Hemel Storm struggled to score in the third quarter against a feisty Team Northumbria squad as they fell to an 86-73 defeat at Sportspace.
Although Hemel were looking to build on their 46-39 half-time lead in this National League Division One clash, their free-flowing attacks were thwarted by Northumbria’s pressure defence.
As Storm’s recent good shooting form deserted them, they were only able to put 13 points on the board to Northumbria’s 25 during the period.
The game was played at a frenetic pace and, when Hemel’s Carl Josey sank two free-throws in the final minute of the first period, it completed a gutsy fight back after Storm had been six down in the opening exchanges before recovering to edge the period 19-17.
As half-time approached, a Mike Darlow jump shot and free-throws by Walid Mumuni opened a four-point lead; when Kenny Wood’s three-point attempt swished through the basket in the final minute the crowd erupted.
Halfway through the decisive third quarter Hemel were 49-41 ahead, before the visitors took advantage of some disorganised defence and went on a 16-3 run to lead 69-64 going into the final stanza.
Northumbria held Storm scoreless for the first four minutes of the fourth quarter as defensive mistakes and a stuttering Hemel offence handed control to the visitors.
“It was a cold shooting night for us,” said Hemel coach Dave Titmuss. “It happens sometimes but usually we can rely on our defence to keep the margin at a manageable level.
“We couldn’t get going at either end of the court and Northumbria are one of the better teams in the league at feeding off mistakes.
“We’ve had three weekends of double-headerss and it was clear on Saturday that fatigue was also a factor in the loss.”