Basketball fans were treated to two outstanding performances by Hemel Storm at the weekend – but witnessed two different results.
Storm steamrollered Brixton by 27 points in a National League Division One game at Sportspace on Saturday, before suffering a heart-breaking last-gasp loss to Bristol Flyers in the National Cup quarter-finals the following day.
Storm were quickly out of the blocks against Brixton as their free-flowing offence was finished with some excellent shooting to give them a commanding 25-13 first-quarter lead.
Hemel built on their advantage as their pressure defence forced the visitors into ball-handling errors and they used the extra possession to go into the locker room at half-time 54-29 ahead.
Hemel’s playmaker Bode Adeluola (pictured) finished the game with 12 assists and 18 points, while Great Britain U20 player Louis Sayers also netted 18 points.
Storm would not let up in the second half and Tom Adorian crowned a memorable win with a massive dunk in the closing seconds to bring the home supporters to their feet.
The following day, a series of defensive lapses in the third quarter saw Storm’s half-time 39-34 lead evaporate against Bristol and they went into the final period three points behind at 50-47.
The game was a high tempo, physical battle, and the home crowd erupted when, trailing 66-62 with less than a minute to play, Louis Sayers swished a three-pointer.
Hemel’s defence was superb on the next possession and they stole the ball to set-up Sayers again to calmly sink another three-pointer to give the home team a 68-66 lead.
Free-throws from Bristol’s Tyrone Treasure then tied the scores at 68-all, before the game reached its dramatic climax and Hemel exited the competition as Bristol sunk a three-pointer with just two seconds to play.
Hemel Coach Mark Lloyd said: “The game against Bristol came down to them making a three with a few seconds left.
“We got ourselves in a position to win against one of the country’s top teams and led in most of the key statistical areas except shooting percentage – Flyers know they were in a game!”
> Picture courtesy of Tristan Davis Photography.