While maybe not quite pistons standard, Friday was nonetheless a pretty brutal affair, and the above isn’t a million miles away from how the majority of rebounds looked! Here’s how it went down:
Andy Connor missed his first game in over a season on coaches orders, but the badgers had Piotr “fire-Brandes” back to supplement the defence, and in this game we found you couldn’t have too much defence.
Badgers started in control, fielding their favoured zone defence and a balanced team, F Shaukat making consecutive starts following on from impressive displays over the last month. Jonatan did what he does, prising the lid off with a consummate long 2 as the peregrines looked to clog the paint. A few called and executed plays only served to show how the peregrines defence was set up, easily worked isolations leading to Fraz getting instantly smothered by 3 green shirts, with little chance of staying upright, let alone recycling the ball. Sick of watching the big man getting mauled, the Leithers went to ball movement, but despite some excellent looks found the curse of Westwoods second court was against them. Games on the wrong side of the hall are always lower scoring, with teams scrambling to avoid the unforgiving rims and baffling backboards, and whether through this, or technique, the good work in cutting the peregrines open didn’t lead to the scoreline it should have. The one weapon they couldn’t stop though was Mikes tenacity, as he went after the bucket time and again. Peregrines however were determined not to give up on any opportunity and tested his resolve from the line. El prez delivered his statement to the hostile crowd by punishing the incessant fouling in the best way, and quietening the boisterous crowd, likely winning friends by so doing. Holden dropped a deuce to finish the quarter and the badgers, despite struggling against the physicality of the peregrines defence had shown that good D and hard D don’t have to be the same limiting east Lothian to only 3 points.
Q1: 8-3 honey badgers
The next 2 quarters were a full on battle, with the honey badgers losing each by a single point. Coach gave instructions for the players to stop attempting fast break lay ups as it seemed an inevitability with the peregrines defence that someone would be injured. The peregrines needed their full complement of 11 as they posted a staggering 18 fouls in the game, on average about 1 foul every minute and 45 seconds!
The badgers defence were as relentless as the peregrines were desperate, Farooq, Piotr, Mike and Doug hassling ball carriers and forcing turnovers and steals without pause. There was also a block-fest with Fraz hanging his name dearly on the front of “his house” only to be outdone by a monstrous chase down block from Kerracher who was waging a one man war on anyone not wearing white.
These factors led to a couple of low scoring quarters, 3-4 and then 8-9 both in favour of the peregrines. Doug was necessarily put on strict instructions so wasn’t able to put one of his usual runs together, and over half of the points in the second and third quarters came from Mike, at the cost of a lot of bruises. Thankfully however he managed to keep the scoreboard ticking from the stripe and this as well as a sweet jumper from the G man at least meant that we weren’t falling behind thanks to the first quarter lead. At the end of the 3rd quarter then:
19-16 to honey badgers heading into the 4th.
Coach at this point was pretty steamed about the way the game was going, with no clear way to win through good basketball, so the boys were instructed to go full badger, and they brought the hustle in buckets. The peregrines came flying out of the blocks as the Leithers got to grips with the tactical changes, east lothian going into the lead for the 1st time in the game at the start of the final quarter. As soon as they glimpsed hope however, Jonatan was called on and instantly delivered, dropping a 3 to put the badgers back in charge by 2. The game went tit for tat for the next couple of minutes, but the work the honey badgers have been putting in looked to be paying off as their defence was relentless with quick organised changes and great looks from pressure induced turnovers. Some more quality finishing from Mike kept the badgers in front and the momentum was swinging heavily towards Leith as peregrines appeared to be clinging on. As the quality began to shine through, some excellent team play ended with Holden who stroked a 3 over the despairing defender to give the badgers clear water, stretching their lead to 4. This gave the honeybadgers 29 points, a total the peregrines never reached despite a bizarre finish; the peregrines ball handler squared up to Doug on the 3 point line, set his feet and jumped straight into Doug, simultaneously crying out and chest passing the ball hard off the backboard and in for 3!! Thankfully Doug played smart and stood still and strong, leaving the refs just looking amused, and Doug like he’s been given a nurple from the playground bully! All that was left was to see the game out, and another bucket from G and a trio of free throws from mike got the job done as the peregrines crumbled, giving up a technical in the dying seconds. The honeybadgers absolutely smashing the 4th quarter in the end then 15-9.
Feeling unfulfilled by the whole experience, the honey badgers are nonetheless walking off with the win, and have to recognise the differences that led to this easily lose-able game becoming a victory. The team all played selflessly, hustling for each other and were organised enough to make the necessary changes mid-game. Fraz was a Goliath on the boards, peregrines real area of strength, and without performances like his other teams will find that this could be enough to get peregrines the win they’re fighting so hard for. The team were multi dimensional: last week G was our star, this week Mike, previously Jonatan or Frazer have poured on the points. We have worked hard at making sure we can’t be shut down by cutting off one of our options, so when we lost our ability to go through the big men, we cut, passed and shot through them instead. Now 3-1 in the league, with the last remaining unbeaten team to come next, the badger-wagon rolls on.
Final score: Leith 34 East Lothian 27
Kerracher 17 (and the block!!)
Luque Sanchez 5
Doug- ??? Took our technicals, but someone else got his points!!!