Worle give league leaders a fright

PUBLISHED: 10:46 22 January 2007 | UPDATED: 10:30 24 May 2010

KBI has long been one of the strongest teams in the South West and currently stand on top of the Division 1 table

Worle 68 KBI Bath 76KBI has long been one of the strongest teams in the South West and currently stand on top of the Division 1 table.Worle's introduction to Division 1 was the away game in Bath and they lost by nearly 40 points. The closing of that gap, with a team far from full strength, shows the progress made this season.At first it looked as though KBI would run away with it again as Worle slipped to 8-2 after four minutes. Dennis Smilevich opened for Worle and with encouragement from coach Brian Skidmore, Worle fought back. Their approach work became tidier and more accurate and the ball was moved inside for Smilevich to make a three-point play. Andy Dockrell began to drive inside and was rewarded with a lay-up and two from the line to put them 9-8 ahead.Worle's defence was tighter and gave no space to KBI's runners, while close marking cut the outside shots. Smilevich continued to pose an inside threat and made four from six from the line while Russ Hayward made three from four.A KBI time-out made little difference and when Spencer Gilbert jump shot over KBI's big American, Worle finished the first quarter almost unbelievably six up at 20-14.Gilbert opened the second quarter with two more scores and another from Dockrell kept Worle 26-19 up, but KBI had regrouped during the interval, having perhaps underestimated Worle at first, and now a 10-0 spell put them back in front. Worle did not play badly but they lost their drive up front. Skidmore called a time-out and KBI were slowed down but Gilbert had picked up his third foul and was rested. Mike O'Sullivan came in and pulled some useful defensive rebounds, taking some pressure off Smilevich, Dockrell and Joe Aldus also rebounded well, but the shots were just off target until Dockrell made two more scores in the closing minutes to keep Worle just about in touch at 35-30.The second half was close throughout and Worle once more made a fight of it. At first, KBI gradually opened up a gap. Gilbert and Smilevich made the points as Worle held on at 50-40. But in the rest of the quarter, Worle's defence worked at its best. O'Sullivan put a rebound away and Gilbert hit his first-ever three-pointer. Two more from Gilbert and a buzzer shot for three from Hayward and Worle were right back in it at 56-50 with one quarter to go.That gap closed right up as the final period got under way. Gilbert again scored from the middle of the key and Smilevich hit another inside. Hayward sank his second three-pointer and when Dockrell made a jump shot, Worle found themselves back in front, 59-58. In spite of more points from Smilevich and Hayward, Worle slipped back to 66-63, but a three-pointer from Smilevich when unmarked levelled the scores with three minutes to go. But for Worle with their reduced numbers, this had been a supreme effort and tiredness began to tell. A final score from Gilbert kept Worle interested at 71-68, but when KBI scored again, Worle needed three-pointers and they simply would not drop, close but not quite there. As Worle had to hustle for the ball, the fouls came. Gilbert picked up his fifth but by then, the game was in its final minute. KBI scored from the line to leave Worle a creditable 76-68 down, a gap that was just a bit greater than Worle's play deserved.Smilevich top-scored with 22 points and Gilbert made 21. Dockrell made 12 and Hayward 11 in an overall encouraging result.

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