Taunton Tigers basketball maintained their 100% Natuional League record with a 110 – 62 away win against Swindon Sonics. The emphatic win was largely due an incredible second half performance which saw the Taunton Tigers out-score Swindon 63 – 20.
It was not all plain sailing however, as the Sonics opened up an early lead and stayed close throughout the 1st half which finished 47 – 42. It was the Tigers away form that let them down last year and travelling fans feared the worst when they failed to respond to the passionate start by the Sonics. For a little while it looked like they were going to really miss former England U20 Paul Yabsley who travelled but was too ill to play. He was forced to sit and bite his nails as the Tigers wobbled.
Tauntons defence was in disarray as they failed to impose themselves against a rampant home team. Alistair Bird and debutant Joe Saunders flattered the visitors with incredible three point shooting keeping Tigers in the game. Saunders in particular with 4 from 4 from distance in his first senior game demonstrated the never ending strength in depth at the club. When the Sonics finally adjusted their defence to get out to the “unknown” Saunders, Nolan and Andrew started hitting form the other side of the court.
Coach Heath clearly disappointed with his inside-players' defence was forced to change game plan at the half. The more aggressive defence achieved immediate returns in the second half. The Sonics spirit slowly faded as they struggled to get any good looks at the basket, whilst the Tigers offence was clearly in full motion.
The Swindon coach tried four different defenders against Richard Anderson and all them failed to control him. MVP Anderson bullied and out-muscled the smaller players and was way too quick for the bigger players on his way to 27 points. His Twin brother Kevin best described the situation afterwards,
“When Richard is in this sort of form, our job is to get him the ball in the right areas and then just watch and enjoy!”
In the fourth quarter Swindon were reduced to just one field goal whilst the Tigers rattled up 35 points in the same period. Coach Ronnie Heath was really pleased with the way his team responded,
“If we are to win trophies this year then we will have get used to going through the odd bad patch. This group has got the character and composure to deal with any situation”
He will be encouraged by the news that the high flying Lee Riviello is back in training, having recovered from his broken hand. ‘Mr Tickle’ will be itching to get those long arms swinging again and training will be very competitive this week with Heath able to pick from 17 players. The Tigers play Bristol at Wellsprings this Saturday at 6.00pm. They will have to be at their sharpest against the youngest and quickest team in the league. The fans will be in for a treat as both teams like to ‘Run and Gun’. For once the pressure will be on the Tigers to impose their physical game against a smaller team.