Saturday 28th October
Derby Trailblazers 104 – 96 Hemel Storm
NBL Division One
Hemel Storm succumbed to their second league defeat of the season, after a Jonas Dieterich inspired Derby annihilated them from behind the arc. Storm constantly struggled to cope with the blazers high-intensity transition plays and clinical shooting, and failed to take command of the game, always chasing Derby to recover the deficit.
Storm started the game well, racing out to a 9-2 lead with a three from Jack Burnell, but the warning signs were immediate with Dietrich hitting back-to-back threes as Derby hit 13 unanswered points to move 6 ahead, before Inger responded with a triple of his own. The visitors never recovered the lead and were left hoping for a route back into the game, which the home side never offered. Storm battled hard but their offence began to come dry and they ended the first down by 8 with another late Dieterich three, who ended up with 37 on the night, shooting 85% from long range.
Tez Allen started the second period with a converted and-one play, but Storm frustratingly failed to spot the hot-hand and afforded guards Dietrich and Masten several open looks from distance; opportunities they weren’t in the mood to miss out on. Disu again added energy and valuable points from the bench, but it failed to halt the Blazers as they stretched the lead to double digits and moved ever further out of Storm’s desperate grasp. Brayden Inger and Hakeem Sylla worked hard inside to add a combined total of 38 with 18 rebounds to keep Storm hopes intact but they headed to the half time break 11 behind.
Storm needed a fast start, but old wounds were reopened as a hattrick of threes from Dieterich and Masten killed Storm’s energy and took the lead back to 15. Ever-present Malcolm Smith again proved a thorn in Hemel’s side with 15 of his own but it was Derby’s 17 three-pointers that took the game away. Storm showed fight to reduce the deficit to around 11 but could never fully break the game open and get it back to single digits with a sustained run as defensive mis-haps hampered their comeback. 7 straight points to close the quarter took the Derby lead to 21 with just one period to play; Storm hoping upon an epic closing spell.
The sides traded early baskets, before back-to-back Disu and Burnell threes looked to spark Storm into life. Coach Matt Shaw quickly re-introduced star man Dieterich who again hit from long range after a timeout, and truly Storm never looked in it, with their efforts in vain as the game sat at a comfortable 18 point lead with only 3 minutes 17 on the clock. Swalve hit consecutive threes at the end to lower the losing margin and Storm came away with a sorry 8-point loss.
For Storm, Inger had 20, Sylla 18 and guards Newman and Swalve chipped in with 15 and 16 respectively. Jonas Dieterich and Sam Masten were superb for Derby with 38 and 31 each, while Malcolm Smith had 15 but Storm will be disappointed they weren’t able to mitigate these threats, as no one else made double figures for the home side.
Storm are in double-header action next week with a home game against Barking Abbey on Saturday and then they travel to Bradford for KitKing trophy semi-final action on Sunday. Tickets for Saturday’s 7pm tip off are available online at www.stormbasketball.net.
Written by Callum Humphrey
Photo by TGD Visuals