Under 14 Boys travelled to Ipswich on Sunday as they looked to bounce back from a dip in form and finish 2015 in a positive fashion as they played Ipswich Basketball Club at Coplestone Sports Centre, Suffolk. This weekend saw the return of Alejandro Dias into National League action following his brief stint living abroad.
Youngblood’s won the tip as Franklin Agu coolly converted the first chance of the game which started a chain of baskets traded between both sides as neither side could establish a lead early on. As Alex Distras and Gustas Skorobogatovas scored the next 14 points for the visiting side as they closed out the first quarter 14-16, ahead by 2 points.
Ipswich started the second quarter by tying up the game early on before two scores back to back from Distras gave Youngblood’s their biggest lead of the game thus far, which they continued to build upon as Alejandro Diaz was able to find Agu on the inside as he was fouled in the act of shooting, splitting his free shots from the charity stripe. Agu hit the target on the next possession as Youngblood’s extended their lead to 7 points midway through the second period. Ipswich hit back with 5 straight points as Youngblood’s fell asleep defensively before Titus Warari scored his first points of the game with a strong attack to the basket. Distras completed proceedings for the visitors as Youngblood’s went into the half time break with a 25-31 lead.
Youngblood’s followed suit in the third period, as they started much like the second, getting on the scoreboard early on to establish a 10-point lead. Agu continued working hard to establish himself in the paint, as he managed to get to the free throw line, but failed to make his free shots count. Smart play from Skorobogatovas gave him a score from deep and another score from Warari consolidated an 11-point lead at the end of the third stanza for Newham Youngblood’s, leading 35-46.
Ipswich struck first as they scored the first points of the fourth period, as frustration would begin to loom for the visitors despite forcing Ipswich to foul and in to trouble early on. Great plays by Distras and Warari ensured that Youngblood’s maintained their 10-point differential heading in to the final five minutes. However, failure on 6 attempts from the free throw line added to a tense final few minutes from the Newham side. Distras managed to convert two back to back free throws giving Youngblood’s the 10-point lead once again with less than 30 second remaining. Ipswich began to apply pressure in order to force mistakes from the Newham side in which they were rewarded as they scored of 4 consecutive possessions to bring the game to within 2. Youngblood’s Distras managed to attack the basket and was fouled in the act of shooting and missing the first and knocking down the second to give Youngblood’s a 3-point lead with one possession remaining in the game. Ipswich called a time out to advance the ball up the floor with less than 5 second remaining on the game clock. A dubious screen set by the Ipswich team lead to their player knocking down the buzzer beating three point shot to tie the game sending their crowd in to rapturous applause as they sent the game in to what had looked like an unlikely Overtime Period tied 62 apiece.
Ipswich full of momentum started the brighter of the two sides in the over time period scoring off the first opportunity, before Diaz was fouled in transition and he converted both shots from the free throw line to tie the game again. Ipswich scored off the next two possessions to take a 4-point lead midway through the first. Newham knowing, they had to dig deep defensively in order to get a positive result from the game as Skorobogatovas knocked down a three from beyond the arc to provide a much needed adrenaline rush to the visitors as they managed to keep Ipswich scoreless over the next three minutes which proved crucial as Distras and Skorobogatovas were able to convert their chances by attacking the basket and from the free throw line as Youngblood’s scored 11 unanswered points as they closed out the game with a 6 point win in OT, 69-75.
“We can never become too complacent, as a team we have to learn from each other and ensure that does happen again, however we fought all the way to the end and came away with a much needed away victory, and finishing 2015 on a positive note” said Head Coach Aaron Senior