NBL Under 18s Vs Gwent 18-02-2012

Storm left heartbroken as buzzer beater sends them to defeat

Match Report

Dorset Storm (10, 20, 22, 18) 70

ABC Gwent (20, 8, 18, 27) 73

Dorset Storm Under 18s headed into Saturday’s game against ABC Gwent as second favourites.  The Welsh based side are one of the leagues top three teams and have been in good form in 2012.  Storm came into the game following a one point defeat to UWIC last weekend, and had been let down by several players who obviously have little respect for their teammates.

Storm opened the game with a starting line up that saw Conor James, David Rudenko and Jack Kelly in the backcourt, whilst Oliver Heath was joined by Joe Butler in the frontcourt.  Gwent started the better of the two teams as they executed their set play to get two layups in the opening couple of minutes.  Rudenko responded for Storm from the foul line, as the home side then rallied to take a 7 – 6 lead.  Storm then forced the issue offensively and some sloppy possessions and transition defence allowed Gwent to go on a 6 – 0 tear forcing Storm to call a timeout.  Although the timeout had its desired effect Gwent still controlled the tempo of the game as they took a commanding 10 – 20 lead into the quarter break.

Storm started the second quarter well as Rudenko and Heath added scores, whilst Michael Stevenson and Jordan James added energy defensively.  Stevenson added a score of his own later in the quarter, moments later Seb Darby sliced his way to the basket to reduce the deficit to 17 – 24.  Storm were now starting to believe in themselves, as they rebounded the ball well and were moving the ball well offensively. Butler fought his way down the lane for two more points, and with Conor James playing great defence Storm had brought the score back to 25 – 26 with two minutes to play.  Storm continued to battle hard and fight for everything and by the half time interval Storm took a 30 – 28 lead into the locker room.

Storm opened the second half in unusual fashion, shooting two foul shots before inbounding the ball at half court.  Despite the different start to the second half, it was Storm who came out the stronger in the second half.  Jack Kelly added to his stifling defence of Gwent’s guards with a basket of his own.  Defensively Storm were looking good, as Patino continued to harass Gwent’s guards effectively.  Darby, Butler and Rudenko did a nice job of cleaning the boards up defensively.  A Patino score off a dish inside from Conor James gave Storm their biggest lead at 49 – 41.  Gwent kept on firing though, as both sides exchanged blows in the final minutes of the quarter.  Heading into the final stanza Storm led 52 – 44.

Gwent came out in the fourth quarter with renewed fight as they scored six points across the opening three minutes.  Offensively, Storm were playing some sloppy basketball once again, with the ball hitting the floor far too often.  A Storm timeout helped to slow the Gwent onslaught, but when Gwent scored on the following possession, the game was tied at 52.  Heath and Rudneko stepped up for the home side at the offensive end as they both got to the foul line having attacked the hoop.  Defensively Storm were still looking solid, but Gwent were moving the ball more, stretching Storms defence.  Over a four minute period Gwent nailed four triples, on each occasion Storm responded with a basket of their own but, Gwent’s accuracy from downtown saw them take a 64 – 68 lead into the final 90 seconds.  Out of a Storm timeout, Heath nailed two in transition and Storms full court pressure gave Gwent a few problems to deal with.  Gwent scored on their second possession giving them a 66 – 70 lead.  Heath again found himself open inside and was fouled, cool as Picasso’s painting hand he nailed them both, 68 – 70 Gwent 30 seconds to go.  Storms full court pressure paid off again as Darby stole the ball at half court and ran in a lay-up on the break, game tied at 70.  Gwent stepped out of bounds on their next possession giving Storm the ball back with 14 seconds.  Storm though failed to get a shot off and Gwent found themselves at the foul line with six second remaining.  Both free throws missed for Gwent, and a scramble for the rebound followed.  Out popped the ball to Gwent at the three-point line, and with the ball heading towards the hoop the buzzer sounded… swish.  Storm fell to a 70 – 73 defeat.

In another thrilling game for the supporters along the side line Storm left the court with inevitable mixed feelings.  David Rudenko led all scores for Storm, backed up by Oliver Heath but with eight players in total scoring for Storm a balanced offensive attack was important.  Seb Darby, Joe Butler, David Rudenko and Conor James all pulled down at least six rebounds highlighting the good team effort at both ends of the court.  Jack Kelly was outstanding defensively once again, along with Maykel Patino and a host of other players who stepped up to challenge Gwent’s guards.  After the game, Lead coach Luke Kemish was unquestionable proud of his players efforts:

“Today’s performance was outstanding from the guys.  They stepped up and fought together throughout the 40 minutes… don’t forget that we were 11 points down in the first quarter we showed real heart and desire to come back, other teams would have folded then and there.

The players can go home tonight, and feel really proud of their effort.  We were let down by a couple of players, but the remaining guys really pulled together and played a great game.

I think we should highlight their reaction at the buzzer.  Despite the manner in which they lost, the players were gracious in defeat and their actions and attitude speaks louder than words.”

A huge thank you to the noisy support from the side line, and to Under 14s player Tom Storey who was willing to step and be part of the Under 18s team for the afternoon.

Scorers: *Rudenko 25, *Heath 17, Darby 9, *James C. 6, *Butler 5, *Kelly 4, Stevenson 2, Patino 2, James, Storey.