Hemel Storm upset Cavaliers to seal play-off final spot

Hemel Storm upset the odds as they defeated second seeds Thames Valley Cavaliers 91-78 to book their place in the NBL Division One play-off final in Manchester

Monday, 11th April 2022, 7:16 am
Hemel Storm were roared on by a large travelling support in their play-off semi-final win at Thames Valley Cavaliers. Picture by Joanne Charles

Having beaten Derby Trailblazers in overtime the previous week, Vanarama-sponsored Storm were up against their local rivals in the semi-finals.

The sixth seeds started well and opened up a 12-4 lead inside the first five minutes but Thames Valley responded to edge the first quarter 22-17.

Cavaliers increased that lead to 10 points but two three-pointers from Sam Newman helped make inroads into that advantage and, going in at half-time, Storm trailed 41-38.

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Storm were looking to close the gap in the third quarter and they did just that.

They began with a 9-2 run and ended the period with a 9-3 run to give themselves a 65-58 advantage and the momentum going into the final quarter.

This was the most important quarter of Storm’s season.

Dru Spinks was forced into a timeout after an AJ Roberts lay-up and it was a good move as Storm went on a 10-0 run to give themselves a 12-point lead with just over five minutes to play.

Despite Thames Valley’s best efforts to get back in the game, Storm took control in the final two minutes of the game, taking advantage of missed shots from the Cavaliers, leaving them with no other choice but to commit fouls to slow down the game clock.

Fortunately for Storm, their free throw accuracy was good enough to extend the lead to double digits, leaving them to see out the game.

Storm were roared on by a big contingent of fans who made the trip to Uxbridge and it means they are now through to the Play-off Finals where they will face league champions Solent Kestrels at the National Basketball Performance Centre in Manchester on Sunday, April 24.Storm have one more home game which is an exhibition against Great Britain Over 35s on Saturday (7pm tip).

This will see the return of former Storm players Spud Kearney, Tom Adorian and Walid Mumuni as well as acknowledging Bode Adeluola’s 10 years of service to the club on Saturday 16th April, 7pm tip. Tickets are available at the door, on the night or in advance at www.stormbasketball.net​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​