Honey Badgers v Masters Match Report

Friday 8th March marked the penultimate game of the Honey Badgers schedule facing off with the Boroughmuir Masters. Leith entered the match knowing a) Victory would bring them their first league trophy in the clubs short existence and b) The Masters are the only team they have failed to beat in the regular season so far.

Coach Holden has called it well all season and gave Abi, Scott, Mike, Fraz and G the nod to get it underway. From the tip the Badgers knew that to use their advantages meant speed and outside shooting however faced the task of dealing with some highly skilled passing and post play. This was how it panned out and the Badgers managed to contain the huge inside threats as well as they could, concentrating on their own game on the offence which proved enough to bring Leith its first league championship.

Those who know Abi, know this Domini Can handle the ball like nobody else in the league and his calm manner hides deadly intent. Throughout the game he was safe hands, picking his passes, taking the right shots and causing all sorts of problems to his opposite number. Hernandez may sell silver and import coffee by day but the boy’s real business is on the court.

As it always seems to be, it began a little edgy but the Badgers forged a lead with Deatch setting the scene with a early 3. Last time out was a quiet day for the weegie which meant the law of averages said he would erupt this evening. He did, leading the team on scoring with four 3’s on his way to a volcanic 20+ point performance. It wasn’t just Scotty hitting 3’s though as Sanchez also knocked one down with his first touch of the game!

Beyond Scott’s high scoring the share of the points was spread across the squad whilst defensive honours could go to a number of players- G and Fraz bodying the powerful bigs, Farooq causing hell for his opponent or Holden, whose 2 minutes on court included a candidate for block of the season.

The teams desire to get the job done was second only to the celebrations they knew awaited in the pub and this, plus avoiding the prospect of a final day decider against The Madness was the catalyst for an epic finale. With The Masters pulling it back to within a point with a minute remaining, it was make or break for the Badgers who turned it up, becoming more aggressive to the bucket, looking to attack without restraint.

Trust has grown in this team over its 4 years and it was exemplified by El Prez turning down a favoured inside look to wait until the D sucked in and kick it to Scott who iced a 3 to put the win within touching distance. 10 seconds later it was there as a rebound, break and hook shot put it out of sight and the ink went on the pink to mark Leith Honey Badgers the victors.

Following a nervous couple of minutes, the league championship was confirmed and the team headed to the pub to reminisce on the journey that got them there. From a small group of guys unhappy with their current situation in basketball, to the beginnings of a club, the building of a team and the success of winning the league, came the inevitable hangovers from hell the following morning 😀

Division 1 awaits and that in itself will be another learning process but if the club stays true to its ethos of hard work, friendship, trust, beers and banter then whatever the score says the results will continue to be satisfying. HB4L

