Plymouth Storm's promotion hopes dented by Stoke Mandeville Aces II
PLYMOUTH Storm's promotion hopes took a huge hit in a heavy home defeat to title rivals Stoke Mandeville Aces II.
Aces II won emphatically, 39-18, at Brickfields Sports Centre to go 4-0 and clear at the top of Division Three South of the British Wheelchair Basketball League.
The defeat drops Storm to 3-2 in pursuit of the sole promotion play-off spot in the division.
Storm had led 13-10 late in the second quarter before being overwhelmed by a decisive 23-3 Aces run, which built an unassailable 33-16 lead by the middle of the fourth.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Wednesday, May 22 2013
Despite that early promise, there was no way back and no doubting who are the class act at present in Division Three South.
Aces have real history and pedigree behind them. Their base, Stoke Mandeville, is home to the National Spinal Injuries Centre and was where the Paralympic Games were born in 1948.
That know-how and quality was too much for Storm, who are in their rookie season in the British League.
"At the end of the day, we're going up against good teams. It's about how we come back from this," said Storm player-boss Aaron Blyth-Palk, whose team opened this season 3-0 before losing their last two contests.
After half-time, Aces' defence pressed high up the court and suffocated Storm's offence. Utterly. Storm just did not have any answers to the ploy.
Blyth-Palk said: "At the end of the day, you have to take your hat off to Aces. They showed they're a well established team.
"From our point of view, we go away from this, learn from our mistakes and take the positives and push on. Fingers-crossed, we can. We have to try to improve."
He added: "When a team presses like that on defence it becomes very hard to break, regardless of who you are.
"We stuck to our game-plan and it was very close in the first half, but we have to look at our shooting. Again it let us down and I don't think the final score is a fair reflection of the game."
Storm, not for the first time this season, paid a high price for being undersized inside.
Aces big-man Jeremy Strange scored 12 of the visitors' points during their pivotal 23-3 run which decided the contest.
Blyth-Palk believes his team should have been smart enough to counter the lack of height.
"If we set up our defence properly it shouldn't matter that they're bigger than us," said Storm's coach. "But we switched off and paid too much attention to what was going on around us.
"Yes, their height came into it, but they had better communication than us, more visual awareness. They never let us rest."
Storm led Aces 5-2 late in a low-scoring but competitive opening quarter on Saturday. Storm guard Darron Evans converted a fast-break lay-up while being fouled but was unable to add the extra point from the foul line.
Aces responded in a nip and tuck first half to lead 8-5 before Storm played their best basketball and enjoyed excellent ball movement on offence, withstanding Aces' defensive pressure high up the court.
Storm guard Daley Colmer scored six straight points to seize a 13-10 lead. His first was a long two from deep on the left wing before he hit back-to-back twos from first the left and then right wing, working well behind screens from team-mate Josh Duke.
Aces started to find their rhythm at the offensive end late in the second quarter and led 18-13 at half-time.
Blyth-Palk added: "With the talent we have, we're more than capable of challenging for promotion. But maybe we need one year, two years together first."