Aztecs Falcons 63 – Yateley Silverbacks 3s 59
(20-7; 31-26 [11-19]; 45-44 [14-18]; 63-59 [18-13])
Paul Howard 26; Becky Wellington 16; Iain Rogers 13; Russ Coulson 6.
The Falcons finally finished this fixture with a second success this season. After taking a 15-point lead in the opening session when they led 19-4, the Falcons took their foot off the gas and allowed Yateley right back into the game; indeed the Silverbacks took the lead at 20-21 following a 0-14 run. For the rest of the match it was a really close game with both teams taking narrow leads, and never going down by more than 5 points. With five minutes to go Yateley led 52-55 after both teams had a nightmare from the foul line. In the last period Yateley made just 3 of 9 while the Falcons were 3 of 8 until they finally realised how important these opportunities were. With Yateley leading 54-57 the Falcons closed out the game with an 11-2 spell that included 5 successful free throws from 8 attempts, Becky Wellington making the final brace that sealed the win.
Paul Howard, Becky Wellington and Iain Rogers dominated the scoring and the court time for the Falcons as the hard-fought win was secured thanks to good shooting, good rebounding (led by leader Iain Rogers) and some fine defence. The Falcons were wasteful from the free-throw line making just 11 from 21 at 52%. Paul Howard’s 26 included four three’s (compared to Yateley’s 1) and 6 of 10 at 60% from the line. This was the second Falcons win – hopefully it will not be the last this season. If they look after the ball, run patient and accurate offensive moves and play tough defence they will get more wins.
Coach Walker’s assessment:
Half an hour extra practice before the game was so valuable with the Falcons never able to get a full team to any training sessions. After going up 19-4 it looked as though the game was won, but keen to make a game of it the start of the second period was a nightmare. In the end it was a terrific game of basketball for the neutral spectators (there were about a dozen of them including the injured Matt Sawyer and Dan Sinclair and former MIP Jack Parker) but a nerve-jangling, heart-stopping, nail-biting match for the bench. Play of the game was a perfectly executed end-line play which was finished superbly by the captain. Missed shots in the paint are still an issue but focus in training is slowly putting that right. Next Tuesday sees the Falcons face local rivals Cobras Venom at Welly Colly at 7.30.
Next Falcons action:
Thursday 6th February: Training at Wellington College 7.45 – 10.00pm
Tuesday 11th February Div 3 game HOME against Cobras Venom at 7:30pm
Thursday 13th February: Training at Wellington College 7.45 – 10.00pm
Tuesday 18th February Div 3 game AWAY against Windsor Warriors at 8.15pm
Monday 24th February Training at Kings Academy 8.30 – 10.00pm