The last game of 2012 saw Northamptonshire Titans face Reading Rockets, and they eased to a 61-42 win in the EBL Under 13 Boys Midlands South Conference.
After a successful return from Reading earlier on in the season, Titans entered the game with great optimism and readiness.
Despite Titans well prepared attitude the game got off to a slow start with neither team scoring until the fourth minute of play.
Once Rockets had launched onto the score board the Titan side began to click and react to Reading’s flying start.
However, they were still getting caught off guard and as a result allowed Rockets easy open lay-ups.
Although, thanks to Titans three eldest players distributing the first quarters points between them, they managed to gain a six-point lead.
After some reminding words of defence, Titans powered into the second quarter and shut down Rockets, shipping them out of their own key and forcing them to take outside shots.
This was proven with the three five second violations Titans made Rockets commit to that period.
With defence comes offence! and so was reflected with Titans going into half-time with and increased eight point lead.
Titans tend to nerve going into the third quarter of games, this time rightly so as they had a lot to live up to after such a well conducted second period, also they had lead a to maintain.
Was this a lot to ask of such a young squad?
Titans commenced the half with good composure, knocking down the first four baskets of the quarter.
Rockets were over playing Titans this period with eagerness to steal the ball, thus all of these points were scored off back door cuts, which were all nicely spotted by Tyler Mutemasango.
This run soon came to an end when Titans couldn’t convert their success on offence to defence and continuously left players unguarded and lacked in help defence from team mates.
With a combination of what was soon to be also limited movement on offence, it seemed that Titans had peeked to early!
With the game still seeing Titans carrying the scoreline 50-38, the last period was all about wrapping this win up in time for Christmas.
Titans played steadily this final quarter, making better decisions individually and keeping high spirited as a team, allowing them to gradually put up point after point, with a mixture of the two they took the period 11-4.
A loud cheer went up as Zinzan Oosthuizen swished a desperate basket, unfortunately his quick throw did not beat the buzzer and the game concluded 61-42, and with a Christmas cheer from a very happy team.
In the best team performance to date, Tyler Mutemasango top scored with 22 points, followed by Elijah McKiernan with 11 and Joe Mcgrady matching his jersey number of 7! A perfect way to enter 2013!
The first fixture of the 2013 season will be an away clash with Hertfordshire Warriors on the 5th January
EBL Under 14 Boys Midlands Conference
City of Birmingham 68 Northamptonshire Titans 78
The first fixture of the 2013 season will be a home clash with Derby Trailblazers on January 5th at Weavers Leisure Centre 2:00pm
EBL Under 15 Boys Midlands Conference
Northamptonshire Titans 71 Bromsgrove Bears 40
Titans travelled to Bromsgrove Bears and whilst Bromsgrove are a new team to the league, their results show they are improving every game and should not be taken lightly based on their position in the league.
Titans started off competitively and made their intent clear that a win was the only option going into the Christmas break with a 10 point lead after three minutes, led by an impressive performance from Lewis Kain both defensively and offensively.
The game settled into a rhythm and the Titans were then able to extensively run the whole team gaining valuable court experience and by half time the game was 11 v 32.
The second half went much the same way but the Titans will rue the missed chances of extending the lead further, however the Titans ran out comfortable 37-71 winners with the second half of the season to look forward too.
Top scores to Lewis Kane 20 points, Cameron Hawes 19 points, Theodore Biggs 11 points
The first fixture of the 2013 season will be a home clash with Coventry Trojans on January 5th at Weavers Leisure Centre 3:45pm
EBL Under 16 Boys Northern Premiere
Leeds Carnegie 59 Northamptonshire Titans 70
Titans travelled to take on a struggling Leeds Carnegie U16 team that had only managed to find one win in 10 games so far this season.
This form has resulted in the Leeds side being placed in the bottom two teams in the Premier North division, however, they still managed to put up a spirited fight against the Northamptonshire side.
Titans got off to a good start taking the first quarter 23–15, with some pressure defence leading to some fast break scores.
