Following Saturday’s dramatic overtime victory against Leicester Warriors, Hemel Storm were quickly back in action as they secured a last gasp win at local rivals Essex Leopards on Sunday.
The first quarter was tight the whole way until Storm grabbed a bit of breathing space when some late scores gave them a 28-20 lead.
They increased this to 12 early in the second quarter but, with some very strange decisions coming from the referees, Essex got the scores back level at 44 apiece with two minutes left in the half.
Hemel ended by taking a precious two-point lead into the locker room at half-time as they edged 48-46 ahead.
Halfway through the third quarter there was still nothing between the two sides as they were locked at 59-59, however a three-pointer right on the buzzer by Michael Darlow saw Storm finish the quarter with a formidable looking eight-point lead at 73-65.
But back came the Leopards, and three minutes into the final period it was tied once again at 73-73.
With just one minute left and the score locked at 83-all, a succession of missed free-throws by Storm looked like it would cost them dearly.
But they eked out a two-point lead and, with Essex missing a last gasp three-pointer, it was the visitors that took the honours 87-85.
Acting Storm head coach Dave Allin said: “The guys were shattered and showed great character to close out both games over the weekend.
“We know there’s lots of room for improvement but we showed we can stick together even when things are not going well and I’m confident we’ll build on this crucial quality.”
Elsewhere, Worthing Thunder’s last gasp win against Reading Rockets in the final National Trophy pool game means that Hemel finish third in the table and will travel to Manchester Magic in the quarter-finals.
Storm’s next home game is at Sportspace on Saturday against Team Northumbria in a National League Division One game, tip-off 7pm.