Honeybadgers Vs Peregrines 25 March 2016

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Game reports have been sparse lately as inconveniences like jobs & families have demanded everyone’s time, so we’ll start with a quick recap. Honeybadgers have shared the top win loss record in the league from early on with Pleasance 47s, Soldier Bears and Peregrines. Pleasance Pace have sat atop the table for the majority of the season although it was pointed out that the fixtures meant they had played substantially more games than some of the others around them. Regardless, they’d beaten what was put in front of them, and were there by merit. Our boys from Leith, having only lost twice this season beat the Peregrines in their first meeting to propel us to the top of the standings IF we could knock Pace off first. Wasn’t to be however, as the young aggressive Pace team came out at full speed, ouththinking and outfighting the Honeybadgers, leading to our 3rd loss of the season. This brought Peregrines and 47s back into contention, with Soldier Bears suffering an uncharacteristic setback. Panthers however stepped up and took points of the 47s in a gritty win where both teams played their socks off, and soldier bears pulled them further back with a nail biting 51-49 victory. Leith meanwhile saw victory against the feisty and perpetually improving Buccs and Fife’s finest to leave them atop the table again alongside the Peregrines. Both teams then on Friday night had recorded only 3 losses apiece, with 3 games remaining. The scene was set for a showdown……
The game started as expected, both teams positively growling on defence and quality looks hard to come by. Leith struggled to score, leaving the dust undisturbed on one side of the scorers console for the first 4 minutes. Peregrines were likewise stifled, but found their way to a few points via the stripe and some grit. Small tactical change, swapping quality muscle in the form of G for the limping decoy that is coach, and the resultant ball movement found Prez in his favoured spot, where he duly smashed the lid off the basket. Force field destroyed, the badgers then remembered what to do, Abi, coach and Fraz all chipping in with Mike to put together a 10-2 run and force Peregrines to burn an early time out.
2nd quarter saw the meanest D of the game, with players on both sides having to make difficult looks just to get the scoreboard moving. This quarter ended 8-8, with all the Peregrines points coming from their number 6. Bonus on our end however was Banky warming up, claiming both boards and points as Leith stuck to the plan, sharing the ball and the load, and therefore making the Peregerines work hard on D right accross the court. With the D as ferocious as it was, this is a good point to tip our hats to the officials, who were superb in their calls, and constantly talking and explaining in what must have been a tough nights work.
HT: Honeybadgers 18 Peregrines 14
3rd quarter saw a different approach from the peregrines as they looked for a way around the D. They found an opening as their number 9 slashed repeatedly to the basket, scoring with layups and free throws. Taking up the challenge, Leith unleashed their own one man offence, with Abi outscoring him 7 – 5. Honeybadgers had made a clear commitment to good quality offence, moving the ball, limiting turnovers and finding good shots. On this occasion however, the 3 ball – which this season has become our favourite flavour of misbehaviour – deserted us, with Abi dropping the only long bomb of the game in this quarter, thanks to a kind high bounce. The team listened well however, and didn’t get frustrated, or stray from the plan. Scott was particularly disciplined, threatening the D from deep, keeping the floor spread for his teammates to get work done, and finding them with some nice feeds. Thanks to the peregrines hitting an almost identical high bouncing three however, they took the quarter 13 points to 9.
Final quarter started with a scoreline of 27-27, and the peregrines shot into an early lead with their #6 hitting a close shot and 3 free throws in quick succession, fouling out the hustle machine that is Fraz in the process. Banky this time stepped up, matching the aggressive inside play and keeping us close with 2 free throws, although down on the scoreboard. A couple more tactical changes shut down the inside threat before Scott added two more as the honeybadger defence hit top gear to pull us to within one. With only a couple of minutes left on the clock, and the season effectively on the line, Prez decided he’d had enough, and in true honeybadger style, went out and took what he wanted. 7 points in the last 3 minutes was enough to push us past the Peregrines, culminating in a Holywood style  last minute putback with 10 seconds remaining. Honeybadgers ahead by 2 with 10 seconds to go, both benches held their collective breath as they waited to see if the Peregrines would force overtime or gamble on a three for all the marbles. With their slasher on the ball and their shooter being set up for the three, the ball crossed the halfway line on 7 seconds remaining. Abi who was right on the ball handlers toes, let him cross the halfcourt, effectively trapping him and then, calling on all his experience, anticipated the spin move, executed a little lateral shuffle and appeared exactly where he wasn’t expected to strip the ball clean from his confused opposite number. To the roars of his teammates, all that was left was to run the ball into the safety of the opposition half for an epic finish.
2 games now remain for the team, and what a pair to finish. Two “derbies” stand between Leith and a first title – first up the powerful Masters team who we’ve traded games with since we first entered the league – and who have accounted for one of our losses this season. Then finally our regular training partners the Madness, who’ll be looking forward to ending their season on a high against their rivals.
All to play for kids!

Soldier Bears Friendly(ish)

No hall tomorrow for training so we have a friendly against the Soldier Bears. Top bunch of guys who always bring it so looking forward to a tough game. Next week we have a cup game against the Lions and a league match vs Peregrins. Last weeks win was big against the 47s so it’s time to do it all again and keep the momentum going.

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