NBL Under 18s Vs Wiltshire Wolves – 16-01-2011

Match Report

Dorset Storm (36, 31, 29, 20) 110
Wiltshire Wolves (9, 21, 12, 13 ) 55

Dorset Storm Under 18s travelled to Wiltshire to take on the Wolves on Sunday. The team were hoping to maintain their good form in 2011 following last week’s game versus Gloucester where the team grew in confidence throughout the 40 minutes. It was the first encounter for the two teams since last season, but when the teams met in last seasons Under 16s, Storm came out on top with two single point victories on both occasions. Storm travelled without the experienced Karl Readhead and were also missing Rory Catton.

It was the normal starters who took to the floor for Storm, with David Rudenko, Conor James and Gabriel Gordula in the back court, whilst Oliver Heath and Seb Darby made up the front line. Storm knew the importance of a quick start away from home, something that was lacking in last weeks performance. Some good ball movement created open shots early on, Darby stuck back an offensive rebound for Storms first score in the second minute. Storms intensity on defence was visible from the off this week, Heath, Rudenko and Darby all being active in the passing lanes early on. Storm quickly grew in confidence and a triple from Heath, plus scores from Gordula and Darby forced a timeout from Wiltshire with Storm on a 13 – 0 run. Storm extended this lead further following the timeout, with hard defence and patient offence being the key. Suthep Craig, Stephen Mahinay and Matt Lawson all came on and had an immediate impact as seven Storm players got on the scoresheet in the opening 10 minutes. As Gordula stroked it from downtown on the buzzer, Storm wrapped up the first quarter for Storm 36 – 9.

Storm wanted to keep the momentum going in the second quarter and Conor James gave them the perfect start as he scored on a slash to the basket. Storm continued to play hard defence but as the quarter went on some sloppy play, mainly reaching in, allow Wiltshire to rack up some easy points. In all Storm committed 10 second quarter fouls and Wiltshire visited the foul line 16 times. The players kept playing hard, and every time they moved the basketball they created good scoring opportunities that the whole team knocked down with regularity. By the sixth minute of the quarter, Storm had five players on the bench in foul trouble (three fouls each!), so it was left to the remaining five members of the team to keep the momentum going to the end of the quarter. Rudenko scored five points in the final two minutes to help Storm stay on top, and hold a 61 – 30 half time lead.

Storms key focus was on keeping the intensity high and concentrating throughout the second half. With some great support and enthusiasm from the players on the bench, the five starters set the tone superbly once again, Darby, James, Gordula, Heath and Rudenko all scoring baskets in the opening three minutes forcing Wiltshire into an early timeout. Mahinay entered the game a bagged two threes to keep the pressure up from the visitors, who also played some tough defence once again. Both Rudenko, charge drawn, and Craig, a monster, in and around the basket set the tone at the defensive end. Craig Wren and George Williams also kept the pressure on Wiltshire with some good foot work on defence to keep the guards on the perimeter. Wiltshire ran in the final two scores of the third period, but Storm still held a commanding lead 90 – 42.

Seb Darby opened the final stanza with a basket at the offensive end for Storm, who wanted to keep the momentum going for the final 10 minutes. Wiltshire continued to fight, and some lapses in concentration from Storm especially at the defensive end of the court proved costly as the home side went on a 6 – 0 run and coach Kemish called a timeout. A clear message of play well at all times was given to the players, and scores from Lawson and Craig got Storm back on track. Both teams continued to fight for every ball, with Storm able to maintain their intensity, concentration and enthusiasm to the end. Scores from Darby and Wren in the final minutes wrapped up a convincing 110 – 55 victory for Storm.

Lead coach Luke Kemish was delighted with his team performance and was quick to credit his teams defensive effort and application at training over recent weeks as keys for the days performance:

“Our defence is the key, it gives us confidence which spreads throughout the team at both ends of the court.

The players deserve a huge amount of credit, training has been first class over the past few weeks, and as we have moved to a new level on the practice court we have been able to transfer that into our league matches too.

We know what we want to achieve and we have certainly made huge steps towards achieving that goal over the past three or four months. I can assure people that we aren’t done just yet, we are still getting better and learning how to play at the level required in the Under 18s league.”

For Storm, six different players made it into double figures with Oliver Heath leading the way with 21 personal points. David Rudenko distributed the ball superbly along with Conor James as the two combined for 13 assists. The standout performance though came from Seb Darby who notched a huge double-double of 19 points and 18 rebounds to go with five assists and five steals. It was a ten man show though, as all of Storm players stepped up and played important roles in this great performance.

Storm will hit the road once more next week as they travel to Wales to take on ABC Gwent, whom they last played in October. Coach Kemish will be looking for his players to keep the intensity high at training this week, as they look to carry their good form forward.

Scorers: *Heath 21, *Darby 19, Mahinay 19, *Rudenko 14, *Gordula 14, *James 10, Lawson 7, Craig 5, Wren 1, Williams.

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