Battle of the Storms in final game drama

Storm I leapfrog Storm II to top spot after thrilling final match of the season.

In the opening game of the final Solent League tournament of the season Storm II faced Dorchester in the Under 16s competition.  Storm had a slow start, as they quickly fell behind 10 – 3.  An Alex Kapuskinski basket looked like it might spark a come back but Dorchester responded with two more baskets to take a 14 – 5 lead. At the end of the first quarter Storm were struggling to stay in the game, trailing 14 – 7. Storm started the second quarter in fight back mode, as Tom Hennessy and Dominik Awdziekeszyk scored early on.  Through some better defence they slowed the Dorchester attack, reducing the deficit at the half to 20 – 18.  A slow paced third quarter saw both teams miss easy opportunities to take control.  In a quarter with only five field goals scored, Storm finished on top – holding the lead for the first time at 24 – 26.  Another tight final quarter in which both teams made plenty of mistakes ensued.  No score for the opening five minutes of the quarter was followed by a flurry of action in the final two minutes.  After scores from Hennessy, ice cold Kapuskinski nailed three foul shots to give Storm a 28 – 32 victory in the opening game.

Storm II faced Dorchester next, and unlike their opposite number they got off to a flyer.  Five different players got on the score sheet in the opening quarter as they raced into a first quarter lead of 12 – 4.  Dorchester started the second quarter brightly, but an 8 – 0 run mid-way through the period gave Storm a commanding 19 – 7 lead.  By the half, Storms lead was 23 – 17.  In the third quarter Charlie Harland and Bruce Mercieca combined and were able to take the game away from Dorchester, holding a 35 – 20 lead heading into the final stanza.  A tighter fourth quarter followed, but Storm were good value for their 43 – 26 victory.

With both Storm teams winning their opening games, it set up a winner takes all final between the two Storm teams.  After both teams scored in the opening minute, there was a slight lull in the tempo.  Scores from Jordan James and Michael Hester gave Storm I an 8 – 3 lead, before Maykel Patino ran into unopposed lay-ups to bring Storm I back into the game.  At the end of quarter one, Storm II led 8 -7.  Storm I started the second quarter brightly, as scores from Makenzie Lelliott, David Barter and Adrian Uminski gave them a 15  -10 lead.  From that point on it was Kapuskinski that dominated, as he extended his point’s tally to 10 for the half.  Storm II held a 21 – 15 lead at the half.  The third quarter was another tight one.  A scrappy opening few minutes resulted in Storm II still holding a lead at 25 – 17.  In the final two minutes of the quarter an 8 – 0 run from Storm I, resulted in a tied game at 25 heading into the final quarter of the season.  A score from Patino for Storm I was cancelled out by Kapuskinski replying on the next possession for Storm II.  The game continued in this fashion until Harland scored back-to-back baskets for Storm I to give them a 34 – 30 lead.   That was enough, as despite further scores from Kapuskinski Storm II could force their way back into the game.  Over the final couple of minutes Storm I held their nerve from the foul line to take a 38 – 32 victory.

Another great night of basketball to finish the season, which saw Storm I being crowned champions, and Storm II take the runners up spot!  Well done to all the players involved on a great seasons work… let’s hope next season is just as good!

A big thank you also to the parents that helped to put all the chairs away and tidy up at the end of the evening.