Hemel Storm 82 – 86 Thames Valley Cavaliers (National League Division One)
Hemel Storm 107 – 80 Ipswich (National Cup, Round Three)
Holders Hemel Storm cruised into the fourth round of the National Cup with an emphatic 107 - 80 win against Ipswich at Hemel Leisure Centre on Sunday afternoon.
Storm dominated from the tip-off winning each quarter against their second division visitors and Hemel Head Coach Robert Youngblood substituted freely throughout the game getting all twelve players onto court.
Fans were treated to some entertaining up-tempo basketball as Vanarama-sponsored Storm fired in fourteen three-pointers and produced free-flowing fast break attacks. Eventual top scorer Leon Henry (18 points) led the way as five Storm players chalked-up double figure scoring.
Hemel will now play away in the fourth round to Barking Abbey Crusaders on Sunday October 28th.
Sunday’s performance went some way to erasing the disappointment of Storm’s Division One loss the previous night when they fell to their second League defeat of the season 86 - 82 away to Thames Valley Cavaliers and remain winless in League play.
Having clawed back 13 point deficits in the first and third periods Storm played some lock-down defence in the final period winning it 25 - 17 and had all of the momentum, but in the last two minutes they lost their chance to steal victory when they missed five of six free-throws. In contrast, Prince Lartey sealed the win for Cavaliers – their first of the season - from the free-throw line.
The game saw the return from pre-season injury of Hemel’s 6’ 9” forward Tom Adorian who grabbed nine rebounds, had two steals a block and an assist but could not find his shooting touch sinking just two of ten attempts.
“Tom just needs to get some more game playing time under his belt,” said Coach Youngblood, “it’s really hard to get up to speed after the lay-off he’s had. But we’re all confident that he’ll soon return to the kind of performances that he put in last season.”
After trailing throughout the opening stanza Hemel took the second period 25 – 17 to go into the locker-room at half-time just two adrift, 44 – 46. But after the break the visitors were constantly playing catch-up and their cause was not helped by some agonising close-range misses that allowed Cavaliers to win the period 20 – 15 and take a 66 – 58 lead into the last ten minutes.
In a possession by possession battle Storm’s tough defence and improved offence clawed back the deficit to 74 – 75 in the fourth quarter on the back of three-pointers from Levi Noel and captain Bode Adeluola but they could not make their hard work pay as the normally reliable Will Ashby, Leome Francis and Adeluola all missed from the charity stripe.
“We know we have to finish at the basket better in open play than we did on Saturday,” said Coach Youngblood, “and although I was pleased with how well we drew fouls and got to the free-throw line, overall we made only 52 percent which is just not good enough at this level.”
Team and scorers v Thames Valley: Blayne Freckleton 23, Bode Adeluola 17, Levi Noel 15, Will Ashby 12, Leome Francis 6, Tom Adorian 4, Tom Martin 3, Jamie Hayes 2, Leon Henry, Jack Burnell, Sam Dunscombe, Ian Berry.
Team and scorers v Ipswich: Leon Henry 18, Ian Berry 17, Levi Noel 16, Tom Martin 11, Blayne Freckleton 11, Jamie Hayes 8, Sam Dunscombe 6, Bode Adeluola 6, Leome Francis 6, Will Ashby 5, Tom Adorian 3, Jack Burnell.
Next home game: Saturday 27th October against Leicester Warriors (Division One) tip-off 7pm. Tickets from the 'tickets & shop' tab above
Top: Leon Henry – 18 point haul
Right: Tom Adorian – back from injury
(Pictures: Lin Titmuss)
GUTSY STORM II FREE-THROW HEART-BREAK
Hemel Storm II 82 – 91 Chelmsford Lions (Overtime)
(National League Division 4)
Storm II caught the first team’s free-throw bug in Chelmsford on Saturday when a pulsating game against the Lions ended in a heart-breaking defeat after a missed - potentially match-winning free-throw – was missed with just seconds left to play.
Despite being depleted through injury and illness, a strong first quarter at both ends of the court by Storm’s second team gave them a five point lead. But Lions responded in the second quarter and looked like they were heading to the half-time break a point ahead until Dominic Charles sank a last second shot from well inside his own half!
The home side edged a high scoring third quarter to tie the scores at 62 going into the final period. It was Chelmsford who seized the initiative in the fourth quarter and seemed to have the game wrapped up as they amassed a 10 point lead with less than two minutes remaining. But Hemel stepped up their defence once more and held Chelmsford scoreless for the rest of the game.
With four seconds left and Storm trailing by a point, Daryl Craine was awarded two free throws. He calmly sank the first but the second bounced off the back of the ring to send the game into overtime.
Foul trouble and fatigue finally caught up with Hemel in the extra period and Chelmsford closed out the win.
Head Coach David Allin commented: “That was an incredible performance by our six healthy players and we’re gutted not to have come away with the win.
“Everyone made a massive contribution but I’d like to make special mention of Mike Coumas who did a fantastic job for us under the hoop. Our roster is still incomplete and I’m hoping to announce a couple of exciting new signings this week”.
Storm Scorers: Nick Allin 21, Shaun Allin 18, Mike Coumas 17, Dominic Charles 12, Daryl Craine 12, Ben Pearce 2