Newcastle Knights Basketball- Mens 3rds vs Leeds Mens 3rds

Newcastle Mens Basketball 3rd team faced a tough challenge against Leeds Mens basketball 3rd team in their final game of the season. The game was incredibly high stakes as a win would see the Newcastle Knights win the league championship. The scoring started out relatively slow, which is probably to be expected in a game […]

Dominic Lee
6th March 2020
Newcastle Mens Basketball 3rd team faced a tough challenge against Leeds Mens basketball 3rd team in their final game of the season. The game was incredibly high stakes as a win would see the Newcastle Knights win the league championship.

The scoring started out relatively slow, which is probably to be expected in a game of this magnitude as while Newcastle seemed to be getting the ball into the paint well the shots just weren’t falling. However, some smooth shooting from the Knights towards the end of the first quarter saw them up 13-7. Newcastle’s aggressive defensive approach also helped create fastbreak opportunities, with George Rayers showing great discipline to deny the Leeds attack.

The second quarter was much more even, both in terms of scoring and overall play. Newcastle started out a little more slowly than in the first, still creating open shots but the threes were unfortunately not falling. On the other hand, Leeds looked to get the ball inside to attack Newcastle’s 3-2 zone defense. This certainly worked in their favour as they tried to exploit the space left under the basket. However, Newcastle kept in it as the star of the game began to emerge in MJ Lim who chased down a Leeds fastbreak to deny an easy layup. As the quarter went on the Knights began to find their shooting strokes again with Aidan Buckley drawing fouls in the paint and then converting his free throws consistently. This was aided by David Wilson whose spacing beyond the arc created opportunities inside. Leeds struggled as towards the end of the quarter as the Knights tightened up defensively forcing a lot of turnovers. A very even second quarter ended 22-17 in favour of Newcastle.

Newcastle came out much more aggressive to start the second half, keeping up the momentum they had towards the end of the second quarter. Lim scored a three pointer to set the tone, followed by Leeds replying with a three ball of their own.

However, Demetris Iasonidas also hit from beyond the arc to continue Newcastle’s high scoring offensive output. At the timeout the Knights led 32-20 and Leeds looked like they didn’t have much hope of catching them. However, this title-deciding game- which had already had its fair share of twists and turns- wasn’t done throwing out surprises yet. Leeds came out swinging after the timeout scoring 7 unanswered points to close the gap to 5. However, a three from Wilson calms the nerves a little as a thrilling third quarter comes to a close, with Newcastle 35-31 up but their strong lead reduced significantly.

Thankfully, the final quarter was a much happier one for the Knights as they started to score consistently again. They also looked far more confident on the defensive end as Buckley took a well timed charge to force a Leeds turnover. Lim continued to shine as an impressive passage of play saw him jump over an opponent’s legs while pushing the ball underneath his own. Unfortunately, he couldn’t turn this into points as his layup was blocked at the rim, but he showed incredible ball handling skills to gather after such a complex move. Wilson once again hit a three to solidify the Knights lead as they finished the game strongly. An impressive final quarter saw Newcastle win the game 49-39 and secure the league championship!

A thrilling four quarters showed the resolve of the Knights team who demonstrated their determination and stamina to both keep the Leeds attacks at bay and secure their lead.

Newcastle’s number 9 Joseph Byers said: ‘Despite the slow start we managed to play the game at our pace and force the other team to match us. We’ve played these guys twice before so we made the necessary adjustments against their strong shooters and aggressive rebounding. Staying cool and confident was key.’

Number 6 Harry Best added: ‘Commenting on offence and defense I think their scoreline speaks for itself. We held them to 39 which I think was really impressive and the fact we could maintain it for the whole game was one of the biggest reasons we won.

MJ Lim, number 10 reflected on the season and said: ‘I think the depth of our squad this year was really good and we stepped up when it mattered. We can have a bad game individually, but different players step up when it matters most. How well we get on off the court also translated onto the court.’

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