Playoff Final place up for grabs as Storm host Bradford


Tensions increase as Hemel Storm host Bradford Dragons in the Semi Finals of the NBL playoffs. Having already lost twice to the Dragons during the course of the season, Storm will be looking for revenge as a trip to Manchester awaits the winner.

Standing in their way is a Bradford Dragons side, who will be brimming with confidence, following an emphatic 79-87 victory on the road, at the expense of 2nd seed Essex Rebels. Despite finishing 7th in the regular season, the Dragons possess quality on both ends of the floor.

Led by Coach Chris Mellor, the Dragons’ roster contains talent. Justin Williams would be a player on Storm’s radar, who will look to continue his impressive shooting accuracy, with a 23 point game in his last outing with the Storm. He fills the first import place for Bradford, and always proves to be a tough player to guard for all teams. Having been named last weeks Rebound Player of the Week for the division, Williams will not be short of confidence as he will look to carry his impressive performance into the semi final.

Despite the brilliance of Williams, the Dragons contain talent, who will be well known to many Storm fans as a threat. Former Manchester Giant Jordan Whelan in his second season at the Dragons is always a handful for his opposition, using his BBL experience to his advantage. He carries a 13.8 points per game, which could be the difference between two closely-matched teams. Another quality addition from the Dragons during January is Ronald Blain, who fills the second import spot for the Dragons. Blain is no stranger to the NBL, having played against Storm in last years Playoff final with Worthing Thunder. He is never short of confidence, which means that Storm must be at the top of their game to frustrate both Blain and the Dragons. Their roster contains great depth with Zion Tordoff, with the 24 year old always having an impact.

On the other hand, Storm’s roster also contains talent both in the front court and back court. Taylor Johnson in particular has enjoyed some great shooting performances in clashes with Bradford in the past. However in the present, Johnson comes into the fixture with a 27 point haul against a tricky Loughborough Riders.

Despite having injuries to both Brayden Inger and Hakeem Sylla, Storm’s aerial threat in Darien Nelson-Henry could prove to be a useful matchup, against Tordoff. Nelson-Henry had a great performance in the paint against Loughborough, working his magic in the post. If the paint proves inaccessible, the sharp-shooting Sam Newman is always a trusted player to knock down important shots for his team. Like the Dragons, Storm contain good squad depth, with the energetic Matt Disu enjoying his first season with the Storm, having certainly made his contribution throughout the season.

This clash will definitely be a one to watch as four teams left in the playoffs will go into battle, with two places to Manchester a reward for the winners. The playoffs are the stage where icons can be created, cherished and valued. Alternatively, the playoffs could be a stage of disappointment for the teams that lose. This matchup is sure to contain all the factors for a fantastic narrative.

The team need you more than ever to get behind the Storm for one last time at the StormDome. Make sure you book your tickets via Storm's website or follow the link here

Written by Ollie Heathcote

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