Youngbloods Under 16 Acers Development team were in action for the first time this season as they hosted London Feltham Warriors in the first round of the Basketball England National Cup. Youngbloods won the tip and failed to score out of the opening possession and Feltham duly punished the home side converting their first chance of the game. This fired up the home side as Great Igbinomwanhia scored following a ferocious drive to the basket to tie the game in the early stages, before defensive lapses started to cost the home side dearly. Rajuel Bennett-Harris kept the home side in the game converting both chances from close range as Igbinomwanhia continued attacking the basket strong as he drew the foul and converted 1 out of two from the free throw line. The Warriors then netted the next 7 points forcing Coach Aaron Senior to take time out to speak to his side. Following the timeout Emmanuel Onwuka Oleh split his free throws as he was fouled going to the basket. As the visiting side finished the better of the two sides with Newham down by 7 at the end of the first, 10-17.
Newham started the second quarter brighter out of the two sides as Igbinomwanhia continued to demonstrate his dominance as the home side slowly began to show defensive prowess as Oluwademilade Adams got a steal and attacked the basket, converting his chances from the charity stripe after getting fouled before a 3 point shot nailed from deep by Marcus Gordon brought the game within 2 points for the home side midway through the quarter. Feltham came to life to close out the second quarter as they went on a run of 7 points as Youngbloods struggled to contain them. Feltham taking the lead in the half time break 24-31 leaving the home side alot to do.
The third quarter began much like the second quarter, with baskets exchanged by both sides, before Under 14 Franklin Agu was introduced into proceedings taking over the game for home side after being down by as much as 11 points in the third quarter. Agu dominated the boards, rebounding strong and showing good patience, whilst attacking the basket strong getting many of the visiting side in foul trouble, Scoring a run of 7 points in the third to give the home side much needed energy boost as they closed out the third quarter still within 7 points, however will full momentum with Youngbloods.
A vital fourth quarter was ahead for Newham as they looked to continue their momentum gained with high intensity defence and so they did with Hocine Boudeouaou sparking a run of 8 consecutive points for the home side ably assisted by Adams, Gordon and Onwuka Oleh giving Youngbloods their first lead of the game, up by 1 point midway through the first quarter. However defensive lapses soon came and failed chances on the offensive end gave feltham the upper hand again as they hit a three point shot to lead by 6 points forcing Coach Senior to take a timeout with two minutes remaining in the fourth emphasizing defensive intensity as the springboard for our fast breaks, as Agu and Bennett-Altius stepped up to the plate as they went on a run of 6 points to bring the game to level pegging as a nice pass from Agu to Boudeouou led to a score from close range as they again took a two point lead, as the visiting side fail to convert any chances in the remaining two minutes giving Newham Youngbloods Acers the win by 2 points, Final Score 58-56 to advance to second Round of the National Cup vs Lewisham Thunder next Sunday, 5pm tip off.
“We played excellently in the fourth quarter, and if we played the rest of the game like this, it would have been much easier, it is early days and there are encouraging signs for sure” said Head Coach Aaron Senior