Hemel Storm 101 Birmingham A 77
AN injury-hit Hemel Storm showed their strength in depth to pick up a 101-77 win over Birmingham.
Missing their two leading scorers – Andy Harper and Drew Spinks – the team showed great resolve to grind out the win in front of an appreciative Sportspace crowd.
The Storm side made up for the injured duo’s absence with a balanced scoring attack and all twelve Hemel players made contributions to the total. That included juniors Michael Darlow and Davis Nicholson.
Hemel were subjected to a three-point barrage from Birmingham in the first quarter, but Storm edged ahead 31-30 as the irrepressible Bode Adeluola scored a free-throw in the dying seconds after he was fouled driving to basket.
Hemel turned the tables in the second period, denying Birmingham from long range while scoring four three-pointers of their own – Fred Stephens hitting two and Rich Wellings and Simon Kearney adding one each.
By the half-time interval, Hemel had edged in front at 53-47 and were starting to look in control.
From the restart, Storm stepped-up the intensity of their man-to-man defence, while on offence their slick passing and player movement exposed gaps in Birmingham’s zone defence.
Hemel quickly opened a 20-point lead as Tom Frederick and Lee McCarthy found room inside Birmingham’s defence for close-range efforts, and accurate perimeter shooting kept the scoreboard ticking over.
The period ended with Storm’s Kearney, Wellings, and McCarthy finding the bottom of the net without reply from the visitors, and Storm moved 88-62 ahead.
Birmingham fought back in the fourth quarter, hitting three consecutive three-pointers in the opening two minutes, but Hemel responded well to wrap up the win.
“I thought we gave a terrific effort after the break and began to eliminate the small mistakes which sometimes can add up and cause you to lose,” said Storm’s Head Coach Dave Titmuss.
“We didn’t really make any technical adjustments at half-time, we just focused better on execution.”
Storm remain undefeated and move to second place in the National League table, with a game in hand over leaders Team Northumbria.
The side are at home again on Saturday, taking on Killamarsh Arrows at 7pm.
Storm’s U18s, meanwhile, were in action on Sunday and dominated Ipswich in a National League Conference game, winning 101-39.
They, like their senior counterparts, have made a flying start to the campaign and remain undefeated so far this season.