Troon Tornadoes Cadet Men travelled to Linwood on Saturday to meet St Mirren in what could be a huge game in terms of deciding the destination of the National League trophy.

Tornadoes had already beaten the buddies in the encounter at Marr College however St Mirren in a very intimidating Linwood Sports Centre is a different proposition.

It was St Mirren who came flying out of the traps during the first period, taking high percentage shots and able to get the ball to the basket through a very poor Tornadoes zone defence, going up by 8-2 in the first couple of minutes. A time out from Troon coach Scott Robertson helped settle his team and by switching to man to man defence, and getting better looks at the basket offensively Tornadoes tied the game at 8-8 a few minutes later. However, a very inconsistent quarter from Troon allowed St Mirren too many easy baskets and the quarter ended 20-14 in favour of St Mirren.

The second quarter started much the same as the first, with Tornadoes forgetting how to defend, and forcing unnecessary shots on the offensive side of the floor. St Mirren's 6ft 6' Scottish internationalist centre Derek Shankland proved too much to handle for the smaller Troon players and he scored the Buddies first 10 points of this second quarter. Another early time out from Troon Coach Scott Robertson appeared to calm his players down, and another change of defence proved vital in allowing Troon to get back in the game. From this point on, Troon held St Mirren to only 5 more points in the quarter and at the same time they scored 19 points. Troon captain Jordan McIlwraith and Harvie Baker Flanagan did most the damage, scoring 8 and 5 points respectively in the run which saw Tornadoes reduce the deficit to 35-33 by the end of the half. A nervous start to the third period saw both teams trading baskets for long spells, cancelling each other out. Tornadoes Sam Jack proving a real handful for the St Mirren defence, scoring two three point field goals in a row to give St Mirren a defensive headache.

A fantastic quarter from Tornadoes Connor McQuade, saw him score 8 points and do a great defensive job on the much taller St Mirren centres. Unfortunately, St Mirren outscored Tornadoes 21-19 during this period to finish the third quarter leading 56-52.

With the game so tight going into the fourth quarter the game could have gone either way. Both teams traded baskets again at the start of this period, St Mirren holding a slender 60-58 advantage. Troon captain Jordan McIlwraith then stepped up and scored a huge three pointer under massive pressure to give Troon a 61-60 lead to put them in front for the first time in the match. A St Mirren time out allowed Troon to switch to a full court press under the home teams basket, catching them by surprise and allowing Troon to steal the ball twice in succession, scoring easy lay-ups and extending their lead by 5 points. An excellent finish to the quarter from Troon saw them working very hard on defence, holding St Mirren to only 8 points, and showing real maturity on offence - using as much time as possible on each possession, running vital seconds off the clock, going on to score 21 points themselves. Troon ran out winners by a score of 73-64. Tornadoes cadets can now afford to drop one of their remaining three national league games now to bring to National League trophy back to Troon. Team: Scott Armstrong, Josh Hunter, Daniel Forbes, Joshua McGilvery, Ross Conquer, Sam Jack (16 points), Chris Savage (2 points), Jordan McIlwraith (capt) (32 points), Connor McQuade (11 points), Harvie Baker Flanagan (12 points) Tornadoes senior men suffered a crushing 84-41 defeat at the hands of St Mirren in the national league. The two previous encounters had ended with a home win for each side but the absence of 3 starters - Neil Campbell out for 3 games due to suspension, Ifadade Thomas unavailable and Andy Pearson for health reasons - proved to be too much of a handicap for a threadbare Tornadoes squad. With nothing seeming to drop for Tornadoes and St Mirren in top gear, the game was a real test of character for all but for the younger players in particular.

Only two players managed to get into double figures in scoring: Captain Euan Campbell (11 points) and Junior player Josh Crolley (10 points. Crolley could have substantially added to tally his tally but he could not convert from the free throw line. This weekend will again see Tornadoes resolve tested to the full as they entertain a Falkirk Fury team on Friday at the Citadel LC - a Fury side who will take no prisoners. Hopefully Thomas and Pearson will return to the line up to give a much needed boost to the offense but Neil Campbell will again sit out this game and also the crucial Scottish Cup quarter final the following Friday against Glasgow Storm. Team: Ally Hornell, Jamie Alexander, Stuart Ramsey, Jamie Frew, Fraser Smith, Euan Campbell, Josh Crolley, Scott Frew.

Tornadoes juniors got off to a great start in their national league encounter with St Mirren. Excellent defence in the first quarter kept the saints guards from penetrating the Tornadoes defence and this forced the saint"s players to take tough perimeter shots. These missed shots allowed Tornadoes to rebound fast break with Crolley (13 points) and Thomson (6) converted in transition. In the second quarter Tornadoes continued the good defence but failed to finish on the break and Saints punished them by closing the gap to 1 point at the half.

Tornadoes started the 2nd half cold and saw a change in Saints tactics forced Tornadoes into a half court game that resulted in turnovers and Saints showed how dangerous they were on the break scoring transition baskets and out scoring the Tornadoes team 28 points to 12. 49 going into the last quarter Tornadoes stunned by the onslaught and struggled to run an offence in the half court. Tornadoes turnovers allowed the saints team to again rack up points and after a promising first half Tornadoes went down 90- 57. Team: Josh Crolley (22 points), Jordan Thomson (15points), Jamie Alexander (8 points), Jordan McIlwraith (5 points), Sam Jack, Ian Mitchell, Silas Mc Gilvray, Matthew Scott, Harry Kerr, Alistair Anthony, Daniel Muir. Tornadoes Strathclyde senior men"s team beat local rivals Kilmarnock 77 - 73 in a Division 2 game. Tornadoes fielded a young team and they held their own against the more experienced Killie side and at the end of the first quarter they led 19-18. In the second quarter Kilmarnock up their scoring rate and by half time they had edged in front 42-38. The third quarter was tied 17-17 and in the last quarter Tornadoes eventually pegged the home side back and tied the game at 69-69. Tornadoes held their nerve and made some key free throws to edge out their local rivals. Team: Darren MaCallum, Matthew Morton, Ian Mitchell, Josh Crolley (16 points), Jordan Thomson, Jamie Alexander (10 points), Jordan McIlwraith (20 points), Matthew Scott, Harry Kerr, Daniel Muir (11 points). Next weekend the senior men host Fury at the Citadel on Friday (tip off 8.15 pm). Marr College is the venue on Saturday for the under-age national league games where the Junior team take on Perth (tip off 3.30 pm) and the cadets Glasgow Rens (1.30 pm).