Lewisham Thunder – 52
Newham Youngbloods Lions – 58
After an impressive win last week against Westside, Youngbloods travel across the river to face a formidable Lewisham Thunder team who are known for developing young talented players and were coached by Steve Bucknall, head coach of the England’s Under 18 squad.
Youngbloods opened the scoring with swift passing leading to a basket and fouls on big Christian Adun who nailed the free throw. Thunder would answer back minutes later but a 7-0 run kept Youngbloods ahead. But it was Thunder that finished the quarter stronger closing the gap to within 4 at the break.
The home side spurred on by their coach made a better start to the second period scoring the first 7 baskets and forcing a time out by Youngbloods coach Stephen Onireti who did not look pleased. They struggled to break the Thunder defence and looked lost. They would fight back to level pegging mid-way through but Thunder kept getting easy looks to end the half 27-28.
The momentum seemed to be swinging Thunder’s way as every thing they threw up kept dropping scoring 9 unanswered. The defensive intensity by the home side proved costly for Youngbloods who felt the game slipping away as they went down by 12 points. Back to back baskets from Joshua Morgan and Adun closed the gap to within 5.
A change of strategy would see Morgan leading from the front and asking questions about the homes sides defence who were found wanting at the start of the final quarter. Youngbloods stepped up their defence with great steals by Nathaniel Boatey leading to fast breaks and more fast breaks. The defining moment was Edas Rukas knocking down a deep three to take the lead. Thunders desperate attempt to regain the lead only forced more turnovers resulting in a Youngbloods win 52-58. A less than convincing performance form Youngblood’s who showed signs of weakness at times but were happy with a valuable win nonetheless.