Hemel Storm ran out of steam in the final quarter as they lost a closely fought encounter 85-75 at Worthing Thunder.
As has been the cast too often recently, Storm got off to a slow start and allowed their opponents to run up the first nine points of the contest.
Walid Mumuni opened the Hemel account with a free-throw after almost four minutes, but a couple of needless turnovers and some poor outside shooting by Storm allowed the Thunder to go into the first interval 11 points ahead at 29-18.
Hemel, though, came out of the traps flying in the second quarter and started chipping away at the home team’s lead right from the start.
After three minutes the deficit was back to just five points before Bode Adeluola tied the scores halfway through the period with a typical run and lay-up.
With Worthing now turning the ball over unnecessarily, Hemel kept up the pressure to take a four-point lead into the changing room at half-time, leading 42-38.
All the good work of the second quarter unravelled in the third, however, as Worthing took less than a minute to tie the game before opening up a five-point lead of their own.
Hemel managed a meagre 11 points in the entire quarter – all scored by a resurgent Dru Spinks – and a dubious technical foul on Adeluola just about summed up the game for the away side.
Hemel went into the fourth quarter trailing by just five points but two early three-pointers by the home side put them firmly in control.
With seven minutes left in the contest, Storm trailed by 13 points and, although they got it back to eight with a couple of minutes to play, they eventually went down 85-75.
To typify Hemel’s luck on the night, skipper Simon Kearney and Michael Darlow both went down with ankle injuries inside the last minute of the game – Kearney’s looking particularly nasty.
After the game Hemel head coach Steve Darlow lamented another slow start by his team and said it cost them early momentum which they never really recovered from.
Hemel are back at Sportspace on Saturday with a Division One game against high-flying Bradford Dragons at 7pm. Tickets and more information can be found on the Storm website