Hemel Storm had a fantastic weekend on the road with a superb 81-69 win at Tees Valley, followed by an even better 96-90 victory at the Lancashire Spinners to move up to third in the National League Division One table.
Storm got the weekend off to a great start with a terrific win at Tees Valley on Saturday when they led from start to finish and eased to the win against the Mohawks.
Despite not enjoying too much luck and suffering from several dubious refereeing decisions, Hemel led by nine at 24-15 at the first interval.
A long two-pointer by co-captain Walid Mumuni opened the second, before a lay-up by Nick Allin and another two from Craig Percival took Storm’s advantage out to 33-20, and they went on to lead 39-31 at the interval.
It was the home side who started the third quarter brightest and they cut Storm’s lead back to just three points, before a Bode Adeluola three-pointer eased it back to six.
Storm co-captain Simon Kearney then took matters into his own hands, scoring six points in the last 24 seconds to give his team a 10-point lead after three periods at 63-53.
Despite some considerable pressure from the home team, Hemel held on firmly in the fourth and ended the game with a 12-point victory.
The following day, Hemel travelled to Lancashire to take on the Spinners, and they recorded a fully deserved win against an experienced and talented home team.
A furious first half saw points flood in at both ends of the court, with a 7-0 first quarter run by the away side making all the difference.
Hemel led by as many as 11 early in the second period before the Spinners launched a comeback which was halted by a flurry of Hemel three-pointers. Kearney hit two and Mumuni and Nik Rhodes weighed in to help Storm to a 62-55 half-time lead.
“It was like an old fashioned shoot-out,” said Hemel co-coach Dave Allin, “I’m sure, like us, the Spinners wanted much improved defence in the second half.”
And that’s what they got as both teams locked down defensively and a terrific possession by possession battle was the result.
The home side briefly took the lead in the third before Storm recovered to lead 80-77 at the end of the period.
Five consecutive missed shots early in the fourth by Hemel led to Lancashire taking the lead again, but with five minutes to play the scores were tied at 87-all.
It was left to some magnificent Storm defence and the cool shooting of Adeluola to give the visitors an outstanding away win and edged them closer to a place in the National Championship play-offs.
“Individual players have improved since the start of the season and we’re playing together better and with more focus and intensity,” said a delighted Storm co-coach Dave Titmuss.
Hemel Storm’s next home game is at Sportspace on Saturday, March 12 at 7pm when they take on the league leading and National Cup and Trophy winners Manchester Magic in a National League Division One game.
Tickets and more information can be found at www.stormbasketball.net