Storm make it six in a row by beating Worthing
Taylor Johnson’s return was the pre-game talk of the town just months ago.
A fast start with dominating defense stifled the hosts and took the game away, meaning a late Worthing charge acted as mere consolation with Storm allowing themselves to relax knowing full well the result was secure.
Encouragingly for Storm and coach Clark on a night where the roster was limited to eight through injuries to Jack Burnell and Brayden Inger, the whole squad stepped up to ensure their absence wasn’t felt; Veron Eze top scoring with 20 and Kavell Hawes impressing with the opportunity at an extended period on the floor.
Johnson took just six seconds to make his presence felt, securing the first points of the game with a well-rehearsed lay-in straight from tip. He hit eight of Storm’s first 12 as Thunder struggled to settle and adapt to stem the flow of Storm’s offense, with fellow new recruit Darien Nelson-Henry also starting fast, using his height and smarts to cause some issues, and Eze finished the quarter with a blast to secure a ten-point first quarter deficit.
Storm used some strong defence as a catalyst for their offense and truly the hosts never had a grip on the game, with the visitors pulling all the strings on Worthing’s home court. Hemel dominated the inside battle at both ends and the Thunder had to rely on their outside game to keep them in the tie; Storm gradually pulling away to lead 58-35 at the break.
Storm rather coasted through the third period after an early Mark Clark timeout to realign his troops and continued to edge away taking the quarter by eight and extended the lead to 31. As the fourth quarter arrived, it was about game management and experimentation for a Storm side who were confident of another convincing win, but they will be frustrated at some sloppy play and a missed opportunity at a statement result.
The final score saw them 20-point victors at 77-97 but they knew it should have been many more, which would have truly informed the league at the potential of the new-look side.
Next up it’s a trip to bottom side Barking Abbey.