NBL Under 16s Vs Taunton 23-02-2013

NBL Under 14s Dorset Storm versus UWIC Archers December 201130Captivating battle sees Under 16s come out on top by four versus Taunton.

Dorset Storm (19, 9, 26, 19) 73

Taunton Tigers (10, 19, 16, 24) 69

Dorset Storm Under 16s National League side took on Taunton Tigers in the South West Conference on Saturday afternoon.  Storm were looking to maintain their recent string of good performances but would be facing a high scoring team in the shape of the Somerset based side.  Last time the teams met, Taunton came out on top 69 – 66. Storm welcomed back Tom Hennessy into the team, alongside the same 11 players who played last weekend.

Storm opened with Christian Farah, Bradley Bennett and Tom Storey in the back court, whilst Alex Kapuscinski and Lewis Old played in the front court. Storm opened well, Kapuscinski was first picked out inside by Storey, and then on the perimeter by Farah as Storm had an early 5 – 0 lead.  Good defence was also key for Storm, as Taunton were forced to take tough shots early on.  Two Farah foul shots, and a Storey score inside saw Strom hold a 14 – 4 lead after the opening seven minutes.  A couple of poor defensive possessions saw Taunton get open looks from the three point line and they nailed both from down town to bring the game back to 14 – 10.  Jordan James came up with two big steals that helped spark Storm as two scores from Charlie Harland and an ‘and-one’ form Lewis Pettitt saw Storm end the first quarter 19 – 10 up.

Adriel Maranan got Storm off to a good start in the second quarter as he sliced his way to the basket for two points.  Dorset Storm Basketball Club NBL Under 16s Preview versus Taunton I Febraury 2013 7Storm then had a little wobble, as the ball was put on the floor far too often offensively as Storm struggled to create good quality looks at the basket.  Defensively Storm were continuing to be good during the first phase, but poor boxing out led to numerous offensive rebounds for Taunton that helped them stay in the game.  Dan Riggs and Bennett made a nuisance of themselves at the defensive end, but too much one-on-one at the other end meant Storm stuttered offensively.    Taunton led 25 – 21 at one stage, before a Tom Storey triple helped get Storm going.  Neither team could take a firm grip of the game, as each time Taunton threatened to get away Storm came up with a score.  At the half, in was the guests who held the advantage, 28 – 29.

Storm had a slow start to the second half, as Taunton came out and scored twice in transition and found themselves at the foul line within the opening 60 seconds.  An early Storm timeout brought a halt to that run, and out of the timeout back-to-back baskets from Michael Hester saw Storm come fighting back.  More tough defence, from Storey, Pettitt and James resulted in three easy fast break baskets for Storm as a 6 – 0 run gave them a 38 – 36 lead at the midpoint of the stanza.  Storms defensive play really stepped up in the final part of the quarter as Taunton managed just two baskets in the later part of the quarter.  Two threes from Kapuscinski , plus scores from Pettitt, Hester and Maranan helped Storm finish the quarter strongly and they took a 54 – 45 lead into the final quarter.

The start of the final quarter was all about Maranan as he completed two steals and two assists in the opening minute to give Pettitt and then Harland open scores. NBL Under 14s Dorset Storm versus UWIC Archers December 201131 Storm, though, were struggling to maintain their advantage.  Silly early fouls, put them in some foul trouble, and Taunton were able to close the gap with the clock stopped.  A couple of big baskets from Hester gave Storm some breathing space, but a lack of ball movement and sensible passing continued to hamper the Storm effort.  A 9 – 0 Taunton run closed the deficit to five, at 67 – 62 with two minutes to play.  Out of a timeout Storms good ball movement eventually returned, as Kapuscinski found himself open for another three ball, quickly followed by a fast break lay-up from Pettitt from a Tom Storey steal and assist.  A three from Taunton brought them to within four at 67 – 71, but that was as close as they got, as despite timeouts from both sides a basket from James and two foul shots from Taunton saw Storm finish with the win, 73 – 69.

Lead coach Luke Kemish, whilst pleased with the performance, felt it wasn’t quite up to last weekends standard.

“We played well for long spells today.  When we did move the ball, and run hard we were good offensively.  Defensively, we were tough for virtually the whole game, no matter how we played.”

One area that Kemish was far from pleased with was the discipline showed by his players throughout the game:

“We moaned far too much today.  We really could have picked up a technical or two, we certainly rode our luck with the officials, which isn’t acceptable – iDorset Storm Basketball Club NBL Under 16s Preview versus Taunton I Febraury 2013 8t could have cost us the game.  Our standards and expectations are clear; the players will be reminded of that this week.  Next week, we are on the road so we will have to do a much better job of focusing on, and controlling what we can control and forgetting about everything else.

We are playing well, and we have to focus on that.  Now is the time to make even more improvements, when things are going well.”

For Storm the result was a pleasing one, and the four point winning margin may still be crucial come the end of the season.  Alex Kapuscinski led all scorers with 23 points including four threes, while Michael Hester had some big plays and filled the gap left by the hobbling Lewis Old in the second half.   The defensive energy from all the players was once again key, with Adriel Maranan and Jordan James being particularly annoying to the Taunton guards.

Storm then, will look to continue their improvement this week ahead of making the long journey to Worcester next Saturday.

Scorers: *Kapuscinski 23, Hester 12, Pettitt 11, Harland 8, *Storey 7, James 6, Maranan 4, *Farah 2, *Bennett, *Old, Hennessy and Riggs.