Newham Youngblood’s Under 16 Boys travelled to Reading looking to a season double over Reading Rockets and maintain their current winning streak in the Basketball England U16 Premier Division. Reading won the tip off and started the brighter of the two sides as they converted the first five points of the game, as Newham Youngblood’s started on the back-foot early on.
Devante Abana-Odita scored the visiting side’s first point of the game as he converted from the free throw line as he was fouled in the act of shooting. The two sides traded baskets for the next two minutes, with Reading still with the advantage as Laja Ogidan and Jonathan Odur scored from close range before a strong drive from Titas Zydelis score the two sides draw level for the first time. However, Youngblood’s could not capitalise on this as the home side closed out the quarter to take the advantage heading into the first break 16-13.
Shequell Roberts netted early on in the second period to reduce the deficit to 1 for the Newham side sparking Ogidan and Abana-Odita to score inside as they took the lead for the first time in the game. Great defence by newcomer James Walsh-Roche ensured Youngblood’s comeback was in full swing as he took a charge springing Termon Serrant into life as he netted the next six points of the game as Newham Youngblood’s closed out the 2nd quarter 8-19, giving the visitors a 8 point advantage heading into the half.
Reading started the second half the faster team as they clawed back 8 straight points in the opening three minutes as they head Youngblood’s scoreless forcing Coach Aaron Senior to take a timeout. Youngblood’s immediately responded to Senior’s call and went on 9-0 run of their own as David Olupitan nailed a shot from beyond the arc. Forcing Reading to take a time out of their own. The two sides began to exchange made shots as Serrant nailed three 3s in the remained of the quarter as Walsh-Roche joined in the action beyond the arc too. A lack of concentration by Newham however in the final minute gave Reading momentum heading into the final quarter as they netted the 7 unanswered points.
This momentum carried on early in the fourth as Reading, once 15 points down, brought the game back to a 2-point ball game. Ogidan and Richmond Ariyo sparked off a run 6 unanswered points to restore Newham’s advantage, as Serrant yet again nailed a shot from deep. Defence still was an issue fro Youngblood’s as they failed to react as they gave Reading a chance with the game brought to a 1-point game heading into the final Minute. Shequell Roberts held his nerve to score a layup to bring Newham advantage to 3 points before Devante Abana-Odita netted one of two free throws as Youngblood came home with the victory, 69-65.
“This was not a performance of our usual standard, defensively we did not switch on today and I am sure complacency set in today. However, we have two games next week, I am sure we shall bounce back with a vengeance and learn from our mistakes today. A win is the most important thing here.” said Head Coach Aaron Senior