Oakland, CALIF- It was the first game of Bay Valley Conference play for the Strom. After a slow start to the preseason going 0-10 the Strom rode a two game win streak momentum into the T-Birds gym Thursday evening. The focus all week for the Strom was to continue to build on the two wins and focus on execution. Defensively the Storm have played much better getting in passing lanes and challenging shots at the rim. Another focal point was playing through adversity which showed in key moments of the game.
In the first half the Storm were not shooting the ball well from the perimeter. Although there were good offensive looks shots were not falling. Most of the points in the first half were in the paint or late in the shot clock. Merritt's aggressiveness defensively tested the patience of the Storm offense. The Storm frontcourt of Tylor Gerrard,Salim Ali-Musa, controlled the glass with their size putting T-Birds frontcourt players into early foul trouble. Despite the lack of perimeter shooting the Strom went into the half down one 30-31.
During halftime, spirts were high knowing that they haven't played their best to that point and know they can capitalize on the early mismatches on the offensive side. Offensive flow was much better in the second half for both teams. It was a physical second half with each team answering each others runs. In the final minute of the second half the Strom was up by one and at the free throw line. A huge missed free throw only gave a two point lead for the Storm. In the final possession Merritt's Davis- Goss hit a contested 15-footer at the buzzer to send it into overtime 65-65.
This is the adversity that the Storm needed to overcome. This group is really becoming a fun team to watch. They are continuing to mature and develop into a good team. They had many opportunities to hang their heads, but instead continued to grind and were rewarded says coach Ball. Overtime was much like that of the second half, Merritt crawled back into the game off a missed free throw. They were able to go coast to coast and tie the game at 72 with three seconds left. It came down to a half court heave from Braxton Adderly at the buzzer to win the game.
"Our level of trust with each other was on full display vs Merritt. In most cases a coach would take a time out in that situation, I trusted my guys to make something happen in those three seconds. Our guards read each other and were all unselfish as Braxton wound up hitting a huge game winner. It was as exciting as it gets and I am proud to be a part of this groups development."
With the win the Storm start off 1-0 in conference and 3-10 overall on the season. The Storm were lead in scoring by Adderly with 17 points, Gerrard with 15 and Tomas Gomez- Espana with 13. The next game for the Storm will be a home game on Friday the 28th at 6:00pm.