SCOTTISH WHEELCHAIR BASKETBALL DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE PLAY OFF FINAL MATCH REPORT; DUNDEE DRAGONS 54 V 33 ST MIRREN WARRIORS. 12-5-2018.

DUNDEE DRAGONS V ST MIRREN WARRIORS

SCOTTISH WHEELCHAIR BASKETBALL DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE PLAY OFF FINAL

SATURDAY 12 MAY 2018 THE PEAK STIRLING 4PM TIP OFF

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Match Report by Kevin Rattray

The starting five, as it was for the semi-final, was made up of Ben Leitch and Rhys Colliar, Gemma Lumsdaine and Blair Marshall and Michael Mellon still in the unusual position for him at point.

As before the bench was made up of Murran Mackay, Mairi Simms, Ronny Robb and making his debut John Willans, and Paula Leitch making the touchline decisions.

Dragons started the match very strong, this does seem to be a feature of our basketball matches, maybe need to have a word with our rugby players.

Ben was in the middle of everything we were doing well and when he was being closed down Blair was finding extra space to chip in with multiple baskets, although a few fouls saw him being replaced by Ronny towards the end of the first half, but he would return.

St Mirren were working so hard as the match progressed but Dragons defence was steadfast and proving very difficult to break down with Ben’s outrageous three pointer adding insult to injury.

The first period was dominated by Dragons but the second quarter saw Warriors up their game and draw closer although by half time the score was

Dundee Dragons 30 13 St Mirren Warrors

The second half saw multiple changes with John making his debut for Ben and Murran replacing Rhys.

Warriors sensed an opportunity and immediately introduced their top five players and a full court press which we pretty much found impossible to break down, inexperience was now adding to a complete turn around of fortunes with Warriors now completely in charge and the press was hugely effective, driven on by an almost apoplectic and hysterical Warriors bench

Dragons were now in complete meltdown with arguments, indecision and uncertainty turning the game from a seventeen-point lead into a six point lead.

The end of the third period came, Gemma got everyone together, changed the line-up and the game was back on.

Dragons came out to the final quarter with a renewed sense of purpose, the press was now less effective, and Ben was drawing 2 and 3 players to him.

This could only mean one thing there was space for everyone else, John got in on the scoring, his first in a competitive match, Blair was back on and into the scoring but the biggest cheers of the final period came for Rhys; two baskets, that boy works so hard at creating space and scoring opportunities for others it’s always so thrilling when he gets in on the scoring.

Dragons were now in complete control and the Warriors bench went strangely quiet, this may not make me sound classy but that felt good.

Michael concluded the scoring and celebration began as the match ended with the score

Dundee Dragons 54 : 33 St Mirren Warriors

What followed was great respect shown by all Dragons players to all Warriors players and vice versa, to be honest this is probably the thing about the sport that I find most compelling.

As with the semi-final I also want to draw attention to some phenomenal play by some St Mirren players, again not in a patronising way, but Sarah McCaffrey was quite exceptional with her movement and shooting skills.

David Hird, who within 10 minutes had accrued 4 fouls, then showed incredible discipline for the rest of the match to avoid any foul play but still make a huge contribution, particularly during the third period when he was instrumental in the comeback.

The season saw Dragons Senior Basketball team finish with a 100% Development League record, an impressive statistic in anyone’s language.

Next season will doubtless see changes in the team make up as we introduce new players and maybe lose players to bigger and better opportunities.

From my point of view this, my first full basketball season, has been filled with joy and excitement and a respect for everyone who plays, coaches and volunteers.

I’m going to produce a player retrospective later this week which hopefully everyone will enjoy, expect it to be slightly flippant but always complimentary.

Onwards into the new season 2018/2019 should be fun.

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