Storm show tremendous character in comeback win over Reading Rockets


Saturday 5th February: Hemel Storm 82-78 Reading Rockets (NBL Division One)

Saturday’s game saw Vanarama-sponsored Hemel Storm face Reading Rockets in a highly anticipated game. Storm had come into this game off the back of two straight defeats against Derby Trailblazers and Thames Valley Cavaliers, meaning that it was vital for Storm to win this game. They did so but left it late into the last quarter before they came back, winning the game 82-78.

In term of scoring Taylor Johnson led the way with 25 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists, followed by Greg Poleon scoring 16 points and 9 rebounds.

The first quarter started as a low scoring affair, taking 1:52 for Tayo Oyefusi to score the first points of the game. This was swiftly responded to by Rockets guard Jaz Bains with a step back three pointer. He was Reading’s stand out performer along with Center Meshack Lufile, scoring 49 of their 78 points overall. This quarter was where both teams were getting to learn each other’s strengths and how to use their weaknesses to gain advantage. The score at the end of the first quarter was 20-14 to Storm.

What looked like a good start for Storm was quickly wiped off as mistakes saw them give up three easy baskets to tie the game within 1:22. Coach Dru Spinks had seen enough after just 2:07 of the quarter calling a timeout following a Jaz Bains 3 pointer, turning the lead into Reading’s favour by a point. Reading went on to have their best points score in the second quarter of the game scoring 32 and giving up just 19, leaving them with a 39-46 lead going into the half time break.

Storm came out of the locker room at half time trying to find a way back into the game, but Reading were strong in their defence and limited Storm to hard shots and managed to use the power of Canadian Lufile to score past the helpless Storm defence. Storm pushed and did manage to gain momentum but whenever Storm scored, Reading would always seem to match that and re-establish the lead that they had worked hard for. The lead was still in Reading’s favour going into the last quarter with the score at 60-69. 

Whatever Storm had talked about had worked in this last quarter and with a combination of amazing defence and offence helped Storm get back into the game relatively quickly. The Storm faithful increased in atmosphere as they spurred on Storm until the last play, and with 1:50 remaining, a Sam Newman 3 pointer turned the score into a 1 point Storm lead, sending the fans into a frenzy. After being quickly replied to by a Jaz Bains 3 pointer, Sam Newman was fouled on his 3 point attempt sending him to the line for three free throws. Making 2 of his 3, and Greg and Taylor scoring their shots before the buzzer meant that Storm had secured a much-needed win 82-78.

The ‘never give up attitude’ showed throughout the Storm squad and the resilience of the team helped them over the line in the end. A massive credit should be given to both sets of supporters who generated an electric match night atmosphere.

Storm now go into two away games at Leicester Warriors on 12th February and Worthing Thunder on 19th February before being at home in a double header weekend against Nottingham Hoods on the 26th February and Bradford Dragons on the 27th February to conclude a busy month for the Storm programme. Tickets for the next home games are available to order in advance at

Photos by Joanne Charles

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