Hemel Storm came within a second of pulling off a come-back victory against Lancashire Spinners at Sportspace on Saturday but missed a last gasp three-point shot and lost 90-88.
The National League Division One clash saw Vanarama-sponsored Hemel hold the visitors, who were ahead by six points, scoreless for the last two minutes of the game as team captain Walid Mumuni and Nik Rhodes hit free-throws to bring them within two points.
After a Spinners time-out with little over 30 seconds to go a determined defensive stand resulted in Hemel recovering the ball with a chance to either send the game into overtime with a two-point basket or win with a three-pointer.
Rhodes drove to the basket but his spinning lay-up bounced off the basket and was rebounded by Wayne Yeboah who set-up the three point attempt for Mumuni.
Storm, who were without the injured Carl Josey and Tom Adorian, got off to a slow start and quickly fell behind in the first quarter when Spinners’ Rangeley and Walsh hit five three’s between them to push their team ahead 33-21 by the end of the first quarter.
Storm turned up their intensity on defence in the second stanza and pulled the deficit back to 47-50 by the half-time break as eventual top-scorer Leon Henry (18), Chuck Duru and Mike Darlow all connected on three-pointers.
Despite starting the second half well and taking a 55-50 lead after three minutes Storm then conceded a devastating 19-7 run and despite late baskets from Rhodes and Jack Burnell Spinners went into the final quarter ahead 72-68.
The visitors’ lead was allowed to balloon to 85-77 through some lax Hemel defending before they tightened things up and the game reached its dramatic climax.
Storm Coach Dave Allin said: “We responded well from the heavy defeat last week but it was disappointing not to close the game out. Once again we had spells when we were excellent at both ends of the floor but didn’t sustain it. We needed to play better defence tonight to get the win.”
And commenting on the return of Rhodes who was playing his first game for the club this season, Allin said: “It was great to have Nik back but he’ll need a couple of games to integrate fully with the team.”
Team and scorers: Henry 18, Duru 16, Yeboah 12, Rhodes 11, Mumuni 10, Burnell 10, Darlow 7, Allin 4, Rodwell.
Storm are at home again on Saturday against Worthing Thunder, tip-off 7pm. Go to www.stormbasketball.net for tickets and further information.