AIS boys on a roll in Italy

AIS boys on a roll in Italy

The AIS boys are on a tour of Italy and now boast 5 wins from 5 outings.

Game 1: AIS v Rimadesio

Our first up opponents are preparing for their upcoming season in B2 division of the Italian Men’s League.

After a nervous start when the AIS was unable to convert numerous well constructed opportunities, the bigger & more mature Rimadesians took an early 10-4 lead with their Louis Scola lookalike causing problems inside. A solid defensive effort in the closing minutes of the quarter allowed the AIS to go to quarter time tied at 13 all.

A more settled unit emerged after quarter time, looked more comfortable against the physical play and executed more smoothly offensively, pouring in 26 points for the period. Defensively the guards were able to extend their pressure, making it difficult for the bigs to get easy touches. By halftime the AIS had opened up a 36-26 lead.

After halftime the AIS had a 5 minute nap and found themselves outscored 17-10. From that time on they upped the ante defensively, took Rimadesio out of their offense completely and turned the game into transition contest. The younger, better conditioned AIS pulled away convincing winners 104-66. All players contributed on the scoresheet and should gain a degree of confidence from their first outing.

Game 2: AIS vs Domodossola Tigers

An energetic AIS team jumped the more experienced Tigers and bounced out to a 12-4 lead as 2 chairs and a whiteboard came under fire from the coach’s right foot. However a neat dozen turnovers generously allowed the home team back in the game at 19-14 with less than a minute to play, before Jeromie Hill completed a 3 point on the final possession of the ¼ to give the Institute a nine point lead.

The second quarter began with another flurry of turnovers, and had it not been for a series of disciplined defensive sets the ‘Tute would have been chasing the Tigers tail. Jason Cadee made back to back 3s as the AIS surged to a 14 point half-time lead.

The third period started in much the same vein, with both teams sharing the ball around – with each other! But the AIS lead slowly grew to 18 before the wily Italians decide on a change of tactic and decided a little gamesmanship might do the trick. And trick is exactly what it did to the befuddled youngsters as for a 4 minute stretch they completely lost their collective mind and the margin was reduced to 3 shortly before the last break, as the tempo got out of hand and nearly out of sight.

With the Tigers still pressing and zoning, and using every trick in their often read book the final stanza was going to be a torrid affair.

The standard of the game dramatically improved to the last quarter with both teams shooting percentages improving coupled with a dramatic curtailing of the turnover count. Corban Wroe dropped 3 triples for the quarter, Cadee made a pair of free throws late and a 69-65 win was secured without many of the boys realising what had just happened. A very creditable result against an experienced and physical team.

Game 3: AIS vs Biella Youth team

AIS easily accounted for a depleted Biella team (the 3 best players were away playing with the Serie A team).

Having learnt valuable lessons from last night’s game on the need to be precise with leading and passing skills, our turnover rate was reduced significantly. Our biggest problem was the Italian interpretation of the travelling rule, an adjustment we will have to make over the course of the tour.

Again the feature of the game was the AIS’s aggressive defence, with Wroe & Boomers squad member Hugh Greenwood making life difficult for the Biella guards, we were able to slow their transition and push their half court offence to well beyond the 3 point line. This created plenty of opportunity for our transition game, with Mitch Creek’s finishing on the break worth the price of admission (even if it was free entry)

Offensively things are starting to function more smoothly as individuals are beginning to understand the concepts of our structure. We were able to get more open looks as well as more inside touches. Cadee & Greenwood controlled the game from the point, Anthony Drmic hit 3’s, Hill, Cameron Bairstow and Daniel Carlin showed good poise around the hoop.

Tonight’s game against Verbania men’s team is a curtain raiser to a Serie A double header - Cantu v Varese, & AJ Milano v Virtus Bologna.

Game 4: Friday 25th September

After arriving back at our hotel on Friday morning at 1am, we were on the practice court for a practice session at 9am for our 3pm Serie A curtain raiser game vs Verbania C1 Men.

The AIS jumped out to an early lead through some well executed on ball screen plays and some aggressive half court man to man defence. The lead diminished when Verbania got on the scoreboard with a triple, a defensive stop and layup. The AIS team found it difficult to put away their opponents after gaining the lead several times only to see it vanish through lack of consistent effort and the rigours of international travel and touring taking its toll on the decision making of the youngsters.

At half time the AIS took a slender three point lead and not much changed throughout the 3rd quarter with a four lead to the AIS going into the final quarter.

The Italian skies opened up with a torrential downpour outside the game temperature inside the stadium rose as Drmic was wrestled to the ground by the Verbanian centre in what resembled a scene from WWF.

With under a minute to play and with possession the AIS were up by two. An unforced turnover lead to a quick foul and sent the home team to the free throw line. They missed both free throws and Greenwood gained possession and was quickly fouled. He made both free throws and the game was over with the AIS taking the honours 68-64.

Tomorrow morning we drive at 9am for 4 hours to Loano for a match up at 5pm vs Pool Loano.

Game 5: AIS v Loano

The AIS continued their unbeaten run in Italy with a 77-49 victory over Pool Loano today (Saturday).

Jason Cadee got the AIS off to a strong start and with the help of Jeromie Hill helped build a comfortable lead.

Pool Loano continued to make 3 point shots keeping them in the game while the AIS squandered missed lay-ups and opportunities to capitalise on mistakes.

After a solid first half that built an impressive 11 point lead, the AIS found themselves again in trouble due to some defensive lapses with hand pressure and slow rotation to close out being the two main areas of concern. The lead evaporated to 4 before a time-out revving from the coaching staff saw the AIS gradually gain composure again.

An increase in defensive awareness and effort in the last quarter with good ball pressure and making perimeter catches hard meant the AIS could get their free flowing offensive game going. Jeromie Hill and Mitchell Creek had several big dunks as the lead pushed out.

Despite the win, the coaching staff were determined to ensure their charges did not get carried away with their recent successes. The defensive targets the group set for themselves at the beginning of the tour are continually being tested with many lessons being learned by this young group.