Home and Away games awaited Youngbloods this weekend as they all continue to push for playoff positions, a local derby started proceeding off whilst a duo of fixtures away at Greenhouse Pioneers followed by a trip to Southampton the following day for two of our teams.
Saturday 13th December 2014
Under 13 Boys
Youngbloods 87 NASSA 62
The eagerly anticipated rivalry match between two local teams at St. Angela’s school would see the Nitro’s face a NASSA team who felt they should have won the early fixture back in October. That game saw the Nitro’s supremacy wining by 17 points.
Starting for the Nitro’s were Alijandro Dias, Alex Distras, Franklin Agu, Nathan and Latrell. The team looked focused and was determined claim their rights as top team in Newham. Game got the way as the Nitro’s went on a 8-0 run finding gaps in the NASSA defence, Alejandro and Franklin set the pace until Alex took over scoring from all angles and with a 3 point shot half way through the first Quarter that forced NASSA to called a time. The onslaught was unbearable for the opponents who were also finding them selves in early foul trouble. NASSA fought back to the delight of their supporters, but Latrell stepped up late on with 2 And1 plays to end the quarter 23-21.
The second quarter was much of the same as the Nitro’s continued their high point production. Franklin showed why he has the potential to be one of the best players to come out of Youngbloods has he combined with Alejandro scoring 9 points and grabbing 8 rebounds in the quarter. NASSA had no answer for the fundamentally sound Nitro’s who dominated proceedings, running fast breaks and defending well as a team and with 10 seconds left Ja’den scored after a string of passes to end the half 48-33.
Youngbloods Nitros were booming with confidence heading into the third quarter and were desperate to finish off their rivals. Gustas started things off with a cool drive to the basket despite his quiet game. Nathan broke the hearts of the visitors with more baskets giving Nitro’s another 8-0 run. NASSA showed grit and determination going on a run of their own but Alex showed his class taking it to the opponents stopping their run and fouling out NASSA’s best player in the process. Quarter score 18-15.
Final quarter and the Nitros went into cruise mode as they pushed to finish the game. Daniel Porter didn’t start the game well but came on and controlled things scoring and assisting Gustas and Alejandro. Coach Stephen rests his starting 5 giving opportunity for Lucas and Ja’den to get more minutes. The buzzer sounds and another dazzling display by the Nitros who has their sights now set on the playoffs. A great team performance with 5 player reaching double figures.
Greenhouse Pioneers 68 Youngbloods 57
After a close five points win at home last weekend, the Acers under 14’s set off to south London to face Pioneers South. Pioneers are the only unbeaten team in the league winning their games convincingly defeating the national champions by 20 points. A though challenge for the progressing Acer’s.
After a long warm-up, the starters took to the court. Strait away Pioneers showed the reason why they are undefeated as they attacked and dominated proceedings early on tearing through the Acers defence like a steam train. Down by 8 and looking stunned, Coach Richard called a time out to adjust the defence. The team responded as set out to slow down their best player. Baskets started raining in from Simon and Laja making it a 15-13 quarter to Pioneers.
Intense defence proved pivotal for the Acers as they went on a massive run. Alex E scored after a string of passes supported by Laja and Richmond. Acers looked stronger and suddenly took the lead. Awesome defence from Great hustling and making it hard for the home side, more defensive as Alex-E got a huge rejection enabling the Acers to end the half with a 1 point lead.
Pioneers started the third quarter all guns blazing and forced multiple turnovers giving them a 8-0 run early on. However after a motivational speech by Coach Stephen and Coach Richard the boys started fight back. Simon led the charge scoring a 3 pointer and also driving through for an And1 play. Free-throws played a big role as we scored 8-8 on the line. Though there were some early foul troubles to a few starters, Great, Alex D and Laja pilled in the points to make it 18-18.
Controversial fourth Quarter would see the home side gain the advantage as they physically dominated the Acer’s to coach Stephen’s disappointment. Refereeing decision would see Pioneers take a commanding lead and never looked back. Too many turnovers from sloppy passing settled things. A well fought game and a good display of basketball from both sides. Final score 68-57 to Pioneers handing Acer’s their 4th loss of the season.
