Panthers vs Honeybadgers Match Report

Gracemount Panthers 19

Leith Honey Badgers 41

9th of January 2015 marked the first group of fixtures after the Christmas break. As the teams all doubtlessly sought to shake off their hangovers, rust and excess timber gathered over the holidays, the Leith Honey Badgers faced up to Gracemount Panthers in the late tip off slot.

With just one prior training session, a couple of injuries and some players out with man flu The Honey Badgers were uncertain how the game would go so focused on strong defence as the foundation to their game. Andy called the shots and the starters stayed composed despite the Panthers leading in the early stages. The Badgers steadily knitted together the passes for openings to emerge with G converting a couple of nice jumpers before Scott sunk a deep 3 and C-Mc swished a couple of shots from just inside the perimeter. Often the downfall of these Leithers, in this instance the players took on the open shots and were rewarded by winning the first quarter 13 to 7.

As Farooq, Chris and G locked down the paint, on the offensive the Badgers started to drive more, drawing fouls and executing fast breaks. Mike scored 5 in the quarter but it could have been 8 if his free throw shooting was sharper. On both ends Ian’s movement was perfect, limiting opposition opportunities and making & taking space on the floor. With the Panthers looking to clog the paint the wings were free and C-Mc was in acres of space as he watched his 3 glide in. Panthers created some chances themselves but couldn’t find their shot and ended the quarter with just one basket whilst Leith dropped 10. Half time and Leith led 23-9.

Andy continued to send out balanced 5’s in the second half, with everyone getting minutes and contributing well. The movement and passing was a little off on the set offences but the effort was there and steals and breaks from Scott and Mike accounted for eight 3rd quarter points, with Scott forcing a ton of turnovers from the opposition whilst remaining safe as houses on the ball. As always Farooq made the game a living nightmare for his opponents, chasing down every scrap and getting physical when necessary. With Banky nursing an injury and playing limited minutes there was more minutes available for the other bigs who effectively sealed down the paint. Third quarter to the Badgers 8-6.

Injured? Well slightly, but that didn’t stop Banky wanting a little game time and when Ian forced the attacker his way Banky rose up and rejected the ball hard off the glass. Spanish Badger J appears to be getting his swagger back as he went up the court, took the pass and swiftly sunk the shot to get the 4th underway. Early in the 4th the game may have been almost done but Panthers continued to move the ball and contest everything. G asserted his physical dominance and as he had done all game, caused constant problems for the opposition and made life easier for his team-mates, selflessly moving, scrapping, boxing and bossing on court. As the clock was ticking down Ian got his first points as a Honey Badger, finishing a drive strong at the rim and in the face of contact. The Badgers took the 4th 10-4 to finish the game winning 41 points to 19.

The game may not have been full of highlights or the sharpness we were reaching before the Xmas break but was marked by some big step up performances across the team. Chris and Ian were integral on both ends of the court and slick or not the men from Leith still put up 41 and reduced the opposition to 19. It will be great to have all our guys back soon and hopefully everyone making training too! We are about halfway through the season and right in the mix for the league. But there’s a long way to go and its effort and commitment that could prove the difference come the season’s end. It feels good to be back on court after a break and even better to mark it with a win. Next up Lions, who are fast, organised and effective. Back to the grind on Wednesday folks!

Gracemount Panthers 19

Leith Honey Badgers 41

Scorers: Mike-13pts, Scott- 9 points, Chris- 9 points, Graham- 4 points, Ian- 2 points, Jonathon- 2 points, Farooq – 2 points.

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