HEMEL STORM V TEESSIDE LIONS | NATIONAL CUP RD4 PREVIEW
Teesside Lions travel this Sunday to Hemel Storm, the current ‘Kings of the Court’ in terms of basketball standing in the UK after an outstanding NBL season in 2022-23.
Hemel were unbeaten last season winning the league, playoff final, Kit-King Trophy and National Cup in a remarkable achievement for the Division One club.
The Storm sit fifth in Division One with a 3 win and 2 loss record, most recently a dominant 102-63 victory over Barking Abbey would suggest they have realigned themselves following some early and possibly unexpected losses.
The following day however a 10pt loss to Bradford Dragons in the Kit-King Trophy ended their defence of the silverware.
Storm are still unbeaten in over a year at their Storm Dome and the team will want to maintain that form when the Lions enter on Sunday. The Division One outfit are a high-scoring team and currently average 92pts per game from 47% field goal shooting and 36% from 3pt range.
Teesside will need to be aware of the main two guards in Sam Newman and American Seth Swalve who combine for 30+ ppg. New Zealand native Inger Braiden along with Allen Tez combine to provide four players who are averaging more than 40% from the 3pt line.
German big man Hakeen Silva is a strong finisher inside the paint and currently averages 21ppg.
Across the board Hemel have a strong team of talented players and still one of the best teams in the country outside the BBL.
This will be by far the biggest challenge in Teesside’s short history but it is a challenge they are looking forward to.
Teesside chief James Thomson is looking forward to the test adding:
“Hemel are the current four trophy Champions of UK so there is no bigger test for us than this game. It provides us with an opportunity to see where we are currently at and can we compete at that level. We are aware they have lost three games so can be beaten.”
Teesside are in confident mood following a run of four consecutive wins. A close 3pt loss to former D1 side Manchester Magic at the start of the season is another factor in boosting morale ahead of the weekend as explained by Coach Serge Bojev:
“We lost by 3pts to Manchester who were relegated from Division One, and in many respects we could and should have won this game. We have also improved in many ways since this game. We are looking forward to Sunday and working hard on and off the court to prepare.”
Hemel v Teesside in round four of the National Cup takes place at 5.30pm with updates via Teesside Lions social media pages.