East Lothian Peregrines 50
Leith Honey Badgers 46
Leith Honey Badgers faced up to the Peregrines on Friday, off the back of a recent 1 point win against the Dunfermline Steel. Hardly in crisis, yet this year things has been a little clunky on court for the Badgers but over the past few weeks through effort and smarts the Honey Badgers have started to really click again. Peregrines got the win in game 1 this season where club standout Doug Gibson had his arm broken in a contentious encounter. This match provided the opportunity to shift the focus on basketball and to play hard against a physical opponent.
The Badgers picked up the Peregrines man for man from the off, with the Peregrines settling into a zone defence. It was Peregrines D that proved more effective as they halted the Badgers in the opening minutes whilst putting in 6 points through some nice shots and strong rebounding. Missing the last game, El Prez sought to make an impact and opened the Badgers account with a strong inside move and finish. Steel hit back, however the Badgers sensed there were chinks in the opposition’s armour, so no surprises when Holden replied with a nice jumper for 2. Badgers continued to drop some more buckets with drives in the open court providing the biggest openings but Peregrines were efficient in their approach, and their high percentage shooting and great post work from their main man Sidlausnos lead them into the second with an 18-10 lead.
Scott ran the point with ease, always alert to pick the passes and safe with the rock in his hands. His vision started some nice moves inside whilst as the seconds ticked away his confidence grew to take it to the rack, drawing fouls on the way. Amidst some nice individual moves and improved passing, It was really hustle and intensity that was characterising the team’s performance. The Badgers were standing up to a strong Peregrines and never giving an inch. With little between the teams at this stage, better 3 point shooting helped the Peregrines take the quarter by 1 in a match that was swaying back and forth. Peregrines 29-20 Badgers.
In the 3rd the men from Leith kept momentum on their side, going at the Peregrines at any given chance. With the offence flowing, the Badgers knew they needed to halt the Peregrines scoring to chip away at the margin. McGookin relished the task, ripping the boards from larger opposition and making a big block on his opposite number. The refs acknowledged a number of illegal screens from the Peregrines but the Badgers need to play smarter and go through them in future If they want to get the fouls. However it was generally hard but fair and with the inside closed down, the Peregrines nice shooting kept them active, including a couple of big 3 pointers in crucial moments. The Badgers took the quarter 13-12, Peregrines 42 -33 Badgers.
All hell broke loose in the 4th as the game shifted up a notch. With a lead to chase and perhaps less pressure, the Badgers seem free in their approach as great ball movement led to baskets and an aggressive approach gave us free throws we are now starting to hit! Forget the clock and scoreboard, we just want to play basketball and sometimes that mindset keeps us firing over when things haven’t been going our way. With the tempo raised we scored more and more but the game got ragged and both teams ended up in foul trouble. It wasn’t just the Badgers who made their shots as Peregrines proved money from the line. The Badgers emerged form the quarter 13-8 victors, but it’s the whole 32 minutes that counts and Peregrines gained the pink slip with a 50-46 W.
For the Leith Honey Badgers, it’s not back to the drawing board but back to the training ground. The effort was unquestionable and the boys know what to do, now we have to keep doing it at this level on Wednesdays and wait for the game opportunities to come. Of course, winning matters, that’s why we play in a league but it was no surprise the Honey Badgers left the court with a smile on their faces knowing we are back on the up and playing with passion. We have persevered for a couple of months and now it’s time for some sunshine on Leith.
Scorers: Mike 13, Banky 9, Fraz 9, Scott 8, Mark 2, Chris 2, Graham 2, Andy 1