On the back of a tough loss last time out, the Leith Honey Badgers encountered the Dunfermline Steel, 8:35pm Friday. Maybe a dose of paranoia is going round the Badger lair but it seems a pattern has emerged as the season has worn on, with opposition stopping the Badgers running the floor and forcing the Badgers to their rusty jump shots as teams camp out in the paint and deny the inside play. Coach Holden may have suffered a bad injury this season but his kahunas remain intact as he has led this team to embrace the jump shot, go through the frustrations, keep at it and add a few more options to the offence for good measure. At a gradual rate, the re-tweaks have been applied but was this to be the game where they started to click??
Straight from the tip the rumours were made true, an ash cloud had lifted from Leith and Air Lithuania was flying high again. There was no sonic boom yet Minda sure showed Guile as the crisp swish sounded to mark the 3 and the beginnings of another voyage into big point land.
This was not to be just a solo effort but a full on posse cut as the Badger clan laid it down thick from the off. Cobra Conner and Minda stifled the Steel guards as the bigs locked down their opposition numbers. The steel were limited to a solitary basket in the first quarter as they just couldn’t cut through the Badgers skin. Leith? They notched up 14 with some Shinobi like shuriken shooting, no doubt benefiting from having some regular practice again! Fraz had 6 with some unguardable moves, G was converting the big looks and Mike had a hoop and harm.
Second quarter and the Steel made a number of defensive adjustments that appeared to stifle the Badgers. But just as they thought they had all the answers, Leith went and changed the questions. Some offensive changes renewed the confidence whilst a Barkley-esque rebounding display kept the Badgers firmly in control.
Halftime and it was 22-7 in favour of Leith, having persevered in moments of difficulty and put it on when they got a sniff. Fraz was already in double figures and has big companion G was playing how his team mates know he can, making great cuts and finishing at the hoop. The team wasn’t looking to one man or one way to score the baskets; it was about mad different methods on the offence.
Third quarter and a couple of the Steel players showed frustrations, as they just couldn’t shake Piotr and Farooq’s relentless defence. The two of them combined for a Legion of Doom tag team like performance and ‘Oh Yeah, What a Rush!’ as they picked the Steel pockets time and again. Coupled with the Badgers guards Conner and Minda showing composure and the entire team moving the ball to mass effect the quarter ended with Leith outscoring Steel by 8 and taking the lead to 36- 13.
Credit to the men from the kingdom, they came out playing hard man D in the fourth but a mismatch was spotted by Coach Holden. Instructing the iso play, Mike was left with an all you can score buffet and a ravenous appetite as his smaller adversary was left unable to handle what he had on his plate. Strangely the Steel did not re-adjust and one on one’s, drive and dishes and some smart passing play led to a big quarter. As a Steel man jokingly quoted Sheed with ‘ball don’t lie’ after a missed Badger freethrow, well neither did the score as the buzzer sounded and the Badgers had taken it 56-21.
It was a good night’s work from the Honey Badgers with scoring spread throughout the team, great movement and incredible hustle. Yet there is still room for improvement. Whilst it was a fantastic team performance, as a team we need to all understand and execute the plays on the possessions we use them. Yes, this Badger pack will look to continue playing like they did tonight. However adding more to that by sharpening up and using a couple of plays from practice will give new dimensions to our game.
Lothian League D2 is not the NBA, it is there for bold teams to take by the neck. More self belief and confidence should lead to more wins next season. To quote the main man Mandela, ‘Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure’. With Holden steering the ship let’s not wait til we are up by 15 until we have that swagger in our step and belief in ourselves. Together as one it’s time to play as one savage Honey Badger on a mission to take apart the Lothian League. So what if there are times that things don’t go our way or we mess up on one play, screw the head and carry on- Honey Badger don’t care. He just play ball.
Break it down:
Q1: 2 – 14 Q2: 5 – 8 Q3: 6 – 14 Q4: 8 – 20
Dunfermline Steel 21 – 56 Leith Honey Badgers
Scorers: Minda 18, Fraz 16, Mike 13, Graham 9
Brainz: Coach Holden assisted by Cobratm