Hemel’s second team snatched a dramatic overtime win, 81-80, over London Lewisham Thunder at Hemel’s JFK School on Sunday to move into the National League Division Four playoff spots.
It was a sluggish start for the hosts, who struggled to cope with the visitors’ size and offensive power.
By the end of the first quarter Thunder had a 10-point lead, 27-17.
It didn’t get better in the second as the lead was extended to 17.
Storm II boss Dave Allin made a defensive adjustment and a collective effort restricted Thunder’s scoring to trigger an 11-2 run to cut the lead to six at half-time.
London responded after the break and stretched the lead back to 15. With several of Hemel’s team in foul trouble the chances of another comeback looked slim but a change to a smaller line-up and a scoring spree from veteran guard and former first-team captain Simon ‘Spud’ Kearney closed the gap to five.
In a tense last quarter Hemel continued to chip away at the lead and two free-throws from Kearney tied the game at 69-69 with just a few seconds left to force overtime.
Storm’s Daryl Craine scored the first points in the extra period to give the hosts their first lead since the opening play and the turnaround looked to be complete when Kearney converted a jump shot for a four-point lead. But Thunder replied to tie the scores at 75-75 to set-up a nail-biting final two minutes.
Hemel edged back into the lead, forcing the visitors to foul. Two free-throws from Nick Allin restored a four-point edge with seconds remaining. A long three-pointer from London cut the gap to one but there was no time left.
Coach Allin said: “It’s not often a team can recover from a significant deficit twice in a game.
“Spud was terrific but it was pure desire and collective effort at the defensive end that turned things around for us.”
Storm: Simon Kearney 31, Nick Allin 19, Daryl Craine 11, Shaun Allin 10, Raj Patel 5, Ben Pearce 4, Mike Coumas 1, Dominic Charles, Ewan Kassir.