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