D1: Trailblazers winning plans blown off track by Storm 24/03/17


Hemel Storm 88 (18, 43, 69)
Derby Trailblazers 72 (17, 34, 56)
NBL Men’s Division One

Derby Trailblazers hope of keeping the momentum of a three game winning streak going ahead of the play-offs were dashed when they fell to an 88-72 away defeat at the hands of Hemel Storm. With the Trailblazers also having lost the reverse fixture against Hemel, it means the Hertfordshire club are the only side Derby have failed to beat in the regular season.

As expected, Hemel was an intimidating place to play and the Trailblazers Head Coach Matt Shaw felt that helped the home team to secure the win:

"Hemel had a great crowd and it's a wonderful atmosphere for them to play in front of and I’m sure their noisy and vocal fans helped them to victory.

“Hopefully that kind of atmosphere is something which can help us next weekend, now that we've secured home advantage in the quarter finals of the play-offs. I know our fans can certainly be noisy and we therefore hope the Wig will be absolutely packed,” he said.

Chris Taylor led Derby with twenty-five points, with Brian Amabilino Perez adding nineteen, but no other Blazers managed to make double figures. Derby were also heavily out-rebounded, with American forward Khapri Alston netting a double-double of nineteen points and thirteen rebounds.

Overall, the Blazers lost the battle on the boards 21-7 at the offensive end and 27-19 at the defensive end and Hemel went on to score a lot of their points from put backs and fast breaks having captured many of their defensive boards.

"Rebounding was certainly one of the key factors which led to the defeat. It was an area in which we really struggled. Hemel got a lot of second chances and often those were converted into points around the basket,” Shaw added.

"We didn't get a lot going offensively. Hemel did a good job of making us take tough shots, so credit to them for that, but we didn't move the ball very well and didn't get into our normal tempo or rhythm.

"I was pleased with the way we battled though. Nothing really seemed to go our way but the guys kept fighting and you have to respect them for that,” he said.

Derby were sluggish out of the blocks and found themselves trailing 11-5 after the opening four minutes, but they managed to pull back, with baskets for Oli Stanley, Brian Amabilino Perez and a triple from Chris Taylor putting them 14-13 ahead by the eighth minute.

Hemel responded with a three-pointer from Carl Josey in the corner, before Taylor netted his third of the game from downtown. However, an offensive put-back from Nick Allin gave the home side an 18-17 lead at the first break.

Derby started the second looking like they meant business, as Adria Amabilino Perez opened his account from long range. An unsportsmanlike foul on Walid Mumuni then sent Brian Amabilino Perez to the line, where he made the bonus shot, but rather than utilising the possession to extend their lead, the Blazers turned the ball over.

Simon Kearney took advantage with a three-pointer, which was the start of a dominant spell for the Storm. Moments later, he beat the shot clock with a two-pointer and after a response from Max Morrison, he added two more, prompting a Derby time-out with 6’44” on the clock and Hemel leading 25-23.

After a baseline lay-up from Brian Amabilino Perez, Hemel went on the rampage, producing an incredible 18-9 run which gave them a 43-34 half time advantage.

The early stages of the third were relatively even, but the momentum swung back in Hemel’s favour after an ugly altercation midway through the quarter.

Derby’s Kayne King and Morrison received technical fouls, with Rhodes and Mumuni being similarly punished for the Storm, but it was the home side who dealt with the issue better. They immediately went on a 10-2 run to lead 64-49.

The run was stopped by a dunk from Brian Amabilino Perez, as Derby hit six straight points, but a triple from Jack Burnell helped Hemel to take a 69-56 lead into the final break.

The Storm then put on something of three-point shooting extravaganza, as they built their lead to 84-59 with five minutes remaining. The Blazers managed to trim the gap slightly, as Stanley produced a good spell late in the game, but it was sadly a case of too little, too late.

Storm: Alston 19, Kearney 13, Josey 10, Burnell 9, Rhodes 8, Adorian 6, Mumuni 6, Darlow 5, Rodwell 4, Yeboah 4, Allin 2.

Derby: Taylor 25, B. Amabilino Perez 19, Morrison 8, Stanley 8, A. Amabilino Perez 5, King 5, Wesselingh 2, Singleton 0, Bowen 0, Ward-Hibbert DNP.

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Sunday’s results are summarised below:

D1 Men: Hemel Storm 88 – 72 Derby Trailblazers
U16 Boys (playoff): Bradford College Dragons 73 – 76 Derby Trailblazers