Hemel Storm were left reeling from a disastrous 20-0 scoring blitz by reigning champions Manchester Magic at Sportspace on Saturday and despite a spirited fight-back lost 92-78 in a National League Division One clash.
In a fast paced opening quarter both teams scored at will but it was Hemel who edged ahead by 27-23 at the break led by nine quick points from their athletic guard Leon Henry.
Storm kept the momentum going into the second quarter and even extended their lead to seven points.
However Manchester turned the tables as their diminutive guard Stefan Gill grabbed 10 points of his own propelling his team to an eight point half time lead (49-41) which they never relinquished.
The result looked a forgone conclusion when Storm inexplicably collapsed in the first five minutes of the second half as their shooting went stone cold and Magic picked apart a disorganised home defence to take a massive 29 point lead.
Storm showed their resilient side in the final period and trimmed the lead back to 14 as forward Chuck Duru netted 10 points and Michael Darlow dominated the rebounds.
But Hemel’s response was too little too late and a disappointed Storm Head Coach, David Allin said: “We’re very frustrated at the moment. Manchester are a top team but our performance in the third quarter was poor.
“On the positive side we did have some excellent individual performances in particular I thought Chuck showed fantastic determination and aggression.
“Collectively we are lacking consistency at the moment and we need to put that right very quickly.”
Team and Scorers: Leon Henry 17, Chuck Duru 16, Michael Darlow 14, Nik Rhodes 14, Tom Adorian 6, Wayne Yeboah 5, Jack Burnell 4, Walid Mumuni 2, Nick Allin, Jamie Rodwell, Kenroy Wood.
Hemel will be looking for a winning end to the year as they host Bradford Dragons this Saturday at Sportspace, tip-off 7pm. For tickets go to www.stormbasketball.net