NBL Under 18s Pre-Season Friendly – 09-10-2010

Match Report

Dorset Storm 61

Cavs All Stars 60

Saturday saw Dorset Storm Under 18s take on a Cavs All Star team in a pre-season friendly on at Rossmore Leisure Centre. The game was the first outing for the new look team this season, as the team took on some high calibre players from Senior Local league teams. The Under 18s – who had only Karl Readhead returning from last years team – were missing Rory Catton and Matthew Lawson for this pre-season match.

Lead Coach Luke Kemish opened the game with Suthep Craig and Seb Darby in the front court with David Rudenko, Oliver Heath and Conor James in the back court. Storm started well, as early baskets from James and Heath gave them an early 4 – 0 lead. Some good defensive pressure saw the All Star team rush shots which were well rebounded by the Storm team. For much of the quarter Storm moved the ball with purpose and created open shots for themselves with Mahinay and Heath knocking down open shots regularly. The most impressive thing about the opening quarter was the defensive intensity as Storm held the All Stars to just six points.

Storm opened the second quarter in much too casual fashion, as the All Stars lived up to their name, and even with a missed breakaway dunk quickly got themselves back in the game. Storm got back on track mid-way through the quarter with the help of James and Rudenko. George Williams and Craig Wren also played some useful defence, keeping the pressure on the All Stars guards. Despite a little wobble at the end of the quarter Storm kept their noses in front, leading by just three points.

At the start of the second half Karl Readhead looked at his best as he found space inside and cleaned the glass at the defensive end of the court. Darby continued to be solid at both ends for Storm knocking down the shot from the baseline with consistency. Storm battled hard throughout the quarter, although lack of focus plagued periods of play, something that clearly frustrated coach Kemish as he regularly watched his team give away easy baskets undoing their hard work of the previous few minutes. At the end of the quarter the All Stars had taken control of the game, leading by seven points.

Storm entered the final quarter wanting to improve their defensive intensity, and Gabriel Gordula did just that. Gordula also added a nice floater in the lane to bring Storm back into the game. Storm continued to move the ball offensively and scores from Readhead, Darby and Heath kept Storm going throughout the quarter. With a little over 90 seconds of the game remaining Storm were up by one. A couple of scoreless possessions followed, before a put-back from Kevin James proved it wasn’t about age, but attitude as he gave the All Stars a 59 – 58. Storm produced a measured offence, as Mahinay drained a three from the corner to give Storm a 61 – 59 lead. Both teams had another scoreless possession, before a pair of split foul shots reduced the deficit to just one point for the All Stars. Storm only had to inbound the ball with 2.2 seconds remaining, and a despite the lob pass being deflected Storm scrambled the ball away to take the game by a single point, 61 – 60.

Lead coach Luke Kemish was quick to point out that the result was the least important thing his team could take from this game:

“We had a really good workout today. I really pleased that all the players stepped up and against a tough opposition. We played hard for each other, it wasn’t a perfect performance but it was a huge step in the right direction. It was great to see an egoless performance from an Under 18s team.

Our defensive intensity was high for large periods of the game and we took good care of the basketball too. We haven’t finished improving yet, make no mistake the players have a lot more to give, this is just the start of this years journey.”

When pressed on the result Kemish commented:
“We kept our composure well, when under pressure in the final few minutes a lot of that confidence comes from the close games the players won in the Under 16s league last year.”

Coach Kemish will be keen to see his players build on this performance at training this week before playing their final pre-season match on Thursday evening, in a rematch of Saturday’s game.