There was late heartbreak for Hemel Storm as they slipped to an 89-79 defeat to Tees Valley Mohawks despite having levelled the scores with less than a minute left to play.
The result could have been different had a three-point effort from Bode Adeluola not rolled around the rim and out with just a few seconds remaining.
It was a close contest throughout but it was the Mohawks who found their range early on as they opened up a five-point lead.
Two three-pointers by Adeluola kept Hemel in the contest, but Tees Valley hit back to lead 21-12 at the end of the first period.
An early three-pointer extended the away team’s advantage before Storm started their comeback – Adeluola notched five scoring shots before a long three-pointer by Dru Spinks tied the scores.
Tom Adorian then gave Hemel their first lead of the contest at 33-31 and the hosts kept their noses in front to go in 38-37 up at half-time.
The third quarter was nip and tuck early on, but Walid Mumuni and Adeluola both hit big three-pointers, before the returning Michael Darlow scored almost on the buzzer to put Hemel 61-53 up with one quarter to go.
Tees Valley came out strongly at the start of the fourth period, though, and the scores were tied with five minutes left in the game.
Gradually the away team edged into a six-point lead of their own but another big three-pointer by Mumuni tied the scores once again with just less than a minute remaining.
Adeluola came agonisingly close with another three-point effort, but a lay-up at the other end gave Tees Valley a lead they would not relinquish.
Storm Head coach Steve Darlow was understandably downbeat, saying: “You have to blame me. I just did not get the defensive match-ups right in the fourth quarter.
“You cannot let a quality team like Tees Valley score 89 points and expect to win.”
Hemel are back at Sportspace on Saturday, March 1 with a Division One game against Team Northumbria at 7pm.
For tickets and more information please visit www.stormbasketball.net