Match Report: Taunton Tigers Under 14 Boys Team — 7 March 2010

Taunton Tigers vs Dorset Storm

Tigers got off to a sluggish start in this match against strong opposition from Dorset. A win would have set up a probable league title decider against Plymouth next week, but defeat leaves them needing to win one of their last two games to ensure they finish in second place and, so, have a home draw in the play-offs.

Things looked promising in the opening minutes. Adam Hood drained two shots from the line (after being fouled on a strong drive to the basket) and Dom Hinchliffe followed up with a typically smooth 3-pointer. After that, though, only Dan Burke-Ward and Ben Hayes managed scores during the rest of the quarter. Meanwhile, Dorset were rebounding far more effectively and that opened up scoring opportunities. The scoreboard read 11 – 14 at the first break, although spectators had the impression that the deficit was, in fact, 11 points, and the official scoring appeared erratic throughout the game.

Storm stretched their lead at the start of the second quarter, but then Tigers began to fight back. A mid-range shot from Jack Penny, a score from Burke-Ward after a Hayes steal, and then 4 points from Hayes set Taunton on an 8 – 2 run to close out the half. 25 – 26 on the scoreboard at the half, and Taunton were right back in it.

The comeback continued in the third quarter with both Hayes and Hinchliffe scoring inside points and all round tighter defensive play forcing turnovers. When Burke-Ward beat the buzzer at the end of the period he put his side up by 3 going into the last quarter.

The fourth period proved to be extremely tense throughout with neither team able to establish a clear advantage. Tigers suffered repeatedly from calls for travelling and couldn't get any fluid ball movement going. Instead, they drove repeatedly to the basket and had trouble getting close range efforts to drop. Their only scorer in the quarter was Hinchliffe and it was no surprise when the ball was in his hand with Tigers down by 3 points with 3 seconds to go. The captain had saved his team right at the death once already this season and, incredibly, he did it again as he drained a long range effort from wide out on the right. Somehow, Taunton had dug deep and forced over-time.

Dorset weren't to be denied the victory they deserved, though. In the extra period they always just had the edge and, although scores from Hood, Hayes and Hinchliffe meant that there was just 1 point between the teams inside the last couple of minutes.

Final Score: Taunton Tigers 55 – 60 Dorset Storm

Tigers Leading Scorers: Dom Hinchliffe 28, Ben Hayes 14, Adam Hood 7