Saturday 22nd October, NBL Division One: Hemel Storm 105 – 79 Loughborough Riders
Saturday’s match saw Vanarama-sponsored Hemel Storm face Loughborough Riders in the NBL Division One in front of a full house.
After an unusually slow start, Storm managed to produce an accurate shooting display to win the game 105-79.
The first quarter saw Loughborough start brightly, looking to surprise the sold-out StormDome with an impressive range of shots being made. The scores stayed within touching distance throughout the opening quarter with a maximum of two possessions to change the score. Storm used the talent of Taylor Johnson to their advantage as he secured the and-one to bring the first quarter to a close with Storm leading 27-21.
Storm started the second quarter managing to move the ball well. Unfortunately not making the shots, Loughborough capitalised on this to tie the game at one stage. This seemed to have livened Storm up as they managed to improve on their missed shots, and were able to score a two and three pointer. Once again Loughborough responded well and did not let the lead become uncatchable. The buzzer sounded as Storm went into half time winning 47–43.
The third quarter started with the Riders in complete control as Storm once again could not seem to score for a while. The lead grew to as big as 9 for the Riders which Storm had to come back from. The Storm faithful continued to spur the team on to make a comeback which they managed to do relatively swiftly, showing great offence and excellent defence. With a three pointer by Seth Swalve with 2:52 left to play in the quarter, the comeback was complete and Storm started to regain control of this game. Storm went into the final quarter with a 9 point lead winning 71-62.
Two three pointers from Jack Burnell and Tayo Oyefusi saw Storm take an early lead of 13, which helped gain confidence and begin to take the sting out of the game. Storm particularly used the big men well under the basket with Hakeem Sylla registering a double double and Aaryn Rai scoring high numbers as well. Storm dominated and hustled on defence as well as their offence, using good movement to create an open shot either under the basket or around the three point line, which was the key to their success. Storm managed to win this game 105-79, a comfortable scoreline but one Storm made hard work of.
It was an interesting game with Storm starting slow, but showing the character to comeback and produce a dominant performance. They now move onto a 3-0 record in the league and go to Reading Rockets away on Sunday 30th October. There were some good moments, especially in the 4th quarter where Storm scored 34 points but there were areas they need to work on to make sure that they produce a dominant performance against a tough Reading side.
The next Storm game at home is against Manchester Magic on Saturday 5th November at Hemel Hempstead Leisure Centre, 7pm tip. Tickets available at www.stormbasketball.net.
Top Scorers: Taylor Johnson - 25 points, Aaryn Rai- 22 points, Hakeem Sylla- 20 points
Report by Ollie Heathcote
Photos by Joanne Charles