NBL Under 18s Vs UWIC 03-12-2011

Storm dig deep to get result versus Welsh powerhouse.

Match Report

Dorset Storm (22, 8, 16, 17) 63

UWIC Archers (10, 16, 8, 14) 48

Dorset Storm Under 18s faced UWIC Archers on Saturday in a game that would test the character and mental strength of the Poole based team.  Coming off back-to-back poor performances the players would need all of their willpower and togetherness as a group to put in a good performance.  Storm were pleased to have Seb Darby available, having made great progress following his ankle injury.  However, Storm still entered the game as clear underdogs due to their recent performances and would also have to play without regular starter Conor James who had run away with Dorothy. (Not sure that’s right?!)

This meant that David Rudenko joined Jack Kelly and Gabriel Gordula in the backcourt, while Oliver Heath and Seb Darby made up the front court.  Storm, who had been talking about nothing other than defensive intensity all week, set the tone early on as any time UWIC put the ball on the floor they would be met with an aggressive Storm presence.  Storm continued to put pressure on their opposition and steals from Kelly and Rudenko resulted in transition scores for the home side.  Good patience on offensive was then rewarded with open shots for the home side as they controlled the tempo for the opening seven minutes forcing UWIC to call a timeout with the score 11 – 4.  Storm didn’t let up yet though with Gordula, Darby and Jordan Ambrose all adding further scores in the closing minutes.  Good defensive intensity kept the visitors away from the hoop and shooting contested shots, and a Kelly buzzer beater saw Storm take a 22 – 10 advantages into period number two.

Storm would need to maintain their intensity and concentration if they were to repeat their opening quarter performance, something that would always be tricky against a talented UWIC side.  Storm didn’t have the best of starts as Darby and Rudenko both picked up their third personal fouls within three minutes of the quarter, so they joined Heath on the bench with three.  Storm had to battle, the players scrapped and fought for everything on the court with Maykel Patino and Michael Stevenson maintain the defensive energy for Storm.  A major blow for Storm came when Heath picked up his fourth foul 30 seconds after entering the court. Storm were struggling at the offensive end, and by the sixth minute UWIC had closed the gap to 24 – 22 as Storm took their second timeout of the quarter.  Out of the timeout Gordula and Mahinay took control more, and Patino and Ambrose added scores on consecutive offences to settle some nerves.  Mahinay then joined the three (or more) foul club on the bench.   UWIC got the score back to 28 – 26 before Joe Butler and Gordula split a pair of foul shots each to see Storm hold a 30 – 26 half time lead.

Storm opened the third quarter knowing that the job was far from finished and they would need all of their concentration and enthusiasm to see the game through.  After a couple of nervy possessions from both sides, Rudenko joined Heath on the bench as a member of the four foul club.  Storm though weren’t to lose concentration and some outstanding effort at the defensive end saw them challenge every shot fromUWIC and then box out and rebound hard against a much bigger side.  Storm kept their opponents scoreless for over six minutes in the period, meaning they could score 12 unanswered points.  UWIC came fighting back with a 6 – 0 tear of their own, but Gordula – who epitomised the effort put in by Storms players – ended the run and ensured a calm finish to the period for the home side as they finished 46 – 34 ahead.

The fourth quarter was always going to be Storms biggest challenge, having put in a huge effort to get themselves into their current position the players appeared in no mood to give it up easily now.  Storm lost the important Gordula after a couple of minutes to cramp, but Storm didn’t let up. Kelly continued to set the tone defensively with yet another steal, and with Mahinay, Ambrose and Heath all connecting from downtown Storm opened up a 20 point lead.  With Mahinay and Rudenko fouling out just past the hallway mark, UWIC saw an opportunity to pounce, as the visitors extended their pressure up the court, but Storm dealt with this calmly and continued to take good care of the basketball.  Heath was key offensively for Storm as he scored nine points in the quarter.  UWIC got the deficit back to 11, but with Gordula returning to the court he got to the foul line and Storm eventually spread the court and moved the ball well to see the potentially tricky final couple of minutes out.  Storm finished the game winning 63 – 48.

For Storm holding UWIC to sufficiently fewer points than the previous meeting was a welcome reward and a key to the games final result as assistant coach Jill Kemish explained:

“Our intensity defensively is key, our energy and effort at the defensive end sets the tone for our whole approach to the game.  Yes we picked up 33 fouls, but we did that trying to play defence.  You couldn’t fault our effort today, and technically we got better as the game went on.”

For Storm it was a total team effort, with all 10 players seeing significant court time, and some of the younger players stepping up and grabbing their opportunity with both hands.  Jordan Amrbose led the way for the rookies with 11 points, with Jack Kelly just behind on nine and Maykel Patino on seven.

A player that sometimes flies underneath the radar was inspirational for Storm as Gabriel Gordula fought through fatigue and cramp to lead the younger players, especially in a tough third quarter.

 “Gabriel had a great game, he led by example on the court and did whatever it took for the team to get the win.” Said Kemish.

Storm will want to continue their momentum throughout the rest of December as they face ABC Gwent and Wiltshire over the next two weekends.

Scorers: *Heath 11, *Gordula 11, Ambrose 11, *Kelly 9, Mahinay 7, Patino 7, *Darby 4, *Rudenko 2, Butler 1, Stevenson.

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