​Storm down Rockets in style

​Hemel Storm returned to winning ways with an impressive 92-60 victory against the COB Rockets in what was the final home game of 2023.
Brayden Inger was in excellent form for Storm. Photo: TGD Visuals.Brayden Inger was in excellent form for Storm. Photo: TGD Visuals.
Brayden Inger was in excellent form for Storm. Photo: TGD Visuals.

​An exceptional first 15 minutes of the game proved to drive the home side into a comfortable lead, leaving the visitors from the West Midlands with no response to Storm’s high intensity.

From the first action of the game it was clear to see the team who were in the ascendancy. The reliable Hakeem Sylla was dominating in the paint against his opposite number - Commonwealth Gold Medallist Orlan Jackman. A couple of triples from Kiwi Brayden Inger was an ominous sign of things to come, alongside intense defence particularly from Tez Allen, forced Coach Nuno Rodrigues of the Rockets into an early timeout.

Despite the attempt to stop Storm’s momentum, the hunger of the home side remained, defending as a unit and capitalising off mistakes from the Rockets, who struggled to form any scoring runs. This gave Storm a 28-15 lead at the end of the quarter.

If there were any hopes from the visitors that Storm would slow down their impressive run, they swiftly diminished as the hosts crafted together a 12-4 run, but they started to relax with complacency starting to slip through and what could have been a 35-plus point lead at half time was 25 as Storm went into the half time break leading 48-23.

The third quarter saw the away side who came out with nothing to lose, implementing a full court press on Storm to force the home side into mistakes.

Once Storm did beat the first phase of full court press, this opened up gaps in the Rockets defence, with key assists from Sam Newman, who would finish with an all-round performance of 12 points, 13 assists and five steals. Storm went into the final ten minutes of play leading 69-42.

The game looked to have been won by the fourth quarter, giving Storm the chance to rotate players from the roster. The game finished 92-60, with Storm taking an important victory and a boost going into their final game of 2023 away at Nottingham Hoods on Saturday.

Top Scorers: Brayden Inger 26, Hakeem Sylla 22, Seth Swalve 14.

Storm’s first home game of 2024 is on January 6 when current league leaders Essex Rebels visit the StormDome at 7pm.