Hemel Storm have made a strong start to their league campaign and have a chance to make a statement win when hosting the league-leading Loughborough Riders in a crucial clash this Saturday.
Hemel had an up and down double-header at the weekend, losing at home against mid-table Bradford Dragons on Saturday but rebounding from that reverse to beat Derby Trailblazers on the Sunday.
The latter scoreline improved their season’s record to 7-2, which leaves them in second place in the National Division One standings.
It sets up a tantalising clash of first versus second this Saturday at Hemel’s Sportspace home.
The Riders are 7-1 on the season, with a game in hand over Hemel.
And the game takes on even more significance because it will act as a dress rehearsal for the National Cup semi-final as Storm have drawn the very same Leicestershire side in the competition’s latter stages which is being played the following Sunday, December 10, at Sportspace (5pm tip-off).
Storm’s season so far has seen some strong showings from their American import AJ Roberts, who top-scored again with 25 points against Bradford on Saturday and chipped in with another 10 at Derby.
The the 6ft 5ins Californian shooting guard played for the Essex Leopards last year where he gained a reputation as a high scorer.
Another key factor in the campaign in 2017 has been the addition of former Great Britain under-20s international Lee Greenan.
Perhaps one of the reasons for Saturday’s defeat was the absence of the towering 7ft centre, who had to miss the game due to a family wedding.
His strong inside presence and rebounding have been key this season and he put in a powerful showing in his return to the side on Sunday with 16 points – including four massive dunks – and a season-high 16 boards.
Head Coach Robert Youngblood said: “Lee was in top form with a scoring and rebounding double-double.”
The tip-off for Saturday’s upper-tier Division One clash is at 7pm.
For tickets or further details, visit the website www.stormbasketball.net.