Greenhouse Pioneers 53 Youngbloods 57
The re-match against these two physical had been anticipated since the first time Amazons had convincingly beaten Pioneers. Pioneers had said that they had been missing vital players in the first encounter, hence the win. So Amazons were not surprised to see the two u18 England players warming up for the opposition. Amazons got ready to prove that missing players or not! Youngbloods would still come out the victors.
The game started with Pioneers scoring. Brenda Kipewu came answered back with a steal and a lay-up Rhianna Laing followed suit straight after. The mood was set for the battle. Although, Pioneers stay in contention throughout the game. It would have been very hard to find a time that the Amazons were not in control of the game Evelyn Adebayo netted a huge 19 points. With the Youngblood’s Amazons now on the top of the league with a 7-1 win ratio, the girls get to rest over Christmas, not forgetting their training and return to competitive games in January against Surrey Steelers at St Angela’s School on the 10th January 2015
Sunday 14th December 2014
Solent Kestrels 78 Youngbloods 83
The Under 16 and Under 18 Boys had to meet at the break of dawn in order to travel to Sunny Southampton as thy both squared up against Solent Kestrels. After a two and half hour drive the Under 16 Boys were first to tip off. Solent Kestrels were the first to score, however Youngbloods Jelani Watson-Gayle hit back immediately with a 3 point shot, followed by a steal and drive to the basket forcing Solent to foul, giving the visiting side 7-2 early lead half way through the first. Solent hit back strong following a time-out as they tied the game. Rayon Brown hit a floater inside the key which started another run for the visiting side with Aaron Martin driving to the basket strong, scoring in traffic and taking the contact for the and-1 play, hitting a big three point shot on the buzzer for Youngbloods to close the first quarter in the lead, 18-16.
Alfie Murray and Martin started the scoring for the Newham side early in the second as they began to build this lead, however defensive lapses began as Youngbloods let Solent back into the game from the free throw line as Youngbloods committed silly fouls. Brown hit the next five points of the game, as Youngbloods started to find their range converting four 3 pointers in this quarter to win the second quarter 25-21 courtesy of a Watson-Gayle treble beating the buzzer yet again going in at the half time break with a 6 point lead, 43-37.
Youngbloods came out of the half time break full of energy as they established a 10 point lead after quick scores in transition from Nathan Moyo and Brown. The Kestrels never let Youngbloods gather more than a 10 point lead any stage during the quarter and always kept the Newham-Based side within touching distance. A 3 point shot by Brown and a contested deep two point shot from Mark Sotto gave Youngbloods the lead heading into the final quarter of play.
Newham had yet another fast start to the final quarter of the game with big men Murray and Moyo scoring from the inside, capped by a shot from down town by Martin gave Youngbloods the initiative heading into the final five minutes of the game with a 10 point lead, complacency began to crop into Youngbloods game as they allowed Solent to score 9 unanswered points within two minutes of play as they tied the game 70-70 forcing Youngbloods U16 Coach Aaron Senior to take a time-out. Following the timeout, Youngbloods scored quickly to gain the lead they had not let go since the opening minute of the game, as Alfie Murray produced a strong and-1 play, scoring the basket and the free throw as a result of being fouled to bring the momentum back to Newham, as Solent began to foul to save time on the clock. As Under 15 debutant for the U16 team Jonathan Odur ensured the ball safely came into play as Solent fouled tactically and Brown cooly sank the last two free throws of the game as they held onto the lead, and their unbeaten start to the first half of the league campaign. As Youngbloods left Solent with a 83-78 win going 10-0 in the Basketball England South Premier Division.
Head Coach Aaron Senior said “I speak about perseverance all the time, and today was a good example of that, we kept at it despite players missing, we were able to come here and win and ensure that our first 10 league games of the season are wins, as we move on to the remaining half of the league season”