Liverpool Basketball 69 – 103 Hemel Storm
Hemel Storm tipped off the new National League Division 1 basketball season with an away trip to promoted Liverpool on Saturday. Liverpool had a 29 win 1 loss record last season as they won Division 2 and the play offs and have returned the same team.
Storm travelled without Greg Poleon and Mike Williams, the two new American imports who have been delayed by visa issues but will be here for Saturday’s home game. A potential tricky tie for Storm with one well known basketball blogger predicting a 6 point win for Liverpool. He couldn’t have been more wrong. A superb team performance, with balanced scoring and balanced minutes, led by a superb triple double from Sam Newman (12 points, 14 rebounds, 11 assists) drove Storm to a resounding 103-69 victory.
The first quarter was as expected, close, with each team sounding each other out. Storm led by 6 at 27-21 but came out with great intensity to take the second quarter 29-17 and an 18 point half time lead. This was built on great defensive intensity. Storm used their height and had great rim protection, blocking an amazing 5 shots. Big guys Lee Hodges and Ollie Dykes were proving unguardable, shooting impressive 75% and 66% respectively. Guard Will Ashby continued his 3 point shooting form hitting 42% of his shots and he was joined by a back to form Jack Burnell who hit 18 points on an amazing 6-10 60% success rate from beyond the arc.
The third quarter was much closer, 24-23 but Storms dominance came through in the last 10 minutes with a 23-8 performance and a 34 point win. All players played more than 15 minutes and 6 players hit double figures in points. Hodges and Dykes took a combined 20 rebounds that helped spring the Storm offence.
Coach Dru Spinks was a satisfied man: “A very good all round team performance with contributions from everyone. We know there will be tougher tests ahead but we will be ready for them. We couldn’t have asked for a better start”.
Lee Hodges 19 points and 11 rebounds
Jack Burnell 18 points
Bode Adeluola 14 points
Will Ashby 13 points
Sam Newman 12 points , 14 rebounds, 11 assists
Walid Mumuni 11 points
Ollie Dykes 8 points and 9 rebounds
Jake Murphy 8 points and 7 rebounds
Storm start their home league season on Saturday, 7pm tip off against Nottingham Hoods. Tickets are available at www.stormbasketball.net