Musketeers beat league leaders in title race

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Ayrshire Tornadoes 33,

Tayside Musketeer Cadet Men 58

THE MUSKETEER Cadets travelled to Troon on Saturday to face current National League leaders Ayrshire Tornadoes.

The game was always going to be significant in this season’s title race and with Muskies only winning by four points at home earlier in the campaign they knew they were in for a tough match.

As expected the Tornadoes used their home court advantage to start the game with a lot of energy.

The Muskies, however, showed maturity beyond their years and did not let the atmosphere get the better of them.

The Tornadoes played a full court trapping defence which has worked for them throughout the season and they led the first quarter 13 to 11.

In the second quarter Musketeer captain Nicky Sim started to find holes in the Tornadoes’ defence and the team started to find their rhythm.

The Cadets moved the ball well and got it inside to forwards Mark and Kevin Myers leading to Tornadoes six foot four centre Joshua McGilvary picking up three early fouls.

The Muskies capitalised on this and went in at the half leading 27-20.

Having the lead at the break gave the visitors a lot of confidence going into the third quarter.

Hard work on the defensive end led to more offensive opportunities for the Musketeers and guards Jeb Spink, James Thomson and Duncan Patullo took full advantage of this, extending the lead going into the last quarter to 49-26.

The fourth quarter was a tense affair with Tornadoes chasing the game and applying a lot of full court pressure.

Again captain Nicky Sim controlled the ball and dictated the pace of the game.

The Muskies closed the game out winning by an impressive 58-33 with player of the match being Musketeer captain Nicky Sim.

Coach Paul Boath said: “The boys have worked really hard over the past couple of months.

“I don’t think anyone expected us to win by that scoreline but it shows our preparation has paid off.

“We have two tough games left but if the boys play as well as they did today I have every confidence we can win them.”

Scorers: Nicky Sim 17, Duncan Patullo 12, Jeb Spink 11, Mark Myers 8, Kevin Myers 8 and James Thomson 2.

The Musketeer Cadets face St Mirren at Arbroath Sports Centre at 1.20 p.m. on January 29.

Edinburgh Kool Katz 59,

Tayside Musketeer Girls 40

ON SATURDAY the Musketeer Cadet girls travelled to Edinburgh to play the Kool Katz for the second time this season.

The first game had been extremely close with the Edinburgh side beating the Musketeers by just four points, so with a few more games under their belt the visitors were hoping to achieve an away win.

The girls have been working hard at training over the last few weeks to return to the match fitness they had before the Christmas holidays so were in a confident mood before the game.

The Musketeers played in an attacking style, taking advantage of fast breaks created by the girls’ ability to create turn-overs and their speed down the court.

The home side were equally as good at moving the ball around the court and in contrast to the man-to-man they played in the first game, they were now playing in a zone defence which worked very effectively for them.

The number 13 for the Kool Katz was their key player who scored most of their points from inside the key, so although the Musketeer side was playing well it was the Edinburgh side’s strength and height that saw them dominate.

To combat the Kool Katz effectiveness inside, the Musketeers switched to a zone and one defence with Deseree Doogan marking number 13 effectively.

On the break the visitors were passing the ball quickly and scoring points, Yhanna Van Wees the Musketeers side’s top scorer, scored 17 points in the game as a result of her effective movement on court and ability to pick up rebounds.

Due to the change in Kool Kats’ defence, the Musketeers had to be creative on offence and managed to run the plays they had been practising in training effectively, with Doogan Van Wees scoring 10 points by making strong drives to the basket.

The home side played with determination and were always quick to get back up the court on defence which made it hard for the Musketeers to break their strong set up and get the fast breaks where they picked up most of their points.

The Kool Katz extended their lead by the third quarter and used their larger squad successfully.

Despite the score the girls refused to give up and brought the difference in the score down to six baskets by the start of the fourth quarter.

The girls showed great energy and were playing one of their best games of the season so far but the shots just didn’t seem to be going in.

Kate Richards (two points) managed the team’s offensive plays to try and beat the home side’s zone defence and made sure the team was matched up when the Musketeers switched to a man to man defence.

Caitlin McLoughlan (six points), who struggled in the first half to find her usual form, played a strong second half in offence assisting inside players Van Wees and Doogan to score points underneath the basket.

Both Gemma Harrison, who has recently returned from injury, and Cara Black, who has been improving throughout the season and is one of the fittest players in the side, did a great job on defence and chasing down the opposition on the break and creating a number of turn over’s between them.

As the girls fell into foul trouble, the much improved Christie Guthrie played a great game, making great passes and playing brilliant defence. Ruth Christie also showed improved confidence in her movement of the ball and defence and in the unusual situation for the Musketeer girls when both Van Wees and McLoughan were fouled off both girls helped to stop the Edinburgh side from running away with the game.

In the end the Musketeers didn’t achieve an away win against the Kool Katz but they played one of their best games of the season so far and if they can continue to improve in this way they will no doubt go from strength to strength in future games.