Hemel Storm 86 Killamarsh Arrows 53
HEMEL Storm maintained their winning run with a comprehensive victory over Killamarsh Arrows in the National League.
From the opening tip-off, Storm came out with all guns blazing at Sportspace on Saturday, hitting their first five shots to take an early 26-15 lead in the first quarter of the game.
Storm’s intense man-to-man defence restricted the visitors to some low percentage attempts, and by the end of the game had forced Killamarsh to turn the ball over 25 times and held them to a season’s low 53 points.
Hemel, who were without injured starters Drew Spinks and Michael Darlow, remain unbeaten this season and move to second place in the league table behind Team Northumbria with a game in hand on the North East outfit.
A key to Storm’s win was holding Killamarsh’s American talisman, 6ft 8ins RB Clyburn, to just 14 points while also containing the perimeter threat posed by their other players.
“When I scouted them I felt that Clyburn was one of the best import players in the country,” said Storm head coach Dave Titmuss.
“He kept the scoreboard ticking over and is a terrific rebounder so we had to restrict the type of shots he got and where he got them from – that took five players working together to achieve.”
Although Storm were without Spinks and Darlow, Titmuss was delighted to have forward Rich Wellings back in the side after a six-week absence due to torn ankle ligaments.
Wellings showed terrific form, hitting four three-pointers and two short range jump-shots to net 16 points.
A carbon-copy second period saw Hemel maintain their defensive effort and free-flowing offence to take a commanding 51-28 half-time lead.
The Hemel side than edged a more even third period 21-9, led by top-scorer Bode Adeluola.
The Storm star caused havoc in the Killamarsh defence with penetrating drives to basket and pull-up jump shots to claim an impressive 23-point total.
“We made mistakes defensively and lost some focus after the break,” admitted Titmuss.
“But the guys off the bench in the fourth period held them to just six points which I think was a solid effort.”
On Sunday, Storm travel to the West Country to take on the team currently sitting top of Division One, Bristol flyers, in the quarter-finals of the National Cup.
Hemel beat Leicester Warriors, who are currently the second-placed team in the top division, to win a place in the final eight and are hoping to pull-off another shock victory.