Falcons secure historic third league victory
Windsor Warriors 52 – Aztecs Falcons 54
(8-20; 27-38 [18-18]; 40-46 [13-8]; 52-54 [12-8])
Paul Howard 21; AP Owoeye 12; Alex Braga 9; Iain Rogers 6; Becky Wellington 5
The Falcons secured their third league win of the season on the back of a thrilling encounter with Windsor Warriors at St John’s Beaumont School on Tuesday. The win makes this the most successful season the Falcons have had for some time, and certainly in the past three seasons. In 2018 they managed two league victories and a win against the Aztecs Ladies in a friendly and in 2019 they managed two playing victories in Div 3 plus a walk-over thanks to Swindon using an ineligible player. This year the team has recorded three victories on the court. This third win should have been much easier as the Falcons raced to an 20-8 lead in the first period and at the turn they still led by 11, but their all-too-common third period dip gave Windsor more than a glimmer of a chance. When that third period dip continued into the final session the game was on the line until Alex Braga’s field goal and debutant AP Owoeye’s two foul shots gave their team a two-point lead with three seconds to go.
Russ Coulson, last week’s top-scorer, left the game early on – the latest Falcon to go onto the injured list with a groin strain, leaving Paul Howard to top the Falcons scorers for the fifth time in eight games; his 21 included three 3-pointers and 6 of 8 foul shots. AP Owoeye announced his arrival to the team with 12 points including a dunk and 3 of 15 from the line. The Falcons’ first half performance was in stark contrast to their second half – they won the first half 38-27 but scored only 16 points in the second half following the Warriors change of defensive formation and some indifferent Aztec passing and shooting. Collectively the team made four shots from downtown but a disappointing 13 from 31 at the stripe at 42%.
Coach Walker’s assessment:
What a relief! The usual players were involved in the scoring (Paul Howard, Iain Rogers and Becky Wellington), with the addition of 9 from Alex Braga, who looked more confident than he has done, and new boy AP Owoeye who contributed 12. AP’s performance really raised the team with athletic contributions at both ends of the court. His anticipation and reach made the Windsor players think twice about their shot and pass selection, while his speed to the hole gave him several good shots and drew 8 fouls, each of which took him to the free-throw line. This was a game where the contributions of all players was vital – and the whole squad did well when given the chance. Some players unfortunately got less court time than others, but everyone gave of their best and ensured the team got over the finish line ahead of their hosts. Team Secretary Tim Tostevin rarely goes home without scoring, and in this game he was fortunately on court to be the nominated shooter and so able make a key foul shot following a Windsor technical foul (Windsor missed their effort when Paul Howard gave a shot away earlier in the game for the same offence…). Simon Martin and Drew Miller both had stand-out performance on the defensive end, playing hard and not being afraid to foul when necessary. Adam Birch and Dan Warren ran the backcourt well and did their best to get the offensive moves working despite the reluctance of some players to cut hard and move to get themselves free. Russ Coulson’s injury brings the total of Falcons on the sick list to eight, although good news came through that long-term absentee Mike Cairncross could be back in contention for a spot on the team in the next couple of weeks.
Next Falcons action:
Monday 24th February Training at Kings Academy 8.30 – 10.00pm
Tuesday 25th February Div 3 game HOME to Woking Blackhawk Thunder B at 7.30
Thursday 27th February Training at Wellington College 8.00 – 10.00pm
Monday 2nd March Div 3 game AWAY to Yateley Silverbacks 3s at 8.20pm