​Storm see off the Rockets

​Hemel Storm overcame a tricky tie away at Birmingham Rockets, eventually running out comfortable 71-96 victors.
Veron Eze was in great form for Storm. Photo: Leuis Charles.Veron Eze was in great form for Storm. Photo: Leuis Charles.
Veron Eze was in great form for Storm. Photo: Leuis Charles.

​Veron Eze stole the show with a dazzling 27 points, paired with eight rebounds, and it was a determined display by a united roster.

The trip to Rockets presented itself as a real obstacle for a Storm side buzzing off the back of last week’s double winning weekend, as the Rockets came into it in their own good form.

Despite missing Hakeem Sylla through injury, Storm pulled together and produced a dogged display to claim what could be a vital win in their bid to push into the top two and secure a home spot in the post-season quarter and semi-finals.

The first quarter was a scrappy affair as both teams battled for control. It was Storm who took the early upper hand. Darien Nelson-Henry used all his physical presence and wit to grab 13 rebounds and it was he and Eze’s early points that saw the Storm lead to five at the end of the first period: 16-21.

Orlan Jackman deployed himself as a nuisance as ever, and with the help of fellow veteran Sam Toluwase they worked away at the Storm lead. The deficit was reduced to three; fluency and rhythm at a premium within the visitors’ offence.

Tez Allen stepped up at a crucial moment, offering a glimpse at the flow Storm were desperate to discover with back-to-back three pointers and his side led by seven at the break: 35-42.

Birmingham were clinging to the tails of their visitors valiantly, but Matt Disu’s impact from the bench stretched the lead to a commanding 15, adding to Storm’s vital 36 bench points. However, a12-6 run from the hosts pulled the difference to seven heading down the final stretch.

Fourteen final quarter points from Eze was too much for a tiring Birmingham side to deal with, moving him to a game-high 27 points.

Taylor Johnson also had 26 and a well-rounded team display was capped with an impressive 11 Sam Newman assists, as he steadied the Storm ship that threatened to rock at times.

As the final buzzer sounded, another solid weekend’s work was completed and the visitors set off home happy; 71-96 the final scoreline.

Storm now prepare for a home double-header this weekend.

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