BASKETBALL: Titans stun Hatters in National Cup

Dina Kosnikovska in action as she scored 37 points for Northants Lightning. Picture by Dave Ikin
Dina Kosnikovska in action as she scored 37 points for Northants Lightning. Picture by Dave Ikin

Northamptonshire Titans produced one of the upsets of the round in the U16 Girls National Cup as they stunned North Premier team Sheffield Hatters with a 73-69 success.

Titans had beaten Hatters’ second team in the league the week earlier but they got the better of the firsts with an excellent display.

Titans asserted themselves and kept Hatters scoreless for the first three minutes before the visitors finally settled to lead 20-18 at the end of the first period.

Hatters looked to be in control when they extended their lead to 14 points in the third period but Titans seized the opportunity as their opponents’ foul count grew.

Still trailing by nine points, Titans stuck to their gameplan and poured in a 13-2 run and Hatters were reduced to four players in the final quarter which gave the hosts the chance to wrap up the superb win.

Titans’ senior women opened their season on a winning note as they beat Derby Trailblazers 84-79 to move into the next round of the National Cup.

It was a close game throughout and, with Lauren Milne and Paige Vyse contributing, the scores were level at 24-24 and that theme continued as they entered the final period all-square.

In the eighth minute of the last quarter, Trailblazers had a coach ejected and Titans were able to take advantage of an unsettled visiting team with Milne and Hayley Swann converting from the foul line to complete the victory.

Titans Purple’s hard work finally paid off as they picked up their first win of the U14 Boys Midlands West Regional League season with a 74-39 victory at Shropshire Warriors.

They tightened up their defence while better spacing and player movement enable Titans to find a high percentage of scoring opportunities.

Ethan Round, Ethan Mead and Dimitris Makrakis all achieved double figures, scoring 15, 12 and 11 points respectively but all 10 players contributed to the team’s total.

Seb Nelson’s defensive efforts and Sam Reynolds’s rebounding were also worthy of a mention, in addition to the eight points they both scored.

Titans were undone in the third quarter as they slipped to a 96-77 home defeat to Manchester Magic in the U14 Boys North Premier League

Titans were determined and focus early on and they were well in the game at half-time, trailing by just three points.

But Titans struggled to finish in the third while Magic scored with ease.

Titans changed gear for the fourth as they ran the score up but the damage had been done in the third.

Northants Thunder senior men picked up their first win of the season in Midlands Conference Division Four as they beat new boys Coventry Flames 79-47.

Managed by former Thunder coach Rob Eddon, Flames were without several players due to international clearance issues and Thunder pulled away from them in the third period as a run of 21-2 saw them play their best basketball of the season to take control.

Thunder took an 18-point lead into the final quarter and they had no problem closing out the game as they restricted their opponents to just nine points while scoring 23 themselves.

Matt Yates top-scored with 26 points, 14 coming in the third quarter, with good support coming from Hayden Alcindor, Jacob Holt, Higgins and Terrell Salmon.

Northants Thunder cadet boys’ hesitant start to the U16 Midlands West Conference season continued as they suffered a heavy 101-26 loss to Team Birmingham Elite.

Thunder were missing key players and they struggled to defend the physicality and athleticism of their opponents.

Ashley Kitchen and Grigori Litsai were the best Thunder scorers with 11 points each.

Northants Thunder lost out in a thriller as they were edged out 81-76 by Oxford Hoops in the U14 Boys Midlands West Conference.

Thunder trailed 42-31 at half-time but 10 points from Tom Greenfield in the third quarter helped reduce the gap to 58-52 to set up a final 10 minutes.

Thunder actually took the lead at 63-62 at one stage but Oxford responded to just edge home.

In the narrow defeat, Greenfield and Benas Maldutis led the scoring with 26 and 20 points respectively, while Dylan Dominici contributed an impressive 17.

Northants Thunder returned from their first Central England Under 12 Boys Central Venue League empty-handed.

They suffered a 28-17 defeat to Leicester Riders and then went down 37-32 to City of Birmingham Rockets.

Northants Lightning produced fine display as they beat City of Leeds 91-20 in the U16 Girls North Conference.

After a sloppy first quarter, Lightning dominated proceedings and the second half saw guard Dina Kosnikovska score an amazing 30 personal points.

She closed the game with 37 while Poppy Barnett and Sade Chambers scored 19 and 10 points respectively.

Northants Lightning picked up a fine win on the road as they returned from Norfolk Inceni with a 60-56 victory in the U14 Girls Midlands East Conference.

Having opened up a 29-19 half-time lead, Lightning’s advantage was cut to 31-30 in the third quarter.

At that stage, Lucie Wilson-Gray took the game by the scruff of the neck with 13 personal points.

It stayed close in the final period but a 6-3 run late on secured the win, in which Wilson-Gray led the scoring with 29, including five three-pointers, while Fiona Arthur contributed 10.