NBL Preview – Under 18s versus ABC Gwent

Dorset Storm Under 18s head off to Wales again this weekend as they take on ABC Gwent at Cwmbran Stadium.

Storm will be looking to build on last week’s impressive display against another Welsh club, UWIC Archers.  Saturday’s performance was a big one, for a team who many had thought were dead and buried following successive poor performances against Plymouth and then Bristol.  Lead coach Luke Kemish wasn’t surprised by his team’s reaction:

“The guys came out fighting on Saturday.  We had a point to prove, plenty of people have thrown criticism at us over the past couple of weeks, criticizing the desire and willingness to compete.

What we did defensively was always going to be the key.  We know we have play flat out with 100% intensity and enthusiasm at the defensive end of the court if we are going to be successful.”

It was at the defensive end of the court that Storm did it on Saturday.  They chalked up just one additional point offensively compared to when the teams last met, but held their opponents to 19 less on this occasion.

“Jack and David opened the game aggressively at the defensive end of the court.  We put UWIC under pressure and didn’t let them attack us off the dribble.  Added the fact that we rebounded the ball well then you can see why we were good defensively on Saturday.” Kemish added

A key for Storm was that every player was ready to play, and made valuable contributions to the teams cause.  It was especially important given the fact that no less than five players finished the game on four or more fouls, something that coach Kemish was surprisingly pleased with:

“I challenged them to show me they wanted to play defense.  Over the past couple of weeks we have been so absent at the defensive end we have picked up less than twenty fouls in two games!  Saturday we had 22 by half time, so I guess they took me literally.

It was much easier for us to adjust our intensity down a little than to have to up it… in the second half we successful adjusted our level and played at a level the officials let us.

We set the tone for the game from the first minute in terms of our defensive intensity rather than having to up it during the game.”

Offensively Storm had a balanced scoring attack with nine different players making the score sheet and six of those scoring seven or more.

Last times the teams meet Gwent edged out Storm in a thriller at Rossmore Leisure Centre, and took home a 71 – 80 win.  There then is no excuse this time, as Storm know what they will face when they arrive in Cwmbran on Saturday afternoon.  Gwent have two superstars in the form of Tucker and Kahn who will need to be kept quiet.   A team approach will once again be key, if Storm are going to be successful.

“As our challenges get bigger, then so does the need for us to work well as a team.  We will have to play together and make each other better if we are to be successful this weekend. It won’t be down to one guy to stop Gwent, we will do it as a group.”

The coaches are yet to announce a team for this weekends game, but hope to have a full squad available to select from.

Team from: Jordan Ambrose, Joe Butler, Rory Catton, Seb Darby, Gabriel Gordula, Oliver Heath, Conor James, Jack Kelly, Stephen Mahinay, Daniel Message, Bradley Millatt, Maykel Patino de Andrade, David Rudenko, Michael Stevenson and George Williams.