BASKETBALL: Titans boys avenge earlier defeats
It was a fine weekend for the two NEBC Titans under-14 boys teams as both picked up victories in their respective leagues.
In the U14 Boys North Premier League, Titans were up against Cheshire Phoenix who had beaten them by 12 points earlier in the season.
Titans moved into a 15-point lead early in the second quarter and, although Phoenix went on an 11-0 run, Titans captain Isaac Round restarted the home team’s scoring to give them a 43-33 advantage at the half.
Strong defence from Roberts Krovsovskis allowed Titans to go 15 points clear again and a well-executed three-pointer from Callum Martin set them up for the final quarter as they outscored Phoenix 33-16 to eventually wrap up an excellent 86-64 victory.
While the Premier team were preparing for that game, the Conference team were making the short trip to take on Northants Thunder in the U14 Boys Midlands West Regional League.
And, like their club colleagues, Titans Purple turned things around as they sealed a 62-55 victory having lost by 18 points in the previous meeting.
The first quarter ended with the scores level at 14-14 but Titans edged in front 27-24 at the half and then extended that lead to 45-37 after a strong third quarter.
Titans held off a Thunder comeback in the final period to move up to fourth in the league and while all of their players made contributions, the defensive efforts of Oscar Strickland, Ethan Mead, Seb Nelson and Ethan Round were impressive while Rayaan Khalid scored 26 points.
In the U16 Girls North Regional League, Titans won 63-41 at Sheffield Hatters II.
Titans held the hosts to only seven points in the first quarter with Imogen Williams scoring six early on to give her team an advantage.
Amber Martin got things under way in the second as Titans showed why they remain unbeaten.
And they maintained that record with Ella McCahill-Brown turning up the heat from close-range and Jess Lee hitting triple shots from distance as they put the game out of reach by the third quarter.
Titans suffered a heavy 108-51 defeat to Southend Rockets in the U16 Boys North Premier League.
Ben Hooper caused Rockets issues early on and Oskar Knight worked well close to the basket.
Rockets held a two-point lead after the first quarter and, although Isaac Round found a route to the basket, Titans were outscored 12-2 in the final two minutes of the half.
The hosts lost their way in the second half as Rockets put on an impressive defensive display.
Titans’ Senior Women began the year with game against unbeaten Nottingham Trent University in Division Two and suffered an 83-63 defeat.
Titans found themselves 30-17 down at the end of the first quarter with only captain Paige Vyse and Sasha Thompson being able to break through the defence.
The Titans coach was forced to take out one of his top scorers after a questionable call put Thompson on three fouls but Titans were still in it as they trailed 51-31 at the half.
Under-16 player Lucy Virag brought more energy to Titans’ play and got herself on the scoresheet while another young player Ruby Mabbutt put in a defensive shift to keep the third quarter score even.
Titans continued to pressure their opponents but were unable to close the gap any further in the final quarter with Vyse (25) finishing as their top scorer.
Kettering Phoenix’s men’s second team - the Suns - enjoyed two wins to kick-off the new year in Division Four of the Leicestershire & Rutland League.
They started with a 64-56 victory at Ashby Aztecs C and then followed it up with a 51-47 success over Swadlincote B as Romeo Rotaru (18) and Chris Harris (13) led the scoring.
It was also a good start to the year for the third team - the Tropics - as they claimed a big 86-38 win over Ashby Aztecs B with Rotaru hitting 32 points while Sam Morris added 17.
Phoenix’s first team suffered a narrow 70-61 defeat at Gateway A in Division One.
The scoring efforts of Daniel Turricki (15) and Danny Barrett (12) were not quite enough for Phoenix.