NBL Under 16s Vs Vale 13-02-2016

Storm overcome scrappy first half to take the win in Wales.

Dorset Storm (12, 20 ,25, 23) 80

Vale Vipers (16, 14, 15, 3) 48

Dorset Storm Under 16s National League team made the first of two trips to Wales on Saturday as they visited Cowbridge School to play Vale Vipers.  Storm headed into the game following back to back home games which had seen them play well against both Somerset and Plymouth.

Storm opened with Kundiso Majome, Callum Crook and Harry Batson in the back court whilst Josh Westlake and Charlie Long were in the front court.  Storm started the game well, as they executed their zone offence well. Scores from Westlake, Long and Crook gave Storm a 2 – 6 lead after three minutes, the Dorset Storm Basketball Club National League Under 16s - 1lead could have been move if some passes had not gone astray, but the lead was enough for the home team to call a timeout.  Vale came out of the timeout and managed to get two scores before Westlake added to more for Storm.  As the quarter went on Storm were far too casual with the basketball as a series of turnovers allowed Vale to score points in transition.  On top of that, the final two minutes saw some poor decision making from Storm as they scored just one of their final seven attempts and headed into the quarter break trailing 16 – 12.

Vale got off to the better start out of the two teams. Storm were still not able to take care of the basketball at the offensive end with unforced turnovers accounting for a growing numbers of errors. Tom Axon and Stocks were Storms lone scorers early in the quarter as Vale continued to lead. At the mid point of the quarter a strong drive and ‘and-one’ from Ali Webb provided the spark that eventually got Storm going. Back-to-back threes from Batson capped an 8 – 0 run from Storm and a timeout from Vale.  Out of the timeout Storm failed to maintain their momentum, with Stocks, Majome and another Batson triple adding points in the last three minutes as Storm stuttered into the half leading by two, 32 – 30.

Storm knew they needed a good start to the second half and they almost got that. Some great ball movement was et down in the opening couple of minutes with either some poor finishing at the basket or some poor passing and catching.  Vale scored the first five points of the quarter, including an open three off some lacklustre defensive effort and rotations.  Westlake eventually got Storm going as Batson found Dorset Storm Basketball Club National League Under 16s versus Vale February 2016 - 1him sliding to the basket for Storms first score of the half. Long added back-to-back scores firstly inside then with a baseline jump shot as Storm started to get going.  A score from Stocks a minute later forced Vale into their first timeout of the half as Storm led 40 – 41.  Following the timeout Storm continued to play better, although not necessarily free flowing basketball.  In fact, it was Vale who managed to regain the lead as the continued to get Storm to play their style of basketball and took advantage of the mistakes Storm made. It wasn’t until the final two minutes when Storm looked at anything near their best. Great defence from Webb and Harry Jackson sparked Storm into a scoring run. Stocks, and Westlake benefitted from the steals to get easy points at the other end, and Webb found a sealing Westlake inside with a nice post entry pass. Minutes later, after some further good play another Jackson steal provided Storm with the final shot of the quarter which saw Batson fire another three as Storm closed the quarter with a 17 – 4 run to lead 45 – 57.

Storm knew that they needed to keep their momentum up in the final quarter, and good defence from Westlake early on ensured they maintained their pressure early on.  A couple of great passes from Webb and Batson set up Axon, Westlake and Stocks for easy scores on the inside – something that poor passing early in the game had prevented. Storms general ball movement was much sharper, and they continued to be much more clinical finishing in and around the basket. Fewer turnovers were also key as Storm were not punished in transition like they were in the first half.  Long, Axon, Majome and Batson all added scores in the final four minutes as Storm took a hard fought 48 – 80 win.

In a similar game to the week before, Storm will be pleased with the final result although it took them a long time to get there.  In fact at times in the first half, it was their three point threat alone that kept them in the game and allowed them to get out of a hole in the second half.  Coach Jill Kemish, was keen to reflect on the positives at the end of the game:

Dorset Storm Basketball Club National League Under 16s versus Vale February 2016 - 2“We have managed to keep a well organised and disciplined team to just 48 points on their home court which is good. At times our defensive effort wasn’t what it should be, but we got a spark in the third quarter at the defensive end from a couple of players that got us going.

Game changing plays come at the defensive end as well as the offensive end, and it was out defence that really got us going again today.

We were a little bit of a mix at the offensive end. Our passing and decision making let us down and accounted for some poor shots and lazy looking passing. However, we executed our zone offence well throughout and every time we passed the ball well our spacing and time was excellent and we got open shots or layups.

Everybody on the team knows we want to deliver a 40 minute performance, but right now actions and actually doing that are far more important that saying we need to.”

Storm will have a week at training to work hard before they face Bristol Academy at Rossmore on Saturday.

Scorers: *Batson 20, Stocks 19, *Westlake 16, Axon 9, *Long 8, *Majome 3, *Crook 2, Webb 2, Squires 2, Jackson.