NBL Under 18s Vs Plymouth 17-03-2012

The season ended today for Storms Under 18s, losing 67 – 82 to Plymouth who were crowned champions. More importantly, a set of truly inspirational players took part in their final ever junior game… Thanks for the journey!

Match Report

Dorset Storm (14, 22, 19, 12) 67

Plymouth Marjons (19, 18, 27, 18) 82

Dorset Storm Under 18s welcomed Plymouth Marjons to Rossmore Leisure centre for their final game of the 2011-12 season.  A good week at training, carried over with a relaxed atmosphere surrounding the court as the players arrived for their warm up.

Storm opened the game with Jack Kelly, David Rudenko and Conor James in the backcourt, while Joe Butler and Seb Darby were paired in the frontcourt.  Storm started well defensively as they contested shots early on from the perimeter and rebounded the ball well.  It was Plymouth who did find their groove quicker than Storm, as they were allowed to take the ball to the basket too easily as the quarter progressed and opened up a 10 – 3 lead.  A triple from Darby, reduced the deficit, and Oliver Heath scored two in a row to tie the game at 10. Rudenko drew a charge and Patino blocked a shot to help Storm improve at the defensive end.  Plymouth then replied with a couple of scores inside before a Patino three ball helped Storm come back again.  One more basket for each side in the final minute of the quarter saw Storm end the quarter trailing 14 – 19.

Storm had a better start to the second quarter, with Heath coming out firing again, the game was quickly tied at 19.  Jack Kelly was back in the game after picking up two early fouls and was making his presence felt with a couple of outstanding assists setting his team mates up for scores alongside his normal tenacious defence. Conor James and David Rudenko kept the score ticking over for Storm, before Stephen Mahinay nailed back-to-back threes.  Seb Darby was controlling the boards for Storm, and the change of defence was limiting Plymouths penetration into the heart of Storms defence. At the half time interval, a single point separated the teams.

Both teams started the second half in tentative fashion, as turnovers and missed shots filled the opening minutes.  It was Plymouth who found their form first, going on a 5 – 0 run to open the half.  Butler responded for Storm along the baseline, before Darby and Mahinay scored either side of a Plymouth free throw.  A few slack defensive possessions from Storm allowed Plymouth to score eight unanswered points leading to a Storm timeout.  Out of the timeout, Mahinay got open on the wing to nail another three ball and Brad Millatt provided some valuable minutes cover inside despite being injured.  Storm though couldn’t reduce the deficit as a Rudenko basket completed the third quarter scoring for Storm, who trialled 55 – 64 at the end of the stanza.

Plymouth opened the scoring in the final quarter, but Patino responded for Storm getting to the foul line.  Storm opened the quarter looking more solid defensively, as the teams continued to trade blows.  An 8 – 0 run in the middle part of the quarter gave Plymouth their largest lead at 17 before Mahinay nailed three ball number six!  Butler and Darby added further scores, as Storm continued to fight hard.  As the final two minutes approached, a five of Rudenko, James, Mahinay, Heath and Darby took to the floor for the final time together, as everybody in the sports hall showed their appreciation.  In the end Storm lost the game, 67 – 82 but they never stopped fighting and gave a good account of themselves.  The win ensured Plymouths league championship.

For Storm Stephen Mahinay, Seb Darby and Oliver Heath all scored in double figures, whilst Darby also pulled in 15 rebounds.  The backcourt pair of Jack Kelly and David Rudenko, that has flourished as a partnership as the season has gone on, took great care of the ball and both players dished out five assists. Lead coach Luke Kemish was pleased with the final game:

“We played pretty well today, defensively we fought hard and did everything we could to make life hard for Plymouth.  We were competitive for all 40 minutes, they didn’t really get away from us until the middle part of the final quarter.

I thought it was a good way to finish what has been a decent season in a tough league. We have come a long way since September and have punched well above our weight especially in the second half of the season.”

Kemish was full of praise for the five senior guys, who played their final junior game:

“The senior guys, deserved to go out with a game like this.  When they move on in September there is going to be a huge hole left.  It has been a privilege to work with these five guys over the past three seasons.  The final couple of minutes was really emotional, hopefully they’ll remember those special minutes for a long time.”

A huge thank you to all the support in this game from the player’s family, Under 14s and Under 12s, not only in this game, but also throughout the season.

Scorers: Mahinay 19, *Darby 16, Heath 11, *Rudenko 6, *Butler 6, Patino 5, *Kelly 4, *C. James 2, Millatt, J. James (DNP), Stevenson (DNP).