NBL Under 18s Vs Plymouth Marjon – 29-01-2011

Match Report

Dorset Storm (23, 18, 19, 8) 68
Plymouth Marjon (18, 24, 19, 13) 74

Dorset Storm Under 18s were back at home this weekend as they welcomed Plymouth Marjon to Rossmore Leisure Centre. Storm were under some pressure in this game to produce a bounce back performance following last weekends lacklustre display in Wales. This would be a difficult task against a physical big and strong Plymouth side, who have every position on the floor well covered.

Storm opened the game with Seb Darby, Gabriel Gordula and Oliver Heath in the front court, whilst David Rudenko was paired with Stephen Mahinay in the back court.� A good start from the home side saw them open the game with a 6 – 1 burst with scores from Heath, Gordula and Mahinay. Plymouth are never going to be a team that rolls over early and they came firing back to trail 6 – 5 on the back of a long distance triple.� Storm though, kept playing hard and held their composure and with it the lead for the entire quarter. Storm did lose Karl Readhead and Gordula in this quarter but with Suthep Craig and Conor James playing well off the bench they finished the quarter with a 23 – 18 lead.

Plymouth started the second quarter brightly, to pull Storms lead back to 23 – 22 before a foul shot from Rudenko and a three from Mahinay extended Storms lead. More good defence from Craig Wren and two good passes from Matthew Lawson carried the momentum on for Storm. Mahinay, Craig and Heath all scored baskets in the second part of the quarter as good ball movement spread the Plymouth defence to allow Storm to take advantage. Defensively Storm were continuing to battle hard and were challenging shots and rotating across from the help side much more effectively than the previous week at Gwent. Storm continued to work hard until the buzzer sounded for the end of the first half, with just a single point being the advantage to Plymouth, 41 – 42.

Plymouth came out firing at the start of the second half, hitting back-to-back threes to extend their lead. Heath, Mahinay and Rudenko all replied with scores of their own for the home side who soon found their groove again. Good defensive pressure from whoever was on the court meant that Plymouth had to fight hard for every basket that they made. Darby started to have some influence in the game in the middle period of the quarter after struggling with foul trouble in the first half. In the fifth minute of the quarter, Rudenko picked up his fifth and final foul reaching in on a loose ball meaning that Storm would have to play the last 15 minutes without another key player. Craig and Mahinay kept the points coming for Storm who after a tight third quarter still trailed by just one point, 60 – 61.

In the early stages of the fourth quarter neither team could take control of the basketball game, as a host of scrappy possessions were played out by each team.� It was Plymouth who settled the quickest though and a couple of scores unnerved Storm, resulting in a timeout being called by the home side. The timeout didn�t have the desired effect though as on the next three possessions Storm turned the ball over on each occasion allowing Plymouth to extend their lead further before a second Storm timeout just a minute later halted the visitors onslaught once again. Coming out of the timeout Storm appeared to have given up on the game, despite trailing by just eight points at the time. Coach Kemish really didn�t like what he saw from the five players on the court so made it a hat trick, of timeouts by taking the teams third and final timeout – the third in three minutes! This time he made his point a little louder to the players, just in case they had missed the message the first two times! James came out of the timeout with some great defensive play for Storm, and Heath drove hard to the basket to earn himself four foul shots to help Storm fight back. More good defence from Storm as a team, limited Plymouth to just one basket over the final five minutes of the match, but as Storm finished with an 8 – 2 run they fell just short of their visitors score, eventually losing the game 68 – 74.

Despite the loss, it was the performance that really mattered in this game as coach Luke Kemish reflected post-game:

“After last weeks disappointment it was always going to be a tough game to bounce back in. Credit must go to the players, as they played really well today.

Even when we had a little blip in the fourth quarter, we fought back. That’s what we were asking for during the timeouts in the final quarter, for the players not to give up, to stick together and take responsibility. That is what they did that really well.”

For Storm it was a total team effort, as the players were back to working well as a team creating good looks for each other. Stephen Mahinay met the extra responsibility of starting today’s game well to notch up a game high 26 points and three assists. He was backed up by 15 points and seven rebounds from Oliver Heath and 10 points and eight rebounds from Suthep Craig. Each player for Storm contributed to this great bounce-back performance, with great support and team spirit from the bench.

Storm have a weekend off next week due to the withdrawal of Bristol Storm, meaning the next match is on Saturday 12th February away at the unbeaten Taunton Tigers.

Scorers: *Mahinay 26, *Heath 15, Craig 10, *Darby 5, *Rudenko 4, *Gordula 4, James 4, Lawson, Wren and Williams.