Johnson returns as Storm travel down south to face Worthing

02/02/2024

Hemel Storm face Worthing Thunder away from home on Saturday, looking to continue their excellent run of form recently. Having faced each other on many occasions, including a competitive title and playoff race last season, it is the team from Hemel Hempstead who look to gain revenge after an extremely disappointing 69-65 defeat earlier this season, preventing any hope of retaining the National Cup. However, Storm line up with a new-look roster, adding former BBL talent to the roster, in hope of steering them towards a piece of silverware.

Standing in between Storm and another victory is Worthing Thunder, who will be full of confidence, after an impressive 73-90 win against London Elite. Inspired by former Storm player Hafeez Abdul, registering a gigantic 37 points, Storm will look to prevent any open three pointers with Abdul thriving off defences who are slow to contest. Abdul is joint 4th in points per game average registering 21.5, tied with sharpshooter Sam Masten from Derby Trailblazers, whilst also pulling down an average of 7.2 rebounds per game. Abdul looks to be the main player on Storm’s radar, who will look to bring energy and turn the game in front of the Worthing home crowd.

Thunder have improved their roster over the duration of the season so far, with the addition of guard Jake Eynon and a new face yet to be announced before the encounter. Thunder will look to utilise the power of Daniel Johnson-Thompson in the paint, who is able to create opportunities for himself and has so far pulled down an average of 8.6 rebounds per game. However, with the duo of Hakeem Sylla and former Leicester Rider Darien Nelson-Henry, the away side will look to protect their paint, and capitalise off fast break opportunities.

For the visitors, Storm will look to bring a high intensity, energetic display as they will have a strong roster suited up to tame the Thunder. After Wednesday’s announcement on the return of Taylor Johnson, he will look to make an instant statement to the league, as he uses his BBL experience and creativity to instantly turn the game in Storm’s favour. He averaged 17 points and 1.6 steals per game during his spell at the Plymouth City Patriots, as he always looked to take control of matchups. After the emotional departure of Seth Swalve, who is off on a new adventure in Australia, Johnson will be an important addition to this hungry Storm side.

Overall, it looks sure to be an entertaining affair between the two rivals, who have endured many years of close competition between each other. It is the clash between 3rd and 9th in the league table; the Stormdome and the Thunderdome; the two teams who fought incredibly hard against each other last season; the teams that have broken each other’s hearts over many years of fierce competition; Storm vs Thunder.

Written by Ollie Heathcote.
Photos by TGD Visuals

 

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