Basketball: Encon Derbyshire Arrows U18s on verge of title

Derbyshire Arrows U18s
Derbyshire Arrows U18s

Encon Derbyshire Arrows 84 Durham Wildcats 72 The Encon Derbyshire Arrows are on the verge of securing a Divisional Championship after an insane buzzer beating 3 pointer from Alex Lycoudis saw them snatch the overall series from title rivals the Durham Wildcats by winning 84 – 72. In a pulsating game of basketball the Arrows trailed by 8 at the interval needing to win by 11 points. They fought back dramatically to lead by 9 with 3 seconds remaining before Alex Lycoudis hit a very long shot to deliver the win.

The game began in a manner that befitted a clash between the division’s best two teams who shared an identical 12 – 1 record. Durham Wildcats opened with a 3 pointer while the Arrows responded with baskets by Riyad West. The teams exchanged baskets throughout the quarter but the introduction of Joe Longden seemed to edge it the way of the Arrows by 17 – 14.

The second quarter saw Durham at their best as they seemed to gain momentum taking the quarter 29 – 18 to lead overall at the interval 43 – 35. Riyad West had 7 points for the Arrows but Coach James Kelly clearly needed to find some inspiration for the team as they headed for the changing room.

Whatever the plan was worked as the Arrows exploded in the second quarter with their typical brand of high - octane offence and athletic defence. JJ Wright, Alex Lycoudis, Sam Taylor, Joe Longden and Jabar Bika completely turned the game around as they took the quarter 29 – 12 to reach the break at 64 – 55.

Into the fourth quarter and Durham responded again and with less than 3 minutes to go the arrows led 76 – 70. It was extremely tense as a large crowd watched on enthralled by the overall drama of the moment. Suddenly the Arrows broke again and JJ Wright sent down a 2 handed – dunk with 2 Wildcats hanging onto him for an additional foul. The Wildcats were fully aware of the overall series and began to play for a victory in that. The Arrows held their nerve with yet another fast – paced attack but it ended with an attacking inbound play. The ball shook free as Alex Lycoudis chased it to mid – court before delivering the devastating dagger to the Wildcats. Closing the game 84 – 72 as seconds later the victorious Arrows and their Coaches James Kelly assisted by brother Jonathan embraced together bathed by the success of the moment.

Arrows scorers; Joe Longden 21, Alex Lycoudis 20, JJ Wright 18, Riyad West 13, Jabar Bika 7, Sam Taylor 5

Captain fantastic Joe Longden who top scored with 21 and held the team together like glue led the team throughout with selfless play but taking care of all the small details that mean so much. The Arrows will secure the title if they can beat bottom placed Harrogate this Sunday at Killamarsh Sports Centre 2pm tip off.   

Encon Derbyshire Arrows U14’s 79 City of Leeds 60

The Encon Derbyshire Arrows notched another vital win on the back of another amazing performance by Isaac Askwith who amassed 47 personal points as the Arrows eventually got home by 79 – 60.

The Encon Arrows started brightly as Isaac Askwith scored 12 points in the opening quarter well supported by Dec Abbott as the Arrows led 23 – 9.

The Arrows extended their lead in a very competitive second quarter with baskets from Dec Abbott and Kyle Edwards to lead 42 – 24 at the interval. In the third, Leeds responded aggressively in the third quarter which they took 13 – 21 to make the result in doubt at 55 – 45.

Thankfully the Arrows had Isaac Askwith who poured in 16 points in the final quarter to ensure a healthy victory by 79 – 60.

Scorers; Isaac Askwith 47, Dec Abbott 13, Kyle Edwards 6