Drama for U16 boys as they win a thriller against Derby
The U16 boys produced their best performance and result of the season so far after completing a thrilling 62-61 success against Derby Trailblazers who had beaten them by more than 30 points earlier in the season.
A huge block in the last second of the game by captain Jesse Osarenkhoe sealed the deal on a day to remember in a roller-coaster campaign.
Having given up more than 50 fast break points in a poor showing on the road, the Eagles strategy to utilize more of a newly fine-tuned zone defense worked wonders. So much so, they rattled the visitors so much that they received a string of technical fouls and lost their head coach during a hotly-contested encounter.
Trailing 14-9 after the opening quarter but buoyed by their ability to slow down the previously unstoppable Derby offense, the Eagles headed into the second quarter full of confidence and it showed as they got back to within a point heading into the locker room at the half.
Advancing the ball early to disrupt the visitors’ own zone, it worked a treat and as Derby got themselves into foul trouble, the Eagles continued to keep pace.
It all boiled down to a nervous last few minutes of the game and a notable three-pointer by Fionn Muldoon down the stretch had the Eagles in front and looking good for the win.
But Derby weren’t done and made it a one-point game with just under 10 seconds remaining. But up stepped Osarenkhoe with his decisive and ultimately game-winning swat to secure an Eagles’ success.
It was a great team effort with nine players scoring, led by Jakub Bobkowski with 11 points and Aston Hall with 10.
“That was more like the team I know and we showed the identity that has not always been present this season, so I am really pleased with the choices we made,” reflected head coach, Chloe Gaynor.
“The credit is all theirs because after they fell short at Leicester in the previous game they made a choice to step up and be counted.
“We got home and played the zone well which stifled them and that was the game plan after we gave up so much in transition last time when they beat us heavily.
“They have a lot of size and are deadly in the open floor, but we not only nullified that, we also punished them with our own quick style and it was such an enjoyable game to coach – not just because we won.
“Perhaps most pleasing aspect was that after our best week of practice we produced our best performance to date and that is no coincidence,” she added.