Hemel Storm sealed victory in the final seconds of a game for the second successive week on Saturday.
They triumphed 76–74 against Westminster Warriors in a scrappy National Trophy clash in Londo.
The previous week Hemel won with a three-point shot at the buzzer against Essex Leopards and on Saturday they led by two points with seven seconds to go after centre Tom Adorian sank two free-throws. Following a time-out Westminster attempted a shot but the ball hit the basket and bounced out.
Storm are now top of their four team Trophy pool with a 2 and 0 record and will play London Lituanica at Sportspace on Saturday for a place in the semi-finals, tip-off at 7pm.
If Hemel win then they are automatically through but if they lose they will be in a three-way tie and qualification will depend on points difference between the teams.
The first quarter ended 25-25 as Storm’s free-flowing attacks were rounded off by the inside scoring and rebounding of Wayne Yeboha whose tireless work netted him a team leading 11 rebounds, and the three-point shooting of Jack Burnell and Leon Hentry.
But Hemel struggled to contain the home team’s drives to basket so Coach Dave Allin adjusted his team’s defence in the second quarter to disrupt Westminster’s offence and create fast break opportunities. The visitors took a six point lead into the half-time break.
The Warriors edged a carbon-copy third quarter 20–19 and the teams traded baskets throughout the final period before the tense finish.
“We were very relieved to come away with a win,” said Coach Allin. “We struggled to consistently execute our offence and our defence allowed far too much penetration. But I was pleased with the way the team stuck together and ground out a win and it was great to get five players scoring in double figures again.
“I should also give credit to Westminster who played hard for 40 minutes and I suspect will surprise a few teams on their home court.”
Storm’s team and scorers: Henry 15, Burnell 15, Adorian 12, Yeboah 12, Mumuni 11, Duru 7, Rodwell 2, Darlow 2, Allin, Ejele, Castro, Williams.
More information and tickets for Saturday’s game at: www.stormbasketball.net