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News Report

Steelers Wiser Than The Owls

Author: Karl Abraham, 14/10/17

Sweets MVP

UWTSD Owls @ Llanelli Steelers, Trimsaran, Llanelli - 9/10/17 Match Report

Starting 5

Arun Rai [1], Adam Raprager [2] Max Gishkelyuk [3], Carwyn Thomas [4], Frank Lynch/ Coach [5]


Nia Espie, Josh Thacker, John Cascano, Bien Fontarum, Lee Sweetland, Wyn Espie, Karl Abraham/ Assistant Coach

From farming to feast, Llanelli boasted a team selection headache prior to the game, with a full squad to pick from and only Coach Frank with any doubts prior to tip off. The game saw the return of another player from years gone by – Lee (Sweets) Sweetland and fresh from a half-marathon – Carwyn Thomas.

The game tipped off with the Arun stealing possession from an Owls won tip and very, nearly scored if it wasn’t for the Owls quick reactions to the instant turnover-defence! After a quick succession of turnovers from both side, it was the Steelers that opened the scoring and with any fitness doubts put aside by Frank and quickly after Max added the second to start the Steelers off on a flurry of baskets and pressure defence! Before the Owls knew it, Steelers were 13-4 up during the midway point of the first quarter. Normally, it the Steelers that find themselves points down. The Owls took a timeout with a buoyant Steelers team happier of the pair. From the time out, little had changed and it was Llanelli again that found the net with a the game’s first 3-point by Arun and after coming off the bench during the TO; Carwyn was sent to the free-throw line and unable to make the baskets, immediately after got his rewards for driving under the hoops with a reverse layup under the basket inspired the Steelers evermore. Thereafter it was Wyn, Carwyn and Sweets pressing the offence into a mistake that finally saw the quart end 17-8

The second quarter started as the first ended, with the Steelers taking the game to the Owls and each opportunity was met by some heavy handed defence from UWTSD and ex-Steelers player Shaun Thomas and Merline Davies. Sweets was able to capitalise on each free-throw, whilst Wyn did not (19-8). It was hereafter that the Owls got back into the game each time going through the middle and either driving or drawing the defence (for the ball behind/ back door) and before you knew it and a succession of baskets and a 3 pointer from another ex-Steeler (Joe Edwards) got the Owls within 3 points of the Steels (19-16). It was at this point that assistant coach, Karl took a deserved TO with the intention of stopping the rot and adding some fresh legs. Unfortunately, the TO and instruction were unable to be applied, as Brandon Payne made 7 baskets fall within minutes to now made the midway point of the second half 22-22. With plenty of rotation from the bench and introduction of Jon, Josh and Nia did ease the pressure and give some much needed rest to the starting 5. Frustration grew for the Steelers with a silly fouls going the way of the Owls. UWTSD applied the pressure still and ended the 2nd quarter (1st half) 26-30.

During halftime team talk from Frank highlighted the previous games similar situation and the Steelers ability to get back into the game on several occasions, seemed to insure the team. The starting 5 returned to the court and whilst it didn’t start off as planned, the game soon settled down and point were exchanged, basket for basket Adam’s pressure on the ball carrier made the difference. Needing to get back into the game both Karl (off court) and Frank on court instructed the front two (now consisting) of Sweets and Arun to meet the ball and player (pressure on the ball) and it was exactly that that got the Steelers back into the game. The turnaround was started by Wyn making some fine rebounds-baskets. More baskets came too from Sweets pressure and fast-breaks along with Carwyn driving and 3-pointer. Whilst the basket kept coming, so did the Owls. With that, the Steelers kept the front line turning over with Josh coming in and working the ball carrier into errors and the same too from Nia, whom ensured that the Steelers kept the Owls from making easy/ close buckets! The 3rd Quarter ended 47-45

The 4th quarter couldn't come quick enough for a rejuvenated Steelers to maintain the pressure and continue in the form that saw the Steelers get back into the game they lead at the end of the 1st quarter. With points credited to a strong defence and quick transition by Sweets making an and-1 and an UF within minutes saw the Steelers stretch their lead to 53-48. During the 4th quarter the whole bench was used ensuring pressure was applied to the ball carrier. That said, it was the partner to Sweets that was rotated with most of the turnover going through Sweets. As the Owls tried to get back into the game throwing all they had into it with every opportunity to take a 3, however, the lively guards for the Steelers ensured that any 3 taken, was a hard 3 - no easy baskets coming now! The midway point of the 4th with the scores at 54-48. It was clear that with the new FIBA rules, the Owls had to play defence in order to win back possession, no tactical fouls. Leading to the Sweets and Carwyn going to the free throw line. Again, Wyn had a good rebound game, this allowed the Steelers to use the extra minutes to compose themselves and keep the Owls for making any further baskets. After an Owls T/O, with less than 3 minutes left on the clock, and with a plan to try and get back into the game. The Owls do exactly that and with 2 quick baskets and 2+ minutes on the clock, the score are now 58-54. The Owls are having plenty of the by at this point, Llanelli just looking to soak-up the pressure. Sweets & Josh work in tandem and get the ball back from Joe, with Sweets laying up from an easy basket (60-54) and Owls come again, this time their two guard protect the ball and distribute it around the court. However, Max intercepts a pass, distributes it to Sweets for Max to receive the ball back and take a midrange shot and score (62-54). This time the Owls lose possession with a loose ball and a patient Steelers build-up with a progressive move, Carwyn dishes the ball to Sweets and on the layup, Sweets gets contact to the arm. Sweets take his 2x free throws and makes them count (64-54). With less than a minute left the Steelers bench feel the victory coming, yet, nervous Karl keeps barking orders from the sideline! The Owls now with nothing left to lose try to drive through the Steelers strong defence and take contact - foul! Both are missed but on the rebound, the Owls collect and on the put-back, another foul! The first basket is made (64-55), the second is missed. Again, unbelievably, the Owls rebound and take possession and once again get fouled with both shots going in (64-57) a tough couple of seconds for the Steelers. On the inbound, the Steelers are pressed heavily by the Owls and with a ball over the top from Max, Nia find herself with only 1 defender present but enough to put her off and misses. With now only second left and pressuring from Sweets and able to take the ball of the Owls goes on to make a layup (66-57). Then the owls come again with less than 30 seconds left on the clock, the get the ball to Shaun who makes a 3 (66-60), an anxious couple of seconds left and Owls mindful of not making a tactical foul press the Steelers, but the clock is called and the Steelers make it 2 wins in a row!

Sweets - 21 (MVP)
Carwyn - 16
Max - 8
Wyn - 7
Arun - 7
Frank - 6
Josh Th. - 1



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