Congratulations to all the nominees for this years basketball Scotland coaching & volunteer awards.
Half of the squad rolled into Gairloch at around 7.30 on Friday night and promptly began their athletic preparations. Deatch proved the coach wrong with some pretty sweet BBQ skills before the stragglers rocked up at around 11.30. Preparations continued, making sure we were all hydrated in the knowledge that a hard days balling awaited us. There was even time for a cultural exchange visit to meet some locals and learn about their pool skills and their beer. We all tried the local delicacy “hector”. Much if it remained unconsumed. A bit like Guinness watered down, filtered through some peat & mixed with ribena. An acquired taste perhaps.
Andy & Mike got the winning underway on the baize, Farooq had his ear flicked and won the poker school sweeping an enormous pot of around £2.50. As it doesn’t appear to get dark up here we – in one sense – got to bed at a sensible time of day (…?). The residents of the crunkhouse(tm) were the focus of much envy as polly the caravan (henceforth to be referred to as the shan-a-van) was a little neater than perhaps expected. There would, one would have to assume having inspected the sleeping quarters, have been some spooning. We didn’t ask. We don’t judge. Cobra, so adept at steals on court turned his skills to bed-nabbing, ousting the old man from his bunk, and then rather rudely refusing to share when the structural capabilities of the wee bunk ladder looked like the coach might test them beyond their limits. Regardless- we slept the sleep of the righteous and woke the next morning to beautiful views, and the sound of birdsong and someone in a bottom bunk apparently trying to start a petrol lawnmower. Hearty breakfast and onto battle.
First up were Inverness City. A well balanced team, fast and eager, this was a battle that swung back and forth. The honeybadgers could be kindly described as ‘clunky’ with low conversion rates and some pretty tired looking play. City were quick and proficient, and the lead changed hands a few times. A coherent third quarter saw the Badgers eek out a lead and assert some dominance but Inverness exploded in the final couple of minutes, blowing away the honeybadgers 5 point advantage to take the game by 3 points. After some lunch, some light napping and some refocusing badgers faced off against Elgin Eagles. Having seen these guys in the morning, we knew we were in for a game- they’re fast, they’ve got handles and there are genuine shooting threats all over the court. What they didn’t have however was genuine size, and the Badgers looked to take advantage of this. The rebounding at both ends was dominant with some outstanding work from Pete & Banky. Holden &
Kerracher were able to bully the opposition on offence and good team D led to a 10 point advantage at the end of the first quarter. Early in the second El Prez finished a raking baseline drive with a reverse but came down at speed on an opponents foot turning his ankle over. He was deposited to the bench to assess and the team moved on. Without Mikes offence, Deatch & Pete kept the scoreboard moving and Cobra stepped up, charging through the entire D on a number of occasions with purpose, earning free throws and finishing layups. With the lead building slowly but Eagles continuing to look dangerous & grow into the game, Kerracher chose to test out his damaged foot. On play one he tore down a rebound, took his defender away from the basket and executed a highlight reel move, reversing his dribble between the legs, spinning and dropping his defender before finishing strong. Leg fixed. Floodgates open. There followed an onslaught from #8 as Elgin tried various defensive options but were completely unable to stand up to the one way traffic as post move after move dropped. With the defence scrambling spaces appeared and the team started clicking, exploiting them with more familiar badger type passing. Banky & Deatch picked some great passes and finished strong, with the full team contributing defensively. A good win for the Leithers, giving us a chance of making a final showdown tomorrow, although Gairloch stand in the way and will have something to say about it. Off to bed now ready for early tip tomorrow.
In the wild the honeybadger can cover a huge range*, spreading its cheeky and loveable brand of gore-fuelled terror far and wide. This innate wanderlust has become part of the genetic code of the Leith branch of the international rattel family. With this is mind, we are pleased to announce the OFFICIAL start to summer as we head off on our annual tradition of going away somewhere and reminding ourselves, and some poor undeserving part of the world just how good we are at playing basketball…. with mild hangovers.
Friday sees a crack unit heading to Glorious Gairloch** to compete in the Claymore Cup. Now spread over two days with the threat of a “social event” (should we be scared??) on Sat night, we’re going to make some bold claims.
Firstly, we’ve every intention of blogging while we’re there. Watch that twitter feed – although I’m not sure how much joy we’ll get re 4g up there ! Secondly we’re being split between a glorious bunk house (it’s already been renamed the crunkhouse. This now remains its name forever.) and a caravan with the slightly ominous description of “uninterrupted sea views”… which sounds nervously like “perched on a wobbly cliff” – but hey – I’ve dibbsed the crunkhouse, so good luck!! Anyway – we plan to act like suave international jetsetters, so we’ll feedback to all in a public service style holiday advisory, and I’m confident we’ll be allowed back …..Finally, we’re not going up there to win the tournament. We’re going to win hearts and minds. Its been a stupendous, rollercoaster season. Time to kick back, loosen up and go full on middle aged, middle class gangsta. We’re taking our posh Edinburgh accents (except weegie Shaq of course), and ..( oh and
spanish J), anyway, we’re taking our posh edinburgh accents, and our hardcore, hardtop game…. (oh, hang on – where’s Pete from? ….. And the old man’s Northern Irish, so that doesnt count…..), anyway – posh accents…(hang on – banky sounds like Andre the giant, that’s no good… Andy’s “frae Gorebridge” – we cant pin posh on that…) …..
