Hemel Storm 89 – 106 Team Solent Kestrels
(Division One Basketball)
Solent Kestrels sealed the NBL Division One league title with a 17 point victory against Vanarama-sponsored Hemel Storm on Sunday in front of a capacity crowd at the StormDome. Kestrels have not lost a league game for over a calendar year and next weekend make history by becoming the first NBL team to play in the final of the BBL Trophy at the O2. Ironically, the closest they have been pushed was in the return fixture with Storm when it was a five point game.
The first quarter set the tone for the game, with both teams playing decent basketball but Storm could not get their shots to fall. Indeed, they struggled from distance all night long hitting just 23% from downtown Storm were also well beaten on the boards losing out 47-34 with only Sam Newman with 7 rebounds making any kind of impression.
The game proved a tough match up for Storm with Kestrels Americans leading the way. Ian Smith was exceptional at the guard spot, hitting 33 points from drives and shots including a perfect 6 from 6 from three point range, whilst grabbing 7 boards. Travis Charles was a real handful to guard around the basket as he hit 25 points on 71% shooting and taking 8 boards.
Solent pushed their lead out to 28 points before a late Storm rally had a 12-0 scoring run to bring the deficit down, but to no avail as the Kestrels showed why they are the best team in the league and saw the game out.
Leading Storm were Greg Poleon with 23 points, Mike Williams with 17, Sam Newman and Bode Adeluola both hit 11.
Storm have their final home game of the regular season on Saturday. Leicester Warriors are the visitors to Hemel Hempstead Leisure Centre for a 7pm tip off.
Tickets available at www.stormbasketball.net