Saturday 15th October, NBL Division One: Hemel Storm 106 Bradford Dragons 86
Sunday 16th October, NBL Division One: London Lions II 81 Hemel Storm 115
Last weekend saw Vanarama-sponsored Hemel Storm face Bradford Dragons and London Lions II to open their campaign for NBL Division One. They made sure they did not disappoint with two emphatic victories against two tough teams.
Saturday’s game saw Storm at home to Bradford Dragons which certainly entertained the Storm faithful. Storm showed great team basketball, moving the ball very well to beat the Dragons defence. Storm also managed to keep star man Whelan at bay in the first half, until a lapse in concentration saw the Dragons find a way to pull the lead into single digits. However, Storm thrived off the crowd as they managed to regain control and score some excellent baskets. Seth Swalve enjoyed shooting from the three point line as he made an outstanding 7 from 9, achieving 30 points and finishing as the top scorer. Overall, Storm’s hard work saw them win 106-86. This was a promising start which had to be matched by Sunday’s effort.
Sunday’s game saw Storm face London Lions II in a game where both teams came into it on the opposite end of the spectrum. However, it was Lions who controlled the first quarter, using their energy to reduce the amount of time the Storm players had and score the chances they had been given. However from the second quarter onwards, Storm moved up a gear, with dominance shown on both ends of the court. Aaryn Rai especially had a brilliant day in terms of shooting, scoring 33 points and claiming 13 rebounds. Once Storm had improved with this scoring run, they did not look back, scoring freely around the three point line and defending their own basket well. They dominated the game in the end with Storm cruising as 81-115 winners.
It was a great weekend for Storm, who go to a 2-0 record in the league standings. Some impressive moments shown by the team is promising for the Storm fans to see and they are making a statement to other teams in the league that they are ones to watch for this season.
Storm are next at home to Loughborough Riders in NBL Division One on Saturday 22nd October, 7pm tip. Tickets are available at www.stormbasketball.net.
Report by Ollie Heathcote
Photos by Joanne Charles