16 May 2011
GHANA : Hoops pip Reformers 52-53
Venue, Prisons, Cantonment.
Yes, two weeks in a row playing home teams on their home court. basketball is a sport home court advantage is part of the game plan. And all were in to see what Reformers could put up being this was the two teams second meeting in this year L. Besides, its been over three years they last won a match against Hoops.
Another youngster making his debut for Hoops was Francis L. coming in from the junior side. The opposing team bench saw him dress up and calls were made to verify his inclusion as been a part of the team. This should not be a surprise, this is a young dynamic player coming up. That was easily address and we went to jumpball.
Reformers seems to take an early control of the game. Both teams seems to be careful passing the ball around. Especially from the Reformers. They settle in for three point shooting hitting a couple. Hoops, which is more athletic and aggressive went to their usual first half drive and drop play. Fred Y. aka Osofo and Benjamin D. aka Sky Walker communicated well while other team mates assisted along the way. Hoops lead at the end of the first quarter 11-13.
From the beginning of the second quarter Reformers seems to stick to their game plan of looking for shots from above the arc and fast break points. On the other hand the bigs of Hoops played high post, dishing out passes to cutters and jump shooters. Both teams actually play good defense. Hoops defending the perimeter while they tried closing the lanes. But that didn’t go too well as some of their key players got into foul trouble. Noticeable was Francis sinking his first shot attempt from beyond the arc early in the second quarter copying from his team mate Michael who did same in his debut last week.
At the half it was close with Hoops leading by a point 23-24.
The third quarter Reformers change their game plan, instead of shooting from the arc they change to dribble drive. Which caught the defense of Hoops unaware as they had change from 2-3 to 1-3-1. Reformers got some easy layups from back door cuts. Before a time out was call. The game became physical from this end. With a lot of hard fouls coming from the Reformers end. Knocking Hoops players all over the floor. A lot of mangle bodies could be seen on the floor at certain times when after rebounds. Osofo got a swollen on his right eye but stayed in the game. Abdul was on the receiving end of an elbow in his stomach and had to sit out most of the third and fourth quarters. Efe was sent flying into the side fencing. Perhaps that was a part of their game plan. This slowed the Hoops offense greatly and by the end of the third quarter Reformers lead 39-37.
The fourth quarter had to be the decider. And the home team had the crowd in it. They were on their feet cheering on and applauding every made shots. They had their larget lead by five certain time in the quarter from back to back threes. With three minutes remaining Sky Walker clutch gene started to work. He single handedly took over the Hoops offense while his team mates played tough defense. He relentlessly attacked the glass scoring with contact sending him to the charity stripes. This was crunch time and the Hoopsters were showing how mentally tough they can be. With 35 seconds remaining Hoops took the lead had a stop and Sky Walker attacked the lane and was foul on his way up. Hoops lead by 2 with 20 seconds. Seems like last week, wherein ‘Sky’ had to make the final two free throws . He did, and Reformers needed two possession. They put the ball in play and was met with full court pressure. ‘Afri Cola’ of Reformers mange to put up a shot from beyond the arc highly contested just before the final buzzer. This sent the home crowd in a frenzy before they notice it wasn’t enough for a win or to send the game in overtime.
‘Sky Walker’ lead all scorers with 25pts, 6rbds, 3stls. Every member of the team but in great effort. ‘Osofo’ played the whole game controlling the young players of Hoops and was all over the place pulling down rebounds and giving assists, he had 4pts, 8assts, 8rbds. Efe also held his head with 10pts, 7rbds and a block. Young guns Michael and Francis slash and dice the defense of Reformers, Francis with 5pts and Mike manage 2assts and a steal and his usual tough defense on perimeter shooters. Elvis contributed with 6pts but shot 0-3 from behind the arc. Abdu had a couple putback on the offensive rebound and Zizi is taking seat as the Bruce Bowen of Hoops. Defending the post and pulling down defensive rebounds one after the other. His help defense was excellent through out the game. Another player making his debut was Walade, he shot 0-4 from the field but contributed in defending the perimeter shooters.
What can be said of the current Hoops squad. These are young hungry lads mentally tough and ready to take on anyone.
Up next, CEPS at the Prisons sport grounds. Tuesday, 4pm.