Lions are tamed as Hemel Storm win on the road
Storm were comfortable winners in the end
Hemel Storm enjoyed a fine win on the road as they returned from BA London Lions with a 106-89 victory.
It looked set to be an interesting battle with both teams near each other in the league table but some good team basketball and discipline helped Vanaram-sponsored Storm seal a success.
The standout performances came from the Americans Taylor Johnson and Greg Poleon - the latter registering a double double with 38 points and 13 rebounds and Johnson scoring 37 points, seven rebounds and eight assists.
It was not until with 5:28 left in the first quarter that Storm scored their first field goal of the game with a Poleon jump shot.
This started a series of consecutive points and Hemel opened up a 10-point lead before the hosts hit back with Storm holding a 27-24 lead at the end of the opening period.
Storm used the quarter break well as they regrouped and started the second quarter with determination and fight.
This ultimately had an impact, especially defensively, as they limited Barking Abbey to only 16 points.
Offensively, Storm moved the ball fast and found openings underneath the basket in between the tiring defence.
Johnson saw a lot of joy, receiving the passes and driving to the basket adding points to the board.
A lay-up from Sam Newman looked to have ended the half, however, Lions scored an unbelievable half-court buzzer beater off the backboard to leave Storm leading 57-43 as the teams headed for the locker rooms.
The hosts started the third quarter pressing Storm up the court but once Storm got past half court, it was a matter of finding a good, open shot to take which they did very well.
The defence of both teams was intense and strong as it resulted in contested shots or turnovers, which both teams used to their advantage.
Storm would usually look to find Poleon or Johnson in and around the three-point line who could comfortably shoot under pressure and drive to the basket.
There were contributions from other team members too. Newman scored 11 points, and although Levi Noel did not score, he got 10 assists.
Storm went into the final quarter with a 78-61 lead and they started well and once Johnson forced an 18-point gap with 5:27 left, the game looked over.
Storm made sure that the win was confirmed by keeping the points gap to double digits and controlling the game on both ends of the court as they ran out comfortable winners.
Storm face a trip to Essex Rebels on Saturday before they return to the StormDome for another meeting with the BA London Lions on Sunday, this time in the National Cup quarter-finals.
Tip off on Sunday is at 5pm and ticketsare available online at www.stormbasketball.net or can be purchased at the door on the night.