NBL Under 18s Vs Bristol Storm 2-10-2011

Dorset Storm Under 18s got their season off to a winning start this weekend as they visited Bristol in the National Basketball League.

Match Report

Dorset Storm (19, 12, 20, 13) 64

Bristol Storm (8, 15, 13, 12) 48

The Under 18s fielded a team with a mix of returning players, new players and those coming up from last years Under 15s and Under 16s teams.  Having had a decent preseason the team were playing with confidence heading into the game and would be looking to start their campaign with a good performance.

Storm opened the game with Seb Darby, Gabriel Gordula and Oliver Heath in the frontcourt, whilst David Rudenko and Conor James were paired in the backcourt.  Storm started the game well, with some tough defence being the catalyst for a 10 – 0 run to open the game.  Scores came from six different players in the opening quarter as Storm rotated players in and out quickly early on.  Indeed, playing in a gym with a temperature more likely to found in a sauna than a basketball court in October, Storm had a sloppy last two minutes to the first quarter.  Several cheap fouls later and Bristol had reduced the deficit to 8 – 19 at the end of the first quarter.

Storm started the second quarter well with scoring from a driving Gordula and a strong finish inside by Darby.  After this good start, they somewhat took their foot off the gas as Bristol started to warm up from down town, nailing a total of four threes in the quarter.  Bristol used their newfound momentum to apply more pressure to the basketball at the defensive end, and Storm seemed unwilling to make decisive decisions offensively, which slowed them down further.  Good defensive pressure from Storm eventually slowed the Bristol run as Rudenko sliced his way to the key for two scores to close out the half with Storm ahead 23 – 31.

If there was one area that had been a concern in the preseason games for Storm it was the third quarter, a quarter that they were yet to win.  Heath and James got Storm off to a flying start at the offensive end, and with Darby cleaning the boards Storm opened the third quarter in a positive style.  Michael Stevenson and Joe Butler both continued to apply pressure defensively for Storm who were now playing much better basketball.  Dan Message carried on where Darby left off inside and Jack Kelly applied pressure to the Bristol guards ensuring that they knew he was about 100% of the time.  At the end of the third stanza Storm lead 36 – 51.

Heath again opened the scoring for Storm in the fourth quarter, with Message making the nice pass from the high post.  Storm looked to maintain control of the basketball game and when they kept the ball off the floor and spread the court well they continued to get good looks.  Storm managed to maintain the pressure at the defensive end of the court throughout the quarter, the only real concern would be the number of turnovers that littered a scrappy final quarter from both teams point of view.  Butler added the final basket for Storm as they finished their opening game with a 48 – 64 victory on the road.

On reflection, Storm can be pleased with their opening day display, with their tough defensive performance squeezing the energy out of the Bristol side throughout the game.

Lead coach Luke Kemish said he was happy with the performance, but added: “Everybody contributed today which is great, but don’t be mistaken, we have more to give and won’t settle for being at this level.  Each time we want to be greater than the last time.”

Kemish highlighted the teams success when they controlled the tempo in the game, and set that as a target for training this week.  “We want our players to be quick in what they do on the basketball court, but there is a difference between being quick and hurrying, we’ll work on that this week at training.”

A really good display from the Under 18s, with every player not only gaining valuable experience, but also making a valuable contribution to the final result.  David Rudenkp lead all scorers for Storm, with Seb Darby leading the rebounding effort.  All 10 players collected at least one rebound, nine players scored and nine players finished with an assist so you can see the contributions came from the whole team.

All in all though, a great start for a new team.  Winning away from home is always hard and requires a large amount of intensity, concentration and enthusiasm and Storm showed all of those qualities on Saturday.  Storm will need to make sure that they are ready for next weeks challenge, a second away match of the season this time at UWIC.

Scorers: *Rudenko 20, *Gordula 9, Mahinay 9, Butler 6, Message 6, *James 5, *Heath 4, Stevenson 4, *Darby 3, Kelly.

Note:

You can catch the Under 18s in their first home action of the season on Saturday 15th October at Rossmore LC, 3.30pm tip-off.

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