NBL Under 18s Vs UWIC 12-02-2012

Storm score 89 and still lose, as lack of defence proves costly!

Match Report

Dorset Storm (28, 24, 17, 20) 89

UWIC Archers (23, 31, 16, 20) 90

Dorset Storm Under 18s headed off to the Welsh Capital to take on UWIC Archers in the National League.  Storm headed into the game full of confidence, following three good performances to open 2012.  The team was missing regular starter Seb Darby, but still travelled with a strong looking team.

The regular backcourt of Jack Kelly, David Rudenko and Conor James took to the floor for Storm, with Oliver Heath joined by Dan Message in the back court.  It wasn’t the best start for the visitors, who ran in a layup on the opening play, but managed to leave two UWIC players open to run in a layup of their own seconds later.  With two minutes gone, and both teams playing casual defence, the score was already 7 – 9.  Both teams continued to trade baskets, which was a concern for Storm who certainly don’t have a favourably record in high scoring affairs!  Scores from Stephen Mahinay and Heath saw Storm take a 23 – 28 lead into the second quarter.

Storm knew they would need to do a better job of slowing down their opponents if they were to give themselves a chance in the game.  Conceding a further six points in the opening two minutes didn’t set a positive tone for the quarter.  Regardless of Storms defensive tactics, UWIC consistently got open looks at the basket and poured the points in.  At one point in the quarter UWIC nailed four consecutive triples, as part of a 16 – 2 run.  Mahinay and Heath continued to score for Storm, but it was predictable that Storm would be trailing in a high scoring game and by the half the score was 54 – 52.

Storm opened the second half with further half hearted transition defence, as UWIC ran back-to-back fast break layups.  An early Storm timeout had the desired effect as James, Message and Joe Butler all scored baskets.  The UWIC charge continued though, as their guards consistently found ways to the basket and converted inside.  James and Rudenko did their best to get Storm going defensively, but they lacked any real support from their teammates.  A Mahinay half court prayer banked in on the buzzer to give Storm hope, but at the end of the third Storm still trailed 70 – 69.

Heading into the fourth quarter Storm were in a position that seems to favour them – the underdog.  It was the home team though that came out firing, as they continued to put the ball in the basket scoring 10 consecutive points to take a 80 – 69 lead.  Offensively, some ill advised perimeter shots and lack of ball movement hurt Storm.  Message and Rudenko helped Storm fight back with some good play together as combined to score baskets in a 8 – 2 Storm run.  Despite some better work defensively, Storm still trailed by seven heading into the final couple of minutes.  In the end, Storm ran out of time to reduce the deficit further, and two triples in the final minute from Mahinay trimmed the gap.  Despite UWIC missing two foul shots at the death, an offensive rebound prevented them from getting a final look at the UWIC basket.

For Storm there can be few complaints.  Seven UWIC players hit double figures, and they outrebounded Storm by more than 20 boards.   As usual, what is a great game from the stands was a frustrating one from the coach’s point of view, as coach Kemish explained after the game.

“In reality, we didn’t deserve to win this game.  It’s all very well putting the ball in the basket, but it’s no good if you then let your opponent come down the other end and get an easy basket back.

It frustrating, as since November we have been much better defensively.  Today though, nobody wanted to take responsibility.  If you really want to do something you find a way; today we looked for an excuse… we should have learnt more from our first half mistakes, but were too busy denying that we made them.

Offensively we were about as good as we are going to be in all honesty.  We just couldn’t knuckle down and get stops defensively.

We tried to explain to the players that today’s display was a carry on from the week we have had at training – sloppy and lazy.  I know the players were disappointed, and I am sure our senior players will set the tone in training this week and we will look back at this performance as a ‘learning experience’! If we do that that then I will be happier.”

For Storm Stephen Mahinay and Oliver Heath both netted some big scores, but David Rudenko and Conor James were the standout performers both netting 10 points to go along with four steals and three assists. Dan Message stepped up and had his best game of the season, netting nine points to go with four boards.

Storm won’t have long to wait to show their bouncebackability as they will entertain the high flying ABC Gwent at Rossmore Leisure Centre next Saturday, tip-off 3.30pm.

Scorers: Mahinay 30, *Heath 26, *C. James 10, *Rudenko 10, *Message 9, Patino 2, Butler 2, *Kelly, J. James.