OK – El Prez is representing Edinburgh, and the rest of us’ll cheer him on. Y’know, on your behalf… Its highly doubtful we’ll win much, but it should be fun watching us try! make sure you’ve got the twitter feed up and running and we’ll do our best to get some stuff on there as it happens. Happy summer everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The season closer could only influence the Leither’s fate, with Pace locked in the ten spot the Badger’s needed a win to finish in third.
The game was controlled from the tip by Leith, flexing their defensive muscle and putting up a consistent scoring threat despite Mike playing without a right pinky and Fraz joining the other absentess with a dodgy ankle.
Mike dropped in as many points as he had working fingers in his shooting hand with 4 in the first quarter, with Chris dropping a 3 and cobra adding points form the floor and line.
The story of the game was all about the defense though with the Pace held to 3 in the first and 5 for the half.
Eptiomized by Farooq’s referee-friendly intensity, the guard pressure was too much for pace in the third quarter leading to run out points for Hernandez and Cobra interspersed by some effortless long-range scoring from Holden (clearly playing up to those in the stands).
With the game effectively won by the fourth quarter, pace came back in with their first real scoring of the game with Pleasance’s no. 10 dropping 8 points allowing the Pace to get the better of the socring in the fourth quarter. It was never going to be enought to recover from the initial defensive shut out of Leith and the game finished with a comfortable 21-43 vitory for the Honey Badgers. This game was all about the defense but credit to Cobra for his game high (and season high?) 10 points!
Season complete, highest ever finish (3rd) and best ever record (15-7) credit goes to the team and coach Holden for a record-breaking season and a Phil Jackson like win pct. (.6810).
Leith Honey Badgers face Pleasance Pace in their season finale tomorrow night having dispatched of The Gracemount Panthers last week in convincing fashion. With Club prez Kerracher still injured he took on coaching duties for the second week running allowing regular coach Holden to take his mind off running the bench and instead run wild on court.
From the tip it was typical as cobra controlled the one allowing Deatch off the leash to go at the opposition with a couple of aggressive early drives and scores. With Holden picking up the high post the ball was worked in and out spreading the floor, creating openings and baskets across the team. The defence was even better, characterised by Farooqs season long hard hustle the
loose balls were pounced on, communication flowed and personal responsibility taken on stopping the opposite number. Panthers hadn’t scored a point when Hernandez came on late in the quarter and jumped on them for a quick 6 including a lovely steal and Coast to Coast bucket. Q1:16-0 Badgers.
The second quarter was more of the same, Connor controlling the ball and directing the movement across the floor as he has done so well of late. A lively looking Sanchez popped in for a sweet post move, something he’s been doing week in week out in addition to his high Percentage 3pt shooting. Fraz was relentless in the paint as always mopping up spillages and pouring the waste back in the bucket, whilst G teamed up with him creating the openings whilst denying penetration and boards at the back to lead the D. It was D that done it again as the Panthers managed just 3 points and the Badgers continued to pride themselves on playing hard defence all game. Q2: 13-3 Badgers.
26-3 up at the half, the Badgers faced a more intense and determined Panthers who stepped up rather than shrunk walking out into the 3rd. Their number 10 shone, taking his chances and remaining aggressive forcing the Badgers to make harder decisions at the back and chase the ball as Panthers worked it better. That’s not to say Badgers didn’t have their own way on the opposite end, Fraz hitting a few sky hooks and Holden draining a 3 after the ball moved around the team to find him ready and waiting. The third remained tight but Hernandes and Deatch’s ability to change gears proved the difference as they both scored off typically speedy drives and finishes. Q3: 11-9 Badgers.
The game may have been done as the fourth got under way but Panthers continued to work the Badgers with stronger defence and The boys from Leith gladly responded, both contesting the quarter hard. Treys from Abi and Jonathon were the difference in points scored but as has been the case it was the team defence that limited the opposition scoring and let the Badgers remain calm on offence even if things weren’t always clicking. Q4: 11-7 Badgers.
Final score Leith Honey Badgers 51 – 19 Gracemount Panthers
For the seventh match in a row the Badgers took victory and what’s emerged this season is the equal worth all have on this team. The usual suspects will still have big point scoring games but defence, hustle, ball movement and smart decisions are the platform that allows that to happen and gets us over the line over the course of a season. Today, coach Holden, Fraz, Deatch and Abi scored the majority but the boys on court know it is the team effort that is getting us results in enjoyable fashion. Season finale tomorrow, can we make it 8 wins and take 3rd in the league or will this finale be tainted by a spoiler? Whatever the result, the group is moving forward and already thinking about next seasons opportunities with new players to come in and injured regulars Banky and Kerracher waiting to get back in fully fit. But first Friday..
Scorers: Deatch 15, Abi 13, Fraz 8, Mark 7, J 5, Cobra 3