Hemel Storm edge into play-off final
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The first quarter started with Storm in the ascendancy, taking an early 11-4 lead. Rockets responded well but Hakeem Sylla’s aerial threat aided Storm's progress and they led 29-16 at the end of the quarter.
The Rockets started the second quarter exceptionally, going on a 0-12 run before Storm could get a point on the board for the quarter. In this period, Coach Spinks was forced into a timeout to refocus the minds of the Storm players. The response was much better from Storm who were able to retake the lead and begin to express their dominance, taking a 52-51 lead going into the half-time break
Storm’s Aaryn Rai scored a three pointer to start the third quarter, but it was otherwise a bad quarter for Storm as Rockets took the lead going into the final quarter winning 66-68.
The fourth quarter was the biggest of the season for both teams, who were able to stay within reach of the place in the final.
Impressive hustle and desire from Charles Acquah-Davis gave Storm the lead, much to the delight of the vociferous crowd. Storm took an eight-point lead with 5:15 left, forcing a timeout from Coach Nuruzade. Within a minute, the lead was decreased back to two, swinging the momentum in Reading’s favour.
However, a turnover from Reading saw Sam Newman dunk the ball home and with seconds left, a three-point lead and possession in Storm’s favour, it looked like Reading were going to foul to put Rai on the free throw line.
He spilled the ball out of bounds giving Reading a last possession. As the game clock expired, a three-pointer from Jenkins hit the rim and was rebounded by Rai. This gave Storm an 89-86 victory, continuing their quest to go a whole season unbeaten.Storm now face Worthing Thunder in the final on Sunday (23rd) at 3.30pm at the National Basketball Performance Centre, Manchester.