Today was our first game in this Year’s County campaign as we took on a very talented Queens team. There has been a lot of preparation leading up to this with all players really putting the work in during practice time and their own time.
Both teams traded baskets in the first 5 minutes of the game with the game tied at 9 a piece, but with a couple of long range efforts from Tobi Ojuri and Danny Zhian-Shaker alongside some fearless rebounding by John Mogaji and Kwame Adjem, we took a 15-9 lead with 2 minutes to go in the first period.
Struggling to control Queens on the fastbreak they began to get some easy scores to start the second quarter, we then pushed up the floor defensively to slow down their offensive transition. A few changes were made with Akolisa Keazor, Joseph Powell and Harry Jackson checking in to the game, we made them shoot some tough shots of which Josh Jarvis and John Mogaji began to pick up rebounds. At the end of the first half the score was 35-30 in favour of Queens.
In the third period, we got off to a good start with Tobi Ojuri really starting to take over the game, he had 14 of his 33 points including 4 long range efforts in this quarter, making it as hard as possible for Queens to find a way to stop him. Harry Jackson checked back into the game and quickly made an impact grabbing a couple rebounds including a three pointer from the corner. At this point it looked as though we were going to take the game from the current County Champions, going into the final period we took a 63-53 lead.
Once again, we started the final period well, getting a couple of good early looks under the basket with Josh Jarvis and Kwame Adjem showing there unstoppable finishing ability. We had a 70-56 lead with only 6 minutes left in the game. Queens, who hadn’t shot the ball very well from long distance made a few long-range efforts cutting the gap to an 8 point game. 1 minute to go and the game was 70-70. We had 2 chances to win the game with it not be, we heading into a 3 minute overtime period. In overtime, a couple of unforced turnovers gave Queens a pair of easy fastbreak scores putting them 77-75 up. Again, two chances to win the game in the dying seconds, a corner three pointer from Danny Zhian-Shaker and another last gasp attempt from Tobi Ojuri it wasn’t enough, the game finished 78-75 to Queens.
Coach Jack Burnell commented – “I was really pleased with the boys today, first game playing the current County champions, it was a great test for us, and they really gave it their all. On to the next one!”
Here are a few thoughts from the boys:
John Mogaji (Captain) – “It was a very promising performance for our first game of this Year, it would have been nice to start with a win but we just missed out. We have to look forward and prepare for our next game”.
Tobi Ojuri – “It was good to battle with one of the better teams in the county”.
Kwame Adjem – “Good game for the team, but we will learn from our mistakes”.
Scorers: Tobi Ojuri (33pts), John Mogaji (16pts), Danny Zhian-Shaker (15pts)