NBL Under 18s Vs Bristol Storm – 06-11-2010

Match Report

Dorset Storm (23, 20, 18, 25) 86
Bristol Storm (21, 0, 12, 14) 47

An area of low pressure was heading for Rossmore Leisure Centre, as two Storms battled it out in the Under 18s National League on Saturday afternoon. It was a return to home for Dorset Storm, who would be looking to continue their run of good performances against their namesake from Bristol. The home team would be without Suthep Craig who was still nursing a knock picked up in the opening game of the season, however, the team could welcome George Williams into the side for his first appearance of the season.

Storm opened with a back court of Conor James, Oliver Heath and David Rudenko whilst Seb Darby was joined up front by Gabriel Gordula in the absence of Craig. Storm knew the importance of a quick start in front a subdued home crowd and with Gordula slashing to the basket and converting the and-one Dorset held a early 3 – 2 lead. The visitors where placing the home side under plenty of pressure and Dorset threw the ball away too cheaply early on as Bristol quickly took a 3 – 9 lead forcing an early timeout from the home side. With Dorset now far more composed, scores from Darby, Karl Readhead and Craig Wren brought the home side back into the game at nine apiece. Bristol continued to attack the home side. Through a combination of good ball handling from the visitors and over-aggressiveness to get steals from the home side Bristol regularly found themselves a way to the hoop as Storm got themselves into some early foul problems. The home side continued to fight and move the ball offensively as two triples from Stephen Mahinay and Gordula handed the home side a 23 – 21 lead at the end of the stanza.

Neither side opened the second quarter particularly well, as early handling errors meant Dorset couldn’t capitalise on some good defensive work. On the back of some good defensive work Heath converted on the break for the opening score of the quarter some three minutes into the second quarter. Mahinay nailed another jumper before Heath and Gordula added another basket each as Storm scored eight points without reply. The homeside continued to play aggressive defence and force their opponents into tough, contested shots which was then backed up by solid rebounding from all five players on the court. A Bristol timeout could yield no answers for the visitors as Dorset continued to dominate at the defensive end of the court. Great ball and player movement at the offensive end of the court allowed Dorset to rack up further baskets as the half drew to a close. At the half, Dorset led 43 – 21 and had amazingly held their opponents scoreless during the whole of the second quarter.

Despite building up a commanding lead the home side knew that they would have to concentrate for another 20 minutes to ensure that the job was done well. Once again there was a slow start to the quarter as Dorset settled for outside jump shots too early into the shot clock, their good defensive work continued to pose problems for Bristol. However, it was the visitors who opened the scoring, Gordula split a pair a fouls shots on the next possession and that got the home side going once again. Four baskets followed from Heath, Rudenko, James and Darby as Storm completed a 9 – 0 run before it was halted by a Bristol timeout. Bristol came back with more composure following the timeout while Dorset seemed to lose the focus that had been with them all through the game so far. Bristol capitalised on this lack of application from the home side and opened with a three from the timeout. A couple of turnovers and some ill-advised shots put the home side on the back foot as Bristol found their way to the basket on subsequent possessions as they went on a 9 – 0 run in under three minutes forcing the home side to call a timeout of their own. With wholesale changes being made during the timeout Rudneko and Heath both made good defensive plays, with Dorset then able to convert on offence they closed the quarter by outscoring their opponents 6 – 1 to regain some momentum.

Dorset opened the final quarter in just the way they had finished the third, with Rudenko stroking a jump shot from outside the key, and Heath and Darby adding further scores attacking the basket. Mahinay and Readhead continued to give Storm momentum through the middle period of the quarter and Matthew Lawson and George Williams kept the ball moving to find their open team mates. Storm continued to apply good pressure defensively and limited their opponents scoring chances, with Readhead blocking shots twice after sprinting back in transition. Dorset kept the ball off the floor much more successfully and the resultant ball and player movement saw them have their best fourth quarter performance of the season, as they ran out 86 – 47 winners.

Storm managed to continue their good performances and this week came away with a victory. It was once again an outstanding defensive display, and for the second consecutive week they held their opponents to considerably less than their season average. Good ball movement allowed the homeside to create scoring opportunities that they knocked down with consistency. Coach Jill Kemish was quick to complement the teams increasing maturity:

“Our defence was once again key. When we play well defensively we know we then give ourselves a chance to compete and as a result we play with more confidence offensively.

Once again we played better than the previous week which is all we can ask of the players. They play together really well, have a mature approach and make each other better which is significant.”

Stephen Mahinay top scored for Storm with 21 points, backed up by Karl Readhead, Oliver Heath and Seb Darby who all reached double figures. David Rudenko (14 rebounds) and Oliver Heath (5 steals) led the way for Storm at the defensive end of the court. It was not one individual performance that was the most important ingredient in this week’s match, rather the player’s willingness to move the basketball, make smart decisions and play hard defence as a team that resulted in the victory.

Next week Storm are at home once more, as they welcome Taunton Tigers to Rossmore Leisure Centre. The match has an early tip-off time of 1.30pm as the Under 16s are away at Torbay.

Scorers: Mahinay 21, Readhead 18, *Heath 16, *Darby 10, *Gordula 7, *Rudenko 6, *James 4, Wren 4, Lawson, Williams.

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