling game against the Loughborough Riders 104-85. It was a brilliant team performance with many Storm players seeing double digits in points.
Standout performances for Storm saw American’s Taylor Johnson and Greg Poleon with a combined total of 45 points. Taylor nearly had a triple double as he was 2 assists short with 23 points, 13 rebounds and 8 assists.
The first quarter started in Loughborough's favour as they got off to a flying start, draining three pointers mainly from new-signing and former BBL player Evan Walshe, who went on to score 26 points over the course of the game. It was a frustrating quarter for Storm and at the end of the first quarter they were losing 16-29, something needed to change.
Storm’s performance started to improve to the delight of a sell out crowd in the StormDome. They went on a 7-0 run in the first two minutes of the second quarter clawing the game back. And with 5:33 left of the quarter, Greg Poleon turned the scoreboard in Storm’s favour. From that moment, the game was very tight, with Loughborough taking a 2 point lead into half time ahead 47-49. Also a highlight play was shown by Sam Newman on his birthday with an impressive alley-oop assisted by Bode Adeluola, who went on to register an impactful 22 points.
The third quarter was also very tight with no team leading by more than single digits. But once Storm found their feet from the field, it looked as if they were gaining momentum. This was until the Riders consistently replied with points of their own. The end of the quarter saw Storm’s Jack Burnell score a three pointer before Rider’s Greg Wild swiftly replied with a three of his own to take the score into the fourth quarter at 70-69.
The fourth quarter was by far the best quarter in terms of scoring from Storm, as they kept the Riders at bay for the majority of the quarter. With the game incredibly close and Loughborough taking a 4 point lead with 4:36 left to go, the crowd really got behind the team on every possession, offense and defence, to spur Storm on to a 23-0 run to end the game. This impressive display saw Storm run out as winners 104-85. A win that was vital for Storm’s season and a win that keeps them third in the league standings.
They now go into a tough double header next weekend, playing away to a strong Derby Trailblazers team on Saturday 29th January in the NBL Division One and away again against the Thames Valley Cavaliers on Sunday 30th January in the BBL trophy.
Storm are back at home on Saturday 5th February when Reading Rockets visit the StormDome. The game tips at 7pm and tickets to the game are available online at www.stormbasketball.net or can be purchased at the door on the night.
Photo credit: Leuis Charles