Storm grab last-gasp win to retain the title

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Hemel Storm 73 Killamarsh Arrows 70

HEMEL Storm have retained their Patrons Cup crown after a thrilling last-minute victory over Derbyshire’s Killamarsh Arrows in front of a capacity crowd in Leicester.

Hemel Storm's Tom Frederick and Simon Kearney with the Patrons Cup.

Hemel Storm's Tom Frederick and Simon Kearney with the Patrons Cup.

In a thrilling last minute, Arrows went ahead 69-68 after a 3-point shot by James Kelly, but Storm captain Simon Kearney replied with a triple of his own to give his team a lead they never lost.

Hemel’s Tom Frederick took the MVP honours with his 16 point, 11 rebound outing and he was in the company of three other Hemel players who reached double figures in points – Drew Spinks, Simon Kearney and Bode Adeluola.

 “We’re just thrilled to have retained the Cup and brought it back to Hemel,” said head coach Dave Titmuss.

“Killamarsh gave us all we could handle and as I expected played at a higher level than in our National League games against them.”

 Travelling Hemel supporters including MP Mike Penning and his wife Angela, saw Hemel lead for the majority of the game, but Arrows always stayed close enough to remain a threat.

 The first quarter ended 24-20 in favour of Storm and Arrows trimmed a point off that deficit by half-time, trailing 39-36 at the interval despite being down by as much as 13 in the second period.

The teams split 40 points in the third quarter and 28 points in the fourth, with Arrows again having to come back from being down by double figures.

Arrows’ Joseph Baugh hit one of a pair of free throws with 15 seconds left in the game, bringing his team within one at 71-70, but the same player was forced to foul Hemel’s Spinks seconds later, and the veteran coolly sunk both his attempts.

With Storm up 73-70 and Arrows in possession, the ball found its way into Andrew Chiguri’s hands and his contested three point attempt fell wide of the mark, leaving Hemel as the 2012 champions.   

Hemel Storm chairman Neil McElduff, said: “This is a fantastic result for our club and a richly deserved reward for all of the hard work that the players, volunteers and coaching staff have put in.

“The support for both teams on Sunday was excellent and created a worthy atmosphere for such a prestigious national title game,” he said.

“Many people will not realise the difficulties that we’ve faced this year with injuries that at one point decimated our team, so to come through the competition and win it without dropping a single game is remarkable.

“Killamarsh are to be congratulated also on their performance and sportsmanship.”