Thu 21 Nov 19
The women's team narrowly misses out on a win to reigning champions, Sevenoaks Suns, but the men's division three team advance to the Basketball England National Cup 4th round. Basketball Participation Officer, Stanley Zadzunge, reports.
The Essex Rebels women’s team took thei home court against defending league champions, Sevenoaks Suns. The Suns, who have not lost a league game in over two years, entered the contest top of the table, while the Rebels continued to look to capture their first league game win of the season.
The first quarter saw the Suns assert their top flight status, as they jumped out to a quick start on the offense end of the floor behind a 21 point spurt. They also established a tough defensive stance, limiting the Rebels to just seven points in the quarter.
Not to be deterred, the Rebels kept the game within sight by applying a tough full-court press that slowed the Suns down and disrupted their flow of the game. This increased defensive effort helped support their offensive momentum, as the Rebels brought the game to within 13 points as they entered the locker room for half-time.
In the second half, the Suns took advantage of a slow start by the Rebels, scoring 10 uncontested points, to bring their lead back up to 28. In a true show of determination and grit, the Rebels amped up their defensive pressure to climb back into the game.
The final ten minutes of the game were action packed as the Rebels went on a tremendous come back, scoring a whopping 38 points and containing the Suns to 19. With time running out, the Rebels found themselves in a one possession game with 30 seconds remaining.
Unfortunately, time was the determining factor, as the Suns narrowly walked away with a 81-77 victory on the final buzzer.
Head coach, Tom Sadler, commented, “One of our biggest focal points is consistency. We have to be consistent in order to compete in this league. We show great flashes, the final quarter of the game today is a perfect example of how we can play when we are at our best. If we had 40 minutes of that, we would have walked away with a huge win. I’m very proud of the team, they never quit. Usually, if teams get down by 20+ points, they fold. We didn’t. And that says a lot about our character. We have had three games in a row now against really good teams (all within the top four spots in the league), and we're continuing to build and get better every week. We will look to keep improving, while also trying to heal up some injuries we are dealing with, to come back stronger at the end of the month”.
Top performers for the Rebels:
Andrea Kohlhaas (25 points), Abby Rendle (23 points, 12 rebounds) and Beth Sarson (13 points, seven rebounds, four assists).
The start of the game saw the Rebels trail by 12 points, but a quick timeout allowed the hosts to regroup and begin to focus on the task ahead. By the end of the first quarter, the Rebels had clawed back to bring them down by one. The game when backwards and forwards trading baskets each end, until the Rebels started to tighten up defensively in the final quarter; the visitors couldn’t get the easy baskets they were getting earlier in the game.
The game came down to the final possession for the Rebels. It was tied at 84 – 84, and after a solid defensive play by Rory Winter to get the steal, the Rebels had 12 seconds on the clock. The ball was in captain Tom Child's hands, who drove and passed to an open Rory Winter to win the game on the buzzer with a the three-pointer.
Austin Butler finished top scorer for the Rebels with 30 points.
A quick turnaround for the men's team saw them face the Thames Valley Cavaliers the following day in the National Cup.
It was early sparring throughout the first half, which ended in favour of the visitors, 53 – 51. In the third quarter, the Rebels started to find a better offensive rhythm, led by team captain, Tom Child, starting to heat up from the three point line.
The game saw the Rebels up by two points going into the final stanza. A slow start in this quarter saw Thames Valley edge out in front. Essex kept their cool to continue trading baskets and, once again, the game came down to the final possession. Tom Child made a tough floating shot to put the hosts ahead. Thames Valley took a timeout to run a final play, but a huge defensive effort by Dan Morton on the inbound led to him stealing the ball away from the hosts.
The game finished 93 – 91 and saw Essex advance into the Basketball England National Cup 4th round.
Tom Child led the team with 22 points.
Come and support the Rebels on Saturday 23 November as the women face the Nottingham Wildcats and the men play East London All Stars. Buy tickets.