Coach Matt Nolan took the opportunity to see what some of the younger players in the squad could do against an equally young Cornwall side, in the second match of the afternoon. They showed that they could dominate a game at this level and, if they had displayed a little bit more composure when in good scoring positions, the final score would have been even more convincing than it was.
David Grenfell got the scoring underway with a drive to the basket and lay-up, but both sides struggled to find the basket in the opening exchanges which led to a very early time-out being called. Nolan clearly stressed to his players that movement of the ball and patient offence would open up quality looks at the hoop. It was a message he had to repeat several times during the match. The Tigers came out of the huddle looking sharp and scores from Rob MacIntyre, Bodhi Kambouris and Kester Duncan saw them pull out to a 10-2 lead and the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter Taunton showed everything but the finishing touch. They played with good intensity and rebounded aggressively, but they looked over anxious on offence. Good passing did open up scoring chances for Ben Hayes and Bradley King, and they capitalised, but Tigers only managed 7 points in the period. 17 – 10 at the half.
The second half started well and the coach would have been pleased to see the play that led to the first score. Kambouris brought the ball up the court and showed great awareness in finding King who gave an excellent assist to Grenfell, resulting in a lay-up and a converted ‘and 1’. Nathan Webb then picked up Taunton's next 4 points. Those were his side's last points of a very low-scoring period, but the lead had grown slightly to 24 – 15.
Tigers made the game safe with a strong fourth quarter display in which Liam Vickery made his mark on the contest with 7 points. A free-throw and then two points from quick transition play were followed by a confident coast-to-coast drive (during which the coach's shouted instructions of “no dunking, Liam” were probably unnecessary). A ferocious defensive team effort kept the home side to only 3 points in the quarter and Vickery rounded things off with the final points of the match.
After the game, Nolan reflected on what, despite the win against Cornwall, had been a frustrating afternoon,
“We didn't do enough of the simple things that we practice in training. We must give credit to Dorset because they really wanted that win and we didn't match their intensity. You can always learn a lot about yourselves in a defeat, though, and we know what we have to work on for the play-offs.”