U14 girls pay the price for slow start against Hatters
With the summer break over National League Basketball returned to the Clarence Wiggins Sports Centre on Saturday afternoon as the U14 Girls welcomed Sheffield Hatters for a game that for six of the Blazer girls was their first taste of competitive basketball.
The game started in typical first day fashion as both teams’ displayed nervous energy that led to empty possessions and missed opportunities that no doubt in training they would make. It was the away team that scored first which was followed quickly by a quick break layup for Derby debutant Katie J. The remaining minutes of the 1st quarter again resulted in multiple opportunities for the young Blazer girls to score but to no avail as no fewer than 10 layup attempts failed to convert whilst on the other end the Hatters girl’s offensive rhythm had settled as they were able to score 12 points to end the first with a 2-14 lead.
The second quarter started with both teams exchanging points as team captains Neve & Kerys combined for 6 points. Again missed shots were starting to play a factor in the second quarter but defensively the Blazer girls were doing a great job of forcing their opponents into low percentage shots. A scoring spark was needed and it came in the form of back to back short corner jump shots from Tash which were quickly followed by a great cut and finish by Daisy and a transition layup for Neve. As the final moments of the quarter ticked down Katie J drove to the middle of the floor and put up a floated layup that rolled over the rim as time expired and with it the Blazers were back in the game down 21-28 at the half.
As the game resumed in the third it was important that the Blazer girls continued to find high percentage shots and play great team defence. The first two minutes of the quarter resulted in exactly that as Tash & Neve scores saw the Hatters lead reduce to just 5 points. Unfortunately, due to a number of factors the girls focus dropped and a decisive 0-10 scoring run for Hatters gave them a double digit lead and a huge hole for the Blazer girls to climb out off. Both teams exchanged points for the remaining two minutes of the quarter and although Kerys was able to score the last points of the quarter for the Blazers they found themselves on the wrong end of a 45-33 deficit.
The story of the game was missed open looks for the home team and the fourth quarter followed that same pattern as the Hatters took a commanding 54-35 lead with 5 minutes remaining. Despite the scoring drought the Blazer girls were determined to fight until the end of the game and baskets from debutants Annalise & Emma gave the home crowd something to cheer. The game finished on a 5-0 scoring burst for the Blazer girls and although the final score read 65-47 to the Hatters there is much to be excited about with the potential of this team.
‘There are two types of defeat in team sports, being beaten by a better team and then beating yourselves. We missed 26 uncontested layup opportunities today, if we would have missed 17 we would have won the game’
‘The huge positive is you have to do at least three/four things right before you find that scoring opportunity, I am confident that as we move forward we will start to be rewarded for our hard work’
‘I believe Sheffield will be one of the top teams in our league and for long periods of the game we more than matched them. When you consider we had 6 players that had never played a competitive game of basketball before and 4 players that had never been in the starting 5 it all bodes well for the season ahead’
Neve Marvill 17, Tash Barker 9, Kerys Mather 8, Katie J 6, Daisy Sheppard 2, Emma Caamano 2, Annalise Rowntree 2.