NBL Under 18s Vs ABC Gwent – 23-01-2011

Match Report

Dorset Storm (14, 13, 11, 19) 57
ABC Gwent (24, 19, 24, 25) 92

Dorset Storm Under 18s were on the road again this weekend, this time they headed to Newport to take on ABC Gwent. Storm travelled without Rory Catton, Karl Readhead and Suthep Craig. Regardless of the absent personnel, Storm were full of confidence following a succession of impressive performances in recent weeks and were looking forward to the challenge of playing a team who have recently beaten Plymouth.

Storm opened with the normal back court combination of David Rudenko, Conor James and Gabriel Gordula and the front court pairing of Oliver Heath and Seb Darby. Storm got the start they wanted as Heath opened the match with a triple following some good ball and player movement. Storm continued to control the tempo early on and took a 6 – 2 lead. Gwent came back strong though, but Storm remained composed enough to stay in touch with the home side. As the quarter moved on the home side began to grow in confidence, and Storm stopped moving both themselves and the basketball with enough regularity to trouble the Welsh side. By the end of the quarter Storm trailed Gwent by 24 – 14.

Storm opened the second quarter brightly, with better ball movement and a change of defence. Craig Wren nailed two open jump shots to close the gap between the two sides, but Storm never really got going in this quarter, which was hugely disjointed by the number of fouls called on both teams. Only Heath provided any real resistance, as he worked tirelessly to get to the basket and draw fouls on Gwent. Storms inability to capitalise fully from the free throw line allowed Gwent to edge the quarter 19 – 13 and take a 43 – 27 lead into the second half.

Both teams started the third quarter well, with Storm fighting to get back in the game. Once again though, despite the good start it wasn’t sustained for a long enough period of time. Heath was once again left to carry the load offensively by himself as few other players seemed ready to react to what the Gwent defence offered. Conor James gave Storm a spark mid-way through the quarter as he scored five points consecutively but a combination of pressure from Gwent and some poor decision making from Storm saw the Welsh side extend their lead yet further. By the end of the third Gwent led by a score of 67 – 38.

Storm started the final quarter brightly as Gordual and Heath added points from the foul line. As Gordula fouled out in the third minute of the final period, Gwent responded with a 7 – 0 burst to take the momentum back. Storm kept fighting and with the pressure off started to play some proper basketball. The team’s spirit was there for all to see as every player continued to rebound and dive on the floor. Two charges drawn from Rudenko brought a smile back on to the teams faces. It was too little too late though, as a lack of intensity and concentration early on cost the visitors dearly. As coach Jill Kemish reflected post game:

“We never really looked up for this game, up for it mentally. We were lazy rotating at both ends of the court and didn’t make each other better like we do when we are on top form.

We have to learn to grind out results away from home, it is tough playing on the road, but everybody has to be ready to play and we have to stick together more.”

Offensively Storm were led by the outstanding Oliver Heath who scored 27 points and grabbed 5 rebounds. Seb Darby continued where he left off last week securing a second double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds. Storm though were generally second best in a contest that Gwent thoroughly deserved to win.

Storm will be looking to bounce back quickly next week when they welcome Plymouth Marjons to Rossmore Leisure Centre. Any support would be welcome, but please note the early tip-off time of 12.15pm for this match.

Scorers: *Heath 27, *Darby 11,* James 8, *Gordula 5, Wren 4, Lawson 1, *Rudneko 1, Williams, Mahinay.