Storm surge back to overtake Flyers as National Trophy win delights Sportspace faithful

Storm's captain Simon Kearney scores under pressure against Bristol
Storm's captain Simon Kearney scores under pressure against Bristol
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After falling 18 points behind early in the second quarter, Hemel Storm delighted a packed Sportspace on Sunday with a stunning surge from behind to pip visitors Bristol Flyers 69-66 in the National Trophy game that marked the start of the season.

Under new head coach Steve Darlow, Storm shocked last season’s National League Division One runners-up with the intensity and commitment of their defence as they fought back after Bristol’s early barrage of three-point shots gave them a commanding lead.

Storm’s recovery was orchestrated by Bode Adeluola, Hemel’s backcourt dynamo, who has returned for his third season with the club.

His secure ball-handling allowed Hemel to control the offence and with back-up from teammates Wallid Mumuni, Williamz Omope, Simon Kearney, and Mike Darlow (15 rebounds), he pestered the Bristol guards, forcing a string of turnovers that were converted into easy break-away lay-ups.

Bristol finished with 25 turnovers to Storm’s 10.

By half-time Hemel had cut the lead back to 32-40 and came out after the interval determined to get on level terms, holding the visitors to just 13 third-quarter points and taking the lead with a Simon Kearney three-pointer.

The fourth quarter was a defensive battle with neither team gaining control but two decisive drives by Adeluola resulted in fouls, and when he hit all four free-throws the crowd was on its feet.

With 14 seconds left Hemel were in front 68-66 but Bristol had possession. Flyers coach Andreas Kapoulas called a time-out to set up a play he hoped would win the game.

But Storm’s defence once again held firm and when new signing Mumuni recovered the ball he was fouled and went on to seal a memorable victory from the free-throw line.

“We didn’t want to fall behind early like that but in the end it was a great way to start the new season,” said Darlow.

“Considering that we were missing four key players I thought we showed a lot of character.”

Storm’s next home game is against Westminster Warriors on Saturday October 12, tip-off at 7pm. For details and tickets see www.stormbasketball.net