The U16s extended its league winning streak to three games after heavy victory over Team Gloster Jets, 87 – 23 at the Dome on Saturday.
It was a matchup of teams that were going in different directions so far this season, with Tigers near the top of the table and displaying ever improving performances while the Jets had only one victory so far. After being one of the dominant U16s sides last season, Gloster is now in a rebuilding year and features a very young line-up.
It what is becoming a ritual, senior small forward Adam Hood opened the scoring, executing a perfect curl off of a screen and getting to the rim for the opening deuce. Jets quickly replied with a lay-up of their own but that was the last time the score would be close as Taunton saw out the first quarter with an 18 – 2 run.
The second quarter saw the Tigers rookies put the opposition to the sword. Forward Matt Parkes got in the lane and finished for the opening bucket, which was followed by a Spencer Gormley trey from downtown. Then it was time for first year point guard Kester Duncan to run the show. He tore into the Gloster zone off the dribble and scored the team's next four points. After two baskets from Hood and Parks, Duncan got to the rim again for another deuce, hit two free throws after being fouled on the next possession before closing out the half with a three-bomb. Tigers now went into the half up 40 – 9.
The third quarter opened with Taunton's starters returning for a short stint and it was more of the same. It took four minutes for the opposition to get on the scoreboard while Tigers had already put up 13 points in the period. The hosts ended the third on an 11 – 0 run, three of which came from rookie guard Rob MacIntyre.
In the final period Gloster continued to fight hard and their offensive production was much better, scoring 11 points. Taunton, however, continued to enjoy an offensive storm of points, scoring 23 in the fourth and the game ended with a 64 point margin.
In his break-out performance of the season Duncan lead the team with 13 points. A full 11 of the 12 players on the day hit the score sheet: Jack Penny (10), Liam Dunn (9), Gormley (9), Parks (8), Kai Little (7), Nathan Webb (7), Yosef Elo Gab (6), Adam Evans (4) and MacIntyre (3). Surprisingly, Taunton 20-point-per-game captain Dom Hinchliffe was the only player not to get a point, though he was playing with an injury to his left hand.
Head Coach Mark Crncich said this about the game
“We obviously went into this game as heavy favourites but I urged the boys to not take them lightly and to maintain their focus and discipline, which they did. A few weeks ago we won a game at home by 50 and I wasn't very happy after the game because we played lousy basketball. This time, I was much happier, not because of the margin of victory but by how we went about our business. We have to give credit to Gloster who fought all the way through; they have a young team that will be good next year. I was also very pleased by the display of our younger guys. They are really starting to show comfort with our systems and confidence in their ability to perform.”
The U16s now sit in a tie for third place in the Midlands-South West Conference with a record of five wins and two losses. The team travels to Torbay next week before playing at home in the final game before Christmas against the high-flying Bristol Storm.