Hemel Storm made the long trip to face Tees Valley Mohawks on Saturday but came away empty-handed despite a magnificent 39 points from guard Bode Adeluola.
The game started with both sides missing a number of shots and it was the home team that held an 8-4 lead after three minutes.
A Carl Josey three-pointer gave Trilogy-it sponsored Hemel a brief lead at 9-8 halfway through the quarter but, with two minutes left, Tees Valley had a five-point lead which they held until the end of the period.
More missed shots and several turnovers meant Storm only managed two points in the first three minutes of the second quarter, before another three from Josey kept Hemel in the game just five points down after five minutes.
It was Tees Valley that pushed on, though and they opened up the game’s first double digit lead at 46-35 with just under three minutes left.
Storm fought back to reduce the lead to six but, despite a late three-pointer from Adeluola, they went into the changing room 52-43 down at half-time.
Three minutes into the third quarter the lead was still nine points, but another three by Adeluola – his second of the quarter – pulled it back to six half way through.
Another quick pair of threes from the Storm star got his team right back in it as they trailed by just a single point at 64-63 with four minutes to go.
Tees Valley continued to shred the Hemel defence and led 76-69 at the end of the third period, despite Adeluola scoring 17 points in the quarter including four threes.
Hemel needed to get off to a fast start in the final period, but once again some poor shooting let them down and they managed just two points in the first three minutes.
The home team held a seven-point advantage after five minutes which, with two minutes left, they had increased to 12 at 91-79. After a series of free-throws before the final buzzer, Tees Valley secured the win at 97-86.
Adeluola’s 39 points included five triples and was backed up by 12 points each from Darren Best and Josey, with emerging star Damian Edwards sinking seven in an impressive all-court performance.
Concerned Hemel coach Steve Darlow said: “We have all the pieces in our team but are just not playing well together at the moment.
“We are having lapses in defence and giving up too many points. We’ve got nine regular season games left – six at home – so our aim is still to make the top-eight play-offs.
“We have plenty of character and talent in our squad so I’m confident that we can get back on track.”
Storm’s next home game is at Sportspace on Saturday at 7pm against Westminster Warriors in a National League Division One game.