Hemel Storm’s U18 team came out on top 115-107 against London Westside Rangers after a wonderful basketball game could only be decided after two extra periods of overtime.
The first quarter started with the Londoners – who had beaten Hemel by 22 points earlier in the season – opening up a small lead mainly due to the size of their forwards.
Storm battled back bravely, though, and a pair of lay-ups by Tom Sharpe in quick succession left the scores tied at 16-16 with a minute left.
A long two-pointer from Matt Renshaw gave his side a one-point advantage in the final few seconds, which they took into the first break for an 18-17 lead.
Three quick triples by Westside soon opened up a 10-point lead for the visitors, but successive threes by Storm’s Nick Allin and Lewis Beardsworth hauled it back to just four with four minutes left in the half.
Dan Morton took over in the early minutes of the third period as he scored three consecutive baskets and grabbed three big rebounds.
Five minutes in, the away side still had that four point cushion at 58-54, which they extended to eight after yet more Storm turnovers.
By the end of the period, the away side’s lead was up to a game-high 11 points at 70-59.
But this Storm team are made of stern stuff and they opened the final quarter with triples by Burnell and Allin as a 12-2 run in the home side’s favour saw the visitors’ lead crumble.
Storm looked to have won the game when they led by two with just seconds remaining, but a huge slam dunk right on the hooter by one of London’s giant forwards sent the contest into overtime.
If the crowd thought that was exciting, it was nothing compared to what happened afterwards as the overtime period finished with Morton seemingly laying in the winning basket as time ran out.
However, the officials decided that he had actually released the ball a split second after the hooter had gone.
That meant the game went to a second overtime period and this time it was Burnell who took the game by the scruff of the neck.
He scored no less than 13 points, helped by Sharpe with six, as Storm eventually ran out winners by 115-107.