THE Ayr Storm U16m and U18m teams decided to make their trip to Inverness to face Highland Bears a team bonding opportunity and go up the night before - and also to avoid the need to leave Ayr at 5.30am!

The players showed they also have skills in the kitchen, helping the coaches prepare the evening meal.

The U16 men showed the advantage of not going up on the day by looking fresh and starting strong in the opening period building up an early 8pt lead - giving coach Gibbons the chance to involve all players in the first 10 minutes, though Bears had a late rally and cut the margin to 23-17. Matthew Morrison returned from injury in a schools Scottish cup quarter final for Auchinleck Academy and scored eight of his game high 21 points in Period Two - which combined with captain Paul Gibbons hitting a couple of long range shots - helped Ayr take it 20-13 and led 43-30 at the break.

The home side stepped up the defensive pressure in Period Three, looking to find a way back in to the game and were successful in limiting Ayr to just 11points - however the Ayr squad were up to the challenge and great D of their own met the gap remained 13pts as Bears only managed to score 11 as well.

Both sides reacted by playing more open basketball in the final period that turned out to be the highest scoring - with Ayr led by Mathew Keegan who had sat out the third period not feeling right. The rest had done him good as he hit four baskets on the trot. Bears - looking for some home pride to cheer their large support - did steal the final period 24:19 but the points were coming back down the A9 to Ayr. FT: Highland Bears 65 Ayr Storm 78

Squad: P Gibbons (16pts) C Land (2) B Wheeler I Femi-Obalemo (4) M Morrison (21) H Kerr (4) D Martin D Pirrie M Keegan (20) G Lorimer (6) B Ferguson (5)

The Ayr Storm U18 men uncharacteristically got off to a slow start in their game against Bears. Too many turnovers and poor shot choices meant coach Morrison had to call an early time out as his boys trailed by 12 points and had yet to score.

It helped get the team back on track in offense, but Bears wear unstoppable in their offensive options - strong outside shooters and taller stronger inside options. The second period and second half were much better for the Ayr team as they sorted their defence and started scoring to match the home side.

However the damage in the first 10 minutes could not be recovered. Full-time; Highland Bears 87 Ayr Storm 57