Giants stand tall over U16 Boys in 2023 opener
Manchester Giants towered over the Eagles U16 boys in the first game of the new calendar year, quite literally and also in terms of the final result as the top three placed side left Tyneside with a 90-57 success.
In a game which saw the Eagles compete very well for the first 28 minutes and stay within touching distance and contention at around 10 points deep in the third period, foul trouble proved very costly.
In a keenly contested first quarter, the energized Eagles pushed Giants hard and found themselves trailing in just a one-shot game at 20-17. That was due to some active defense and an aggressive and confident approach offensively.
The second quarter saw much of the same good work, but a series of turnovers and second chance points had Giants up by 40-27 at the half. The Eagles pushed and pushed but just before the end of the third period, captain Jesse Osarenkhoe fouled out and at the start of the fourth, so did teammate and fellow forward Alex Cisse as the visitors put their foot down to take full advantage.
Osarenkhoe top scored with 12 points even though he didn’t make it past the end of the third quarter and George Merrifield impressed with 12 points and 4 assists.
“Having lost by 48 in the first meeting earlier in the season, there were some improvements, even if the final scoreline doesn’t reflect how significant they were,” said stand in Head Coach, Paul Nilsen.
“In the middle of the third quarter we briefly cut the deficit to 9, we were staying close and genuinely believing we could win the game, but then two of our three bigs fouled out and it was a mountain after that.
“They are the tallest overall team in the league and while it is no excuse for our last quarter, it is a big reason as they pounded us inside every time down.
“We lost the game because we didn’t box out, gave them over half their points in putbacks and turned the ball over way too much – about 30 times and those two things were a nasty combination.
“But, we threw some big punches and for the vast majority of the game we did stand toe-to-toe before that rough finish,” he concluded.