Bristol Academy Flyers 59 Hemel Storm 46
HEMEL Storm paid a heavy price in their National Cup quarter-final defeat to Division One champions Bristol Academy Flyers.
Already without injured key players Drew Spinks and Michael Darlow, starters Tom Frederick and Bode Adeluola went down early in the second period and took no further part in the game.
“It’s just terrible luck,” said frustrated Hemel head coach Dave Titmuss, who also loses his high-scoring American guard Andy Harper because of work commitments.
The Storm – now without their top five players – were unbeaten this season before Sunday’s game and face London United in a National League game at Sportspace on Saturday.
“We’ve got a good squad including some youngsters who will have to step into the breach,” said Titmuss.
“The injuries are a serious blow to our ambitions and a great pity because we had found a real rhythm in our play and were having a great season.
“We’ve now got to adjust to the fact that we’ve lost Andy for the rest of the season, Drew and Michael are a few weeks away from recovery, and it looks like Bode may have broken his ankle.
“Hopefully Tom, who picked-up a knee injury on Sunday, will be back pretty quickly.”
Storm started in their usual free-flowing attacking style on Sunday and took a 10-2 lead, forcing Bristol to take a time-out.
However, Hemel then lost some composure against the home team’s aggressive full-court pressing defence.
To their credit, Storm dug deep and only trailed 25-30 at half-time despite losing the influential Adeluola and Frederick to injuries.
Although substitutes Lee McCarthy, James Dawes and 17 year-old Jacob Lloyed acquitted themselves well, Hemel’s shooting touch deserted them in the second half and they could not cash-in on their excellent defence.
“We did a really good job with our defence but we were short-handed to start with and when Bode and Tom both got injured we lost a lot of fire-power,” said Titmuss.
“It’s a great pity because I felt that if we were at full strength we could have gone into the closing stages of the game with a chance to win.”