Basketball: East Londoners boost Storm

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Despite the stream of Americans who have been on and off the payroll at Derby Storm this season, the East London connection is helping to resurrect their challenge for the Budweiser League play-offs.

Bryan Balser, signed from his American college last week, watched his former East London Royals and England junior international colleague David Attewell play a key role in Saturday night's 85-76 victory over the Leicester City Riders.

Another English player, Wayne Mulgrave, is also having a growing influence after being a bench warmer at Manchester Giants last season. Derby's coach Jeff Jones said: "We want players who not only help us now but are investments for the future."

Attewell, 6ft 8in, who joined Derby three weeks ago, and Balser, only a little shorter at 6ft 5in, played together at New York's Siena University after leaving East London.

Also watching Saturday's game was the high-scoring veteran international Colin Irish, who is being chased by a number of league clubs after he decided to leave the French team, Cholet.

Derby's run of three league victories came to an end in front of 9,000 spectators at the Nynex Arena last night, where two points from Makeeba Perry six seconds from time gave Manchester Giants a 63-62 win over the Storm.

Chester Jets went to the top of the league by beating Worthing Bears 102-75, while the previous joint leaders, Sheffield Sharks, were losing 88-79 at home to the Leopards.