Jags secure second win in two games in Division 1
Aztecs Jags 64 – Farnborough Phantoms 53
(11-10; 32-28; 42-44; 64-63)
The Aztec Jags took to the court against the Farnborough Phantoms with confidence after their first league win of the season the previous week. Winning the tip, they got off to a good start, with Gavin Baker making an easy inside lay-up. Baskets were then traded, with Matt Jessop getting his eye in for the Jags and knocking down some deep jump shots. Despite the good early rhythm some momentary lapses in their zone defence allowed the Phantoms back in to bring it within one point after the first quarter.
The second quarter got underway how the first had started – this time with Harry Norris making the inside bucket. It was then time for Ollie Purvey to continue his hot streak of 3-point shooting, hitting on his first two attempts of the game, followed by a third triple from Jared Adams. In the midst of this strong shooting display, while mindful of the 3-point threat that the Phantom’s Fajo-Misa posed from their previous encounter, the Jags’ were slow to react to their other outside shooters; two three-pointers for the Phantoms kept them close. The Jags switched to a man to man defence, briefly unsettling the rhythm the Phantoms were building – with two further buckets for Jessop, followed by free throws for Colin Sawford and a field goal for Arturs Vitins, they were able to extend their lead to four points at the half.
At this stage in the game, while they had a four point lead the Jags’ mood was that it should be more – their offence wasn’t fully clicking with open jump shots and layups being missed. However, with the way the Jags were managing the lead, the third quarter came as a surprise. The Phantoms upped their defence and started working a high-low post game on offence, creating space for their outside shooters as well as some easy baskets inside. The Jags’ zone defence was only being played for 15 seconds, rotations were stopping, and turnovers or forced shots on offense started to creep in. The Phantoms took the momentum scoring 15 points over the first six minutes, with only 4 in return, to take a 43-36 lead. The Jags’ frustrations were boiling over. A opportune timeout by Coach Purvey settled things down, with two crucial three-pointers from Purvey Jnr bringing the Jags back in it, now down only 44-42 after three quarters.
The fourth quarter was how the first three were intended – a confident and complete Jags team display on both ends of the court. The Jags’ defence started working harder, not allowing any easy shots and cleaning up on the boards. The offense was more balanced and patient, and the shots started dropping. Easier buckets on the fast break were happening as Adams pushed the ball up, Sawford and Vitins scoring. It was coming from all areas – Baker taking it to the opposition inside, Purvey at the free throw line and Jessop and Vitins from three. That pre-game confidence was not misplaced after all – it just took three quarters of play to be fully realised as the Jags romped home 64-53. That’s now two wins on the trot and hopefully a sign of more to come.