It is an exciting start for basketball in the borough as the BBL team London Lions have merged with Newham Youngbloods to form the London Youngbloods Lions. This produces a pathway for our junior teams for the future as well as giving the young hopeful Lions fans a junior basketball program to join.
As exciting as that sound business mean business going into the start of the season. The 2016/17 season sees Youngbloods Lions travel 36 miles to play their first game against a Rams team coached by a highly talented and passionate coach that has produced tough teams over the years. Proving to be a close encounter it was the Lions that go off to flying start with good inter-play from Joshua Morgan and Cameron Thompson leading to early baskets. Morgan continued with aggressive drives to the basket making easy work of the Rams defense. Early foul trouble from Christian Adun and Neave Gregoire-Clarke helped the Rams crawl back to end the quarter 17-19 in favour of Lions.
Early nerves or call it complacency will see the Rams take the lead in the second quarter forcing an early time out by Coach Stephen. Discipline and intensity was the shout that lifted the Youngbloods Lions as Adun began his scoring spree, dominating the boards and defending the paint, assisted by Thompson. Lions ended the half stronger 29-34.
The third period will see a remarkable change in the game play as the Youngbloods Lions started looking like possible final 4 candidates showing great defensive intensity and going on a 10-0 run. The pace of the game proved too difficult for the Rams as they could not find an answer. Nathaniel Boatey was instrumental defensively diving for every ball making life difficult for the Rams. A game-changing quarter saw the Youngbloods Lions only concede 6 points and scoring 24 points.
With the game stretching away from the Rams and Lions sitting comfortably in the lead, Coach Stephen started rotating the bench in the fourth quarter trying to source out his team’s strengths and weaknesses. Rams took advantage with a full court press forcing early turnovers. However, Gregoire-Clarke stayed poised as usual controlling the team and linking up nicely with Edas Rukas for easy layups. More fast breaks followed as Megane Stanley started showing hiss dominance scoring towards the end.
Final score 50 – 71
Coach Stephen” Great to the get the first win under our belt, we looked nervy at the start but kept our cool in the second half. There is still a long way to go but overall a positive start”