Sensational Storm destroy Cavaliers in local derby


Saturday 19th November, NBL Division One: Hemel Storm 113-66 Thames Valley Cavaliers

Saturday’s game saw Vanarama-sponsored Hemel Storm face local rivals Thames Valley Cavaliers in a game where some players had transferred between the two rosters in the summer. It was Storm who were superior, running riot from the start, dominating the game and deservedly winning 113-66.

The first quarter saw Storm start very lively with an instant three pointer for Seth Swalve, and Storm going on a 12-4 run to force Coach Robert Banks into an early timeout to spark a reaction into the Cavaliers side. However, Storm came out even better extending the points margin to a high of 15. The full house at the StormDome witnessed an outstanding compilation of alley oops to end the quarter with Aaryn Rai catching the lob from a Sam Newman inbound, and Newman once again assisting former Thames Valley player Charles Acquah-Davis to make the Storm faithful erupt. Storm played outstandingly throughout and were deservedly in the lead 29-16 at the end of the quarter.

Another former Cavaliers player Hakeem Sylla came back to haunt his old team with some early baskets as Storm carried on playing with the same intensity as they did in the first quarter on both defence and offence. Storm’s defence this quarter and throughout the whole game was exemplary limiting Thames Valley to contested shots from tough areas, and capitalising on turnovers to secure vital points. After Aaryn Rai scored once again with a layup, coach Banks was forced into his second timeout, as Storm were beginning to pull away and make this score line become out of hand. Taylor Johnson saw a combination of a two pointer and three pointer in quick succession at the end of the quarter with Storm leading convincingly 59-32 at the end of the half.

An identical move to the start of the game was replicated to start the third quarter with Seth Swalve draining the open three pointer as Storm kept up the intensity and high energy display. Once again, Storm defensively were impressive and moved the ball exceptionally to find open three pointers or shots under the rim. Sam Newman who was Storm’s top scorer on the night, shot remarkably from three point range extending the points gap into its 40s. Thames Valley began to lose hope and Storm managed to exploit the tired defence. A Tayo Oyefusi cameo at the end of the quarter with a two pointer and two three pointers, one of which being a buzzer beater to send the crowd into pandemonium, saw Storm end the quarter comfortably winning 98-49.

Storm had worked unbelievably hard to score this many points and could afford to rest the starting five to play out the final quarter in what was the best performance of the season so far. During the last quarter, Storm stretched the points gap to a game high of 52, with Thames Valley showing signs of giving up. It was a low scoring quarter to end what was a brilliant performance but the effort and the determination from each of the Storm players helped them to end in this fashion. The final buzzer sounded with Storm winning 113-66.

It was a phenomenal performance in one of the most important games of the season, and Storm definitely did not disappoint. A team display with some great stats made the difference in how the game went. Aaryn Rai registered a triple double of 20 points 14 rebounds and 11 assists, and spectacular Sam Newman scoring 26 points, 8 assists and 7 rebounds. Hakeem Sylla also had an exemplary performance against his former side with a double double of 17 points and 12 rebounds. Overall, an amazing day at the office for Storm.

Storm next face Nottingham Hoods away on Saturday 3rd December and are at home to Reading Rockets in the National Cup 5th Round on Sunday 4th December. Tickets for that game are available at

Top Scorers: Sam Newman: 26 points, Aaryn Rai: 20 points , Hakeem Sylla: 17 points

Report by Ollie Heathcote
Photos by Simon Peters

Copyright Hemel Storm Basketball