Hemel Storm saw their hopes of reaching the end of season play-offs suffer a severe set-back at a Sportspace on Saturday when they were beaten 94-86 by Worthing Thunder.
Although still mathematically possible, Trilogy-it sponsored Hemel will have to win their remaining three games and hope that other results go in their favour in order for them to finish in the top-eight and qualify for the playoffs.
We started the game too flat in the first half, but it was their American imports Chavis and Rivers that made the difference.Hemel Storm head coach Steve Darlow
A slow start to the first quarter left the two teams tied at 4-4 after four minutes’ play, after which the away side started to gradually open up a slight lead.
Storm’s star guard Bode Adeluola hit his team’s first three-pointer of the night with less than three minutes to play to edge the Hemel side back to within one point at 15-16.
Soon afterwards, a triple by skipper Simon Kearney tied the scores at 18 apiece with two minutes remaining in the period.
But it was Worthing that finished the stronger and, after one period, it was 26-19 to the away side.
Thunder started the second quarter as they finished the first and had soon opened the lead to double figures.
Halfway through the period they had extended it to 14 at 41-27 and looked to be streaking away, before Storm got it back to 10 with three minutes left.
Another three by Adeluola pulled the score back even more and, as the half-time hooter, went the lead was a much more manageable eight points to the visitors at 51-43.
Hemel started the next quarter the brighter and got the deficit back to five before Worthing opened it back up to 11 three minutes in.
A two-pointer by Darren Best almost on the hooter kept the scores close, with Thunder entering the final period just six points up at 67-61.
A long three by Adeluola meant his side were just three points behind, but he picked up his fourth personal foul a couple of minutes later.
A triple by Walid Mumuni tied the game at 71-all with seven minutes remaining, and although Worthing soon opened up a four-point lead, back came Storm with a Best three-pointer to edge within one.
But with two minutes left the Thunder were five points up at 84-79, and a three-pointer by Lithuanian Tomas Seduikid iced the game in their favour inside the final minute at 94-86.
After the game a reflective Storm head coach Steve Darlow said: “We started the game too flat in the first half, but it was their American imports Chavis and Rivers that made the difference.
“They made some really top plays that won the game for them.”
Hemel Storm’s next home game is at Sportspace on Saturday at 7pm against Leicester Warriors in a National League Division One game.
Tickets and more information can be found at www.stormbasketball.net