Newcastle men’s basketball 3's prevailed against Teesside 1's in a closely-fought contest that finished 68-55 to the home side, casting aside any concerns regarding the fact that Teesside compete in a higher division.
Teesside undoubtedly started the stronger of the two sides, with Josh Foster intercepting the ball from Newcastle’s Harry Stacpoole and drawing first blood for the away side. A free throw for George Rayers saw Newcastle get their first points on the board, but they still struggled to find their rhythm as Foster continued to cause problems with his accurate shooting and smart passing.
Newcastle soon woke up out of their stupor, with Billy Ji manoeuvring well to beat his man and sink a basket. Stacpoole continued his good form from the free throw line to keep Teesside’s lead to minimum, with Newcastle beginning to gel. They were passing the ball with much more accuracy and efficiency, and Chuck Xie showed his talent by carving his way through the Teesside squad before executing a perfect shot. Newcastle were losing 20-17 at the end of the first quarter, but their increasingly positive performance suggested that Teesside’s lead might not last long.[pullquote]The fourth quarter of the game, in spite of Teesside’s best efforts, was not to contain a thrilling comeback[/pullquote]
Teesside began to pass the ball quite laboriously in the second quarter, and Ash Gunput took advantage of this, sinking a brilliant shot from range. The contest was becoming very back and forth, with each team conceding and scoring at a fairly even rate, yet Newcastle were looking the more likely of the two sides to win.
It was a battle of the number 5’s throughout the game, with Teesside’s Foster being dominant early on, but being overshadowed in this quarter by Gunput, who seemed to be at the core of so many of Newcastle’s most threatening moves. Billy Ji also deserves credit for his performance, using his imposing frame to make it hard for his opponents to mark him or block his shots, as well as showing great resilience when battling for the rebounds. Newcastle’s movement was beginning to frustrate Teesside, and they thoroughly deserved to be up 33-27 at the halfway point.
Going into the second half of the game, Newcastle continued to add to their lead. Edward Chen kept his composure to add more to the score from free throws, and the gap over Teesside was gradually growing. A tight defence was dealing well with dangerous situations driven by Teesside’s Foster and Usaiyo, nullifying their key players effectively.
Teesside’s defence were frenetically defending their net and subsequently kept conceding fouls, allowing Joe Warn to bolster the lead even further. After some good cross-court passing Newcastle gave the ball away cheaply, allowing Reyes to score, but responded well to any slight lapses in concentration. A bad-looking injury to one of Teesside’s players saw the game stopped while he was treated, but this never looked like derailing Newcastle’s momentum as they ended the third quarter with a healthy lead of 48-39.
The fourth quarter of the game, in spite of Teesside’s best efforts, was not to contain a thrilling comeback. Newcastle continued to add to their points, with Ji proving to be a continual nuisance towards the away side’s defence. Gunput showed his impressive range to score a superb three-pointer, with Stacpoole and Rayers contributing as well to eliminate any worries of a Teesside resurgence. The game ended with a 68-55 victory for Newcastle, who deservedly progress to the next round of the BUCS Northern Conference Cup.