Hemel Storm 95 Ipswich Tomcats 56
A DEVASTATING 36-10 second quarter blitz was the catalyst a comfortable Hemel Storm victory over Ipswich Tomcats in the first round of the National Cup at Sportspace.
Hemel were without four key players – Michael Darlow, Drew Spinks, Rich Wellings and Lee McCarthy – through injuries picked-up in preseason training, so Storm Academy youngsters Jake Lloyd and Davis Nicholson were given an opportunity to get senior experience and both acquitted themselves well.
Storm’s American star Andy Harper had to be substituted by coach Dave Titmuss when he collected two quick fouls early in the game, but his return in the second quarter sparked a Hemel onslaught.
Storm’s pressure defence was turned into a flurry of lay-ups and 3-pointers from James Dawes, Simon Kearney and Harper, and some excellent close-range scoring by experienced forward Tom Frederick whose array of back to the basket moves left Ipswich defenders flailing.
Storm’s new point guard Bode Adeluola, signed from London United in the summer, orchestrated his team’s motion offence and controlled the tempo extremely well.
Abdeluola produced a balanced scoring performance to net 20 points from penetration and outside jump shots, and added seven assists to his impressive statistics as Storm swept to the win.
“The only concern for me at this early stage of the season – apart from injuries – is that we’re getting to the free-throw line but only converting around half of our shots from there,” said coach Titmuss.
“I like the way our team cohesion is building. An understanding among the squad develops what each player brings, which is impressive considering how disruptive our string of injuries has been.
“There is a lot of work to do at the defensive end of the court but the guys have a strong desire to improve this aspect and are really focused in practice.”
Storm are at home again on Saturday when they take on London Westside in a Patron’s Cup pool game, tip-off 8pm. Visit www.stormbasketball.net for details.