Led by a rampant Bode Adeluola in front of a large and noisy throng of away fans, Hemel Storm recorded a hard fought 80-70 win at Westminster Warriors on Saturday.
Hemel started off on the front foot with centre Zak Wells notching their first four points of the contest but some wayward shooting by the away side let the Warriors build up an early five-point lead.
A three-pointer by skipper Simon Kearney kept Storm in the game, however, and another three by star guard Adeluola turned the deficit into a brief lead for the away side before the Warriors ended the quarter with a narrow one-point advantage at 18-17.
The second quarter continued along the same lines with very little between the two sides before two three pointers from Adeluola gave Storm a six-point lead with three minutes left in the half.
Once again the home team fought back, though, to leave Hemel with a four-point half-time lead at 36-32.
A slow start to the third quarter by both teams saw the score only advance by two points in the first three minutes.
The game then burst into life halfway through the quarter with Storm’s players, coaches and fans loudly disputing several curious refereeing decisions.
All this ended with the Storm bench pulling a technical foul to leave the away fans bemused and the home team back in front.
Adeluola then took the game on his shoulders to drive his team back in front with five quick points and Storm edged into a three-point lead at the final break at 55-52.
Once again the scoring dropped to a minimum and halfway through the final quarter Storm held a slight lead at 58-56.
With three minutes left the scores were tied up before some excellent shooting from the free-throw line by Wells, a fine offensive rebound by Tom Adorian and another three points from Adeluola finally gave Hemel some breathing room.
Some great defence by Storm and a lay-up by Tom Adorian seemed to have settled the game in Storm’s favour at 71-64 before a late flurry of points saw the game finish 80-70 after some cool free-throw shooting by Adeluola and Kearney.
A relieved Hemel head coach Steve Darlow thanked his players and the travelling fans and said he was proud of the way his side had ground out the win and handled everything that had been thrown at them.
Adeluola top-scored for Hemel with 31 points, while Adorian added 17 and skipper Kearney hit 11. Walid Mumuni bagged 10, Wells helped himself to eight and Dru Spinks rounded off the scoring with a lone three-pointer.
Hemel are back at Sportspace on Saturday with a Division One game against Tees Valley Mohawks, 7pm tip-off.