Updated: Jan 17
Bloxwich Activity Centre Wed 15th Jan 2020
Shrewsbury travelled to Walsall for their second of three games in a week. Hot off the close game against West Brom on Sunday, Shrewsbury travelled over with 9 players. Walsall, however, had a full bench and lot of, what most of the Shrewsbury team would call, “kids”.
From the start, Shrewsbury anticipated that this was going to be a fast paced run-and-gun game. Coach Kevin put the thought in place that Shrewsbury were to slow the pace of the game down and look after the ball.
For the first few minutes Walsall and Shrewsbury traded baskets. Walsall because of their speed and Shrewsbury through moving Walsall’s defence from side to side. Shrewsbury’s defence closed the driving lane which meant that Walsall had to shoot, but they were consistently hitting open jumpers.
In the second quarter Shrewsbury made good work of driving into the paint for their chances. The shots didn’t always drop, in fact they had a nasty habit of rattling round the hoop and spinning out; As Lewis put it, “Walsall put clingfilm over the baskets”. It was clear that Walsall were having problems containing the attack from Shrewsbury which left Shrewsbury up by 2 at the end of the half.
More of the same at the start of the second half and Shrewsbury turned up the heat on Walsall. They didn’t have an answer for the onslaught attacks at the offensive end. Walsall resorted to fouling which put them in foul trouble quickly. Shrewsbury extended their lead even more and left Walsall chasing going into the 4th quarter.
The final quarter couldn’t have gone worse for the visitors. Shrewsbury panicked when Walsall put on a full court press and managed to get a good run of baskets which eroded Shrewsbury’s lead and got Walsall back into the game. Right up until the last minute Walsall manage to edge a 2pt lead and Shrewsbury fought hard to remove that one basket advantage. Shrewsbury tied and Walsall scored with 10 seconds to go. As Shrewsbury inbounded the ball, some confusion over the countdown landed the ball in Dave’s hands deep downtown with 3 seconds left to shoot the ball. Dave takes a slightly off balance 3 point shot that was arrow straight and heading right for the basket, but it fell slightly short and final buzzer rang out in the gym. Walsall get the slimmest of victories.
As with the West Brom game that was played a few days before, a little more time was needed to get the win, but the silver lining is that the Shrewsbury Storm Men’s team have a renewed confidence that they can hang with the tough competition in Div 2. Every player is growing in confidence and the team harmony is slowly being restored. And the spectacle of seeing the Walsall coach blow a fuse at his young team at the end of the game validated that Shrewsbury played a great game even though the outcome says otherwise.
The Men’s team have the final game in their trilogy on Sunday which is a cup game. A win in this game will see Shrewsbury into the Semi-Finals of the Knockout shield. And if Disney is to be believed, it’s a possibility!
Final Score: Walsall 99ers 57 - S’Bury Storm 55
Andy - 12
Dave - 12
Alex - 9
Jake - 7
Adam - 6
Lewis - 6
Kevin - 2