NBL Under 18s Vs ABC Gwent – 23-10-2010

Match Report

Dorset Storm (22, 17, 22, 9) 70
ABC Gwent (22, 16, 26, 21) 85

Dorset Storms Under 18s opened their National League season against a power house of Welsh basketball – ABC Gwent. Storm, who find themselves playing catch up after several postponements by opponents, were looking to get off to a good start with a completely new look team. With Karl Readhead Reading, Storm had no players from last year’s team available, and with the absence of George Williams, Matthew Lawson and Rory Catton Storm were down to the bare bones of the squad.

Storm opened the match with David Rudenko, Conor James and Oliver Heath at the guard spots whilst Seb Darby and Suthep Craig filled the two inside spots. Storm got off to a good start, as Heath opened the Storm account for the 2010 / 11 season. 90 seconds into his National League debut, Craig took a tumble following a drive to a basket and he hobbled off – he was to play no further part in the contest. Gabriel Gordula quickly put the ball in the basket for Storm to tie things up at four points each, a further triple from Heath and a drive from Rudenko saw Storm edge into the lead. Gwent weren’t to be halted that easily as they attacked the basket at speed on the break to convert several easy lay-ups and draw fouls on Storms recovering defenders. Storm continued to move the ball well offensively and kept up with their visitors. At the end of the quarter there was nothing to separate the teams as the game was tied at 22.

As both teams turned up the heat at the defensive end, a slow start to the second quarter ensued with no score being recorded in the opening couple of minutes. Darby then broke the deadlock as back-to-back scores from him allowed Storm to open up a small lead. Once again Gwent responded with three baskets of their own, forcing a timeout from the home side as they had to regroup. Storm did just that as Gordula and Wren registered scores before Stephen Mahinay closed out the quarter with five personal to give Storm a slender 39 – 38 lead heading into the locker room at half time.

The third quarter opened with good intensity from both teams as they had to fight hard for baskets. At the half way stage of the third quarter, a Mahinay three gave Storm a three point lead but Gwent were still pushing hard and putting their opponents under constant pressure. Storm, though, were still running hard themselves and the game remained poised for a tight finish. Rudenko, Wren and Gordula all scored further baskets as Storm kept moving the ball well and racked up a further five assists for the quarter. The final 90 seconds saw Gwent dominate, and as Storm lost concentration the visitors went on a 9 – 0 run to power into a 61 – 64 lead at the end of the third stanza.

Storm opened the final period with good intent, looking to push the ball quickly up the court. They had mixed success as their eagerness to get lay-ups resulted in a couple if unnecessary turnovers. Storm found their way to the basket as Rudenko and Darby kept the scoreboard ticking over. With Storm short on players, and foul trouble mounting, Rudenko was the first to reach the five foul limit, in the thirty-third minute of the game. Storm were still right in the contest with only a couple of baskets separating the teams. A score from Mahinay then resulted in a change of events as the home side switch off and gave their counterparts several easy scores, off a mixture of offensive rebounds and turnovers. A timeout for the home team did little to stem the flow as Gwent took advantage of their tiring opponents to run up their score into the 80s. In the end the score line flattered the visitors who finished strongly to record an 85 – 70 point victory.

Despite the result, the performance from an incredibly young Storm team allows them to take plenty of positives from the game. Good ball movement and control of the tempo throughout much of the game allowed Storm to get the shots off that they wanted to.� With Suthep Craig sitting out after the opening couple of minutes Storm essentially had a seven player rotation – all of which were young players – and fatigue was always going to be a factor. Nevertheless Storm came out of the game with a lot of credit as coach Kemish reflected:

“The players were impressive today. Yes we have stuff to work on and improve this week, but we kept up with one of the better sides in the league for 34 minutes. We had four players in double figures, Oscar [Gosling] came in and showed he could handle the pressure as a 14 year old that’s great in itself.”

Kemish, who alluded in his weeks match preview to the importance of his team playing for the whole 40 minutes was obviously disappointed with the final quarter:

“We got shown up in the final quarter. We lacked concentration and got punished. I know the players will learn, and they will learn quickly too. They’re a smart bunch who will know what we need to do to improve and will put in the necessary work this week.”

For the home side it is hard to pick out an outstanding performer when all seven of the main rotation playing exceptionally well. All seven rebounded the ball, and passed the ball well throughout. David Rudenko and Gabriel Gordula played particularly solid defence whilst Seb Darby should be given credit for being bashed about by Gwent’s big men but still pulling down more than his fair share of boards. Despite the areas to develop, all in all it was a good start to the campaign for the team.

Storm will be hoping Suthep Craig recovers quickly from his knock in today’s game and is fit to make the trip to Plymouth next week. Storm will also be looking forward to welcoming back their other absent players.

Scorers: Mahinay 17, *Heath 11, *Darby 10, *Rudenko 10, *James 9, Wren 8, Gordula 5, *Craig, Gosling.

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