Hemel Storm 77 – 61 Nottingham Hoods
(National League Division One)
Hemel Storm kept their push going for a place in the coveted top-eight National Championship Play-Offs on Saturday as they led from tip to buzzer in a convincing 77 – 61 win away to Nottingham Hoods.
With five National League Division One games left to play the result reverses Storm’s two point home loss to the Hoods last December and moves them up to ninth place in the table just one spot outside of a post season Play-Offs berth.
A short-handed Hemel side made an early statement of intent in Nottingham by jumping out to an impressive 16 point lead (22 – 6) after less than seven minutes of the first quarter.
Blayne Freckleton led the charge for Hemel during this period with 13 points that included two three-pointers. Four of the Storm starters – Bode Adeluola, Tom Adorian, TrayVonn Wright and Freckleton – all got onto the scoresheet by the time the first 10 minutes ended with Hemel ahead 28 – 16.
Nottingham was able to keep pace with Storm in a more even second period that the visitors won 20 - 18 but the Hoods constantly found their path to basket blocked by Hemel’s disruptive and determined defence – their best of the season - that ended up conceding nearly 28 points fewer than their average for the year.
After three minutes of the third quarter eventual joint top scorer Adeluola finished a driving lay-up to give Vanarama-sponsored Storm a commanding 20 point lead (36 – 56).
But Hemel’s offence suddenly began to dry-up and the home team, spurred on by their fans, mounted a spirited fight-back. When Hoods’ guard Tom Ballantine got inside Hemel’s defence with two seconds of the quarter left to score at close range his side’s rally left them trailing by just seven points at 53 – 60 with ten minutes left to play.
But Hemel was in no mood to let this game slip and In a fourth quarter defensive battle they were once again able to shut down Nottingham’s normally potent attack holding them to just eight points while scoring 17 themselves to seal an important victory.
Adeluola and American forward TrayVonn Wright were joint top scorers for Hemel with 22 apiece; Adeluola added seven assists while Wright grabbed nine rebounds. Freckleton finished with a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds, while team captain Tom Adorian rounded out the double figure scorers with 12 points and six rebounds.
Hemel Head Coach Robert Youngblood was delighted with his team’s performance: “We won with defence and teamwork; our communication on defence was fantastic.
“We’re trusting each other, holding each other accountable and our team chemistry is at an all-time high.”
Storm now face a crucial double-header weekend at Hemel Leisure Centre against third placed Loughborough Riders on Saturday (tip-off 7pm) and fifth-placed Reading Rockets on Sunday (Tip-off 5pm). The Club is offering a 20 percent discount on tickets bought online for both games – see the "tickets & shop" tab above
Team and scorers v Nottingham: Bode Adeluola 22, TrayVonn Wright 22, Blayne Freckleton 14, Tom Adorian 12, Levi Noel 4, Jamie Hayes 3, Jack Burnell, Will Ashby.
Photo caption: Bode Adeluola – joint top-scorer against Nottingham with 22 points and seven assists.
(Photo: Lin Titmuss)
Hemel Storm II 81 – 72 Canterbury Saints
(National League Division 4)
STORM II TOP THE SAINTS – AGAIN!
Hemel Storm II recorded their third win over Canterbury Saints in League and Cup competitions this season.
It was a slow start for Hemel’s second team as they struggled to convert their open shots in the first quarter. But a well-organised defence limited the damage to just a five point deficit at 18-13 at the end of the period.
The visitors’ offence was much improved in the second quarter but still they were unable to reduce Canterbury’s lead and trailed by the same five point margin at half time, 36-31.
A re-energised Storm team took to the court in the third quarter in which Saints were unable to contain the scoring combination of Hemel guard Nick Allin and power forward Lewis Castro. Between them they scored 21 of Storm’s 24 points in the quarter to tie the scores at 55.
Pressure defence from Hemel in the final period created several steals with Daryl Craine being the main beneficiary scoring 10 of his 16 point haul. With 3 minutes remaining the visitors had established a comfortable 9 point lead which they retained to the end of the game.
Head Coach David Allin said: “We’ve had some tough losses recently but today’s performance was much more like the form we showed earlier in the season. Although we went behind early, I felt that we would get our chances if we stayed patient.”
And he added: “Lewis, Nick and Daryl did a great job in keeping the scoreboard ticking over for us today, but I should make special mention of Raj Patel. No points for Raj today but his screening, rebounding and all-round effort were key contributors to our win”.
Storm II team and scorers: Nick Allin 24, Lewis Castro 24, Daryl Craine 16, Dominic Charles 7, Luke O’Mahony 4, Michael Coumas 4, Ben Pearce 2, Raj Patel