Under 16 Boys travelled to the South of England as they embarked on a journey to Durrington-On-Sea, Worthing to face Worthing Thunder whom they had a one-point game against earlier in the season in Newham. Following Newham Youngblood’s two and half hour trip to the south coast, they won tip off and started the brighter of the two sides Richmond Ariyo and Devante Abana-Odita converting their chances early on to take a 5-0 lead before Worthing replied with 4 points of their own. Ariyo continued to frustrate the home side with his attacking poise as he converted another 4 points along with Termon Serrant strong attack to the basket resulting in a foul and sunk both free throws to give Youngblood’s a 5-point lead midway through the 1st quarter. Shequell Roberts was introduced to play and netted a three-point shot upon his introduction as Laja Ogidan produced a brilliant stop on defence which swiftly led to a converted basket on the offensive end. Another three-point shot was nailed from deep from Serrant to widen the gap further. James Walsh-Roche introduction saw an immediate score as Youngblood’s took their lead to 11 points at the end of the 1st quarter, 14-25.
Worthing scored first as tactical changes by both sides were prevalent and with both teams testing each other traded baskets for much of the second quarter. David Olupitan began the putting the first points on the board in the 2nd period as well as Alex Distras who also shot a three point shot before netting a deep 2-point shot to extend Youngblood’s lead to 12 points. The two sides continued to trade baskets with Jonathan Odur contributing to the scoring effort with neither side able to spark a run of any kind. Both sides scoring the same amount in the second period at 23 points apiece giving Youngblood’s the same 11-point lead heading into the half time period, 37-48.
Thunder came out of the half time energised as it was clear Youngblood’s came out asleep as Newham failed to score for the first five minutes of the half, Worthing converting the first 10 points of the 3rd period to bring the game to a one-point affair forcing Head Coach Aaron Senior to take a time-out urging for an increase in defensive intensity and accountability. Youngblood’s heeded this advice as over the course of the next five minutes held Worthing to 5 points only whilst scoring 16 points of their own as Ariyo again became and offensive and defensive force which Worthing could not contend with along with three’s from Olupitan and Distras restoring Newham’s lead in the game with Abana-Odita scoring the last chance of the quarter to increase their lead heading into the final break to 12 points, 52-64.
The opening stages of the fourth quarter presented a cagey affair between both sides as the two sides traded basket for basket, however a big three-point shot from Roberts extended Youngblood’s lead to 15 with 5 minutes remaining in the game. This sparked the Worthing side as they scored 9 straight points to again reduce Youngblood’s lead to 6 points. Newham Youngblood’s held their nerve with Ogidan and Serrant taking control of proceedings scoring the next 8 point including a foul and and-1 from Serrant. Giving Youngblood’s the energy to step up their defensive efforts restricting Worthing to 5 points in the last 4 minutes of play. A big three from Olupitan before the final minute sealed the game the visiting side who would be travelling back to London a happy side as they won the final quarter as well as the game 70-84 to remain top of the South Premier whilst also gaining a playoff berth with three games remaining in the Regular Season.
“We started the game well, and this set our outlook for the game. We have improvements to make for sure, However, we kept to our game plan despite other influences and came out of it positive. Looking ahead, we want to end the season strong in our next three games” said Head Coach Aaron Senior