Saturday 4th November
Hemel Storm 102-63 Barking Abbey
NBL Division One
Sunday 5th November
Bradford Dragons 80-70 Hemel Storm
KitKing Trophy Semi Final
Hemel Storm suited up twice at the weekend, facing Barking Abbey on Saturday and Bradford Dragons to conclude it. It was a mixed performance as Storm picked up a convincing 102-63 win at home to Barking Abbey and an 80-70 loss on the road at Bradford.
The opener of the weekend was certainly one which entertained the Storm faithful, scoring over 25 points in each of the first three quarters. Resilience and hustle on defence rewarded Storm with many points off the fast break, and the perfect execution of plays. Energy and accuracy of their shooting were the two main factors which contributed to such a convincing win for a Storm side looking to bounce back from last week’s defeat away to Derby.
The scoring was spread out with 5 players registering over 10 points, and game time handed to everybody on the roster. This gave the opportunity for players to make a statement to the home fans, showing teamwork to find players in open positions, and capitalise off Barking Abbey’s mistakes. Another contributing factor was limiting the away side to just 11 points in the third quarter, to which Storm replied with 32 of their own. Overall, it was a pleasing performance and momentum to carry into the game on Sunday.
The second game of the weekend saw Storm make the long journey up to Halifax to face the Bradford Dragons. Looking for a repeat of the performance which saw Storm score 29 three pointers in the previous encounter, it was the Dragons who were ultimately the better team on the day. The home side looked more determined to win, fought for every possession, which therefore gave them a deserved victory.
It was a performance to forget for Storm, who although fought back on occasions, could not seem to claw the lead into their favour. The decision-making definitely helped the Dragons who remained calm throughout the game, with Storm at times panicking, which resulted in avoidable turnovers. Failure to limit Justin Williams was another key reason as to why Storm lost, as he scored 33 points. Unfortunately, Bradford were the better team on the day and therefore deserved the victory.
Overall, Saturday’s victory was overshadowed by a poor performance on Sunday, which means that the defence of the KitKing Trophy has ended. However, this will give Storm the chance to focus on the league and National Cup, which they hope to be competitive in. A reaction will be needed ahead of next weekend’s National Cup fixture at home to Teesside Lions.
Top Scorers vs Barking Abbey: Hakeem Sylla: 21 pts, Jack Burnell: 14 pts, Seth Swalve, Bernard Hehetro: 13 pts
Top Scorers vs Bradford Dragons: Sam Newman: 18 pts, Seth Swalve, Hakeem Sylla: 15 pts, Matt Disu: 7 pts
Storm now turn their attention to the National Cup with a home game against Teesside Lions on Sunday, 5.30pm tip off. Tickets are available online at www.stormbasketball.net.
Written by Ollie Heathcote