Leeds managed to put together a late flurry to reduce the deficit to only a single digit margin.
As pleasing as it was to get a first period lead, Titans then squandered opportunity after opportunity and failed to execute their half-court plays in the second quarter and a combination of unforced errors and poor transition defence gave the Yorkshire side a glimmer of hope.
The Titans’ poor coverage and communication at the defensive end of the court allowed Leeds to win the quarter 20–14 and go into half-time only one basket adrift at 37–35.
In a reverse of last week’s game half time could not come soon enough for the away side, Titans needed the half-time break to re-group and address the issues that allowed a comfortable lead to slip away.
The Real Titans showed up for the third quarter and started the period with a 13–2 burst, which was the result of a change in defensive tactics and an increase in intensity at both ends.
This proved to be the turning point of the game as Leeds struggled to handle the pressure and continually turned the ball over which Titans converted into scores from inside and out.
Titans went on to take the quarter 23–11.
Going into the final quarter with a healthy 60–44 lead allowed the Titans coaching staff the opportunity to experiment with some alternative line-ups and a chance to give some of the squad players a chance to close out the game and gain some valuable experience as well as confidence which will aid their personal development as players. One last charge from Leeds gave them the advantage in regards to the quarter score line which the home side won narrowly 15–10.
Although the winning margin could have and should have been larger it was a satisfactory result after the longest road trip that Titans will make this season.
One in which 10 of the 12 players got onto the score-sheet.
Top scorers were Andre Arissol 18, Terrell Salmon 14 and Timi Gril 12
Titans finish 2012 on a high and consolidate 3rd place in the league table with an 8-3 record.
The first fixture of 2013 will be a home clash with Sheffield Sharks on January 6th at Weavers Leisure Centre 2:30pm.
EBL VCARS.co.uk Division Three Men South
Northamptonshire Titans 70 Plymouth Marjon 98
Titans depleted men’s squad managed to put up a brave fight at Weavers on Sunday, after a sloppy start when they went down 18-4 early on, they started to play some solid defence to bring them back into the game and just a couple of last minute three-pointers from the away side pulled them out to a 30-18 lead after the first quarter.
Titans battled back closing the gap to single figures early in the second period, before Plymouth continued their fine long range shooting to pull away again as they went on to lead 49-31 at the break.
It was a creditable performance with the players available, and they did well, although Plymouth did have their stand out player in Hennessey who Titans couldn’t find an answer to on his way to 35 points.
Titans did have a late flourish and the players can be proud of a battling display.
Danny Barrett top scored for Titans with 24 points, Benjy Henry added 17 and Nathan Maxwell chipped in with 14 in only his second game for the team.
The first fixture of 2013 will be an away clash with Ipswich Tomcats on the 6th January.
Womens National Trophy Quarter Final
Mansfield Giants 50 Northamptonshire Titans 70
Due to illness a very under strength Titans Women team made the trip to Mansfield on Saturday,
Coach Powell knew that his team were going to be in for a tough physical contest as his team lost to the Giants in a pre season friendly.
Titans edged a tight first quarter took a 15-18 lead.
The Titans team play was flowing with Angelina Browne and Nauel Cali leading the charge in the paint, but the Giants were not going away as the ½ time score showed with Titans leading 26-33.
The third quarter belonged to the Titans with an increase intensity level and with Giants finding no answer stopping Sascha Thompson getting to the basket and nailing a downtown three with two players pressuring her. Titans extended their lead to 41-53.
The final quarter saw teams trade baskets and Titans ran out winners and now move onto the semi finals on the 20th January against Birmingham Mets.
Top scorers were Browne 23, Cali 18 and Thompson 17
EBL VCARS.co.uk Division Two Women SW Midlands
Northamptonshire Titans 78 Loughborough Students Riders II 65
Less than 24 hours later, the Titans women were back on the court, with the same personnel and also welcomed back point guard Izzy Johns.
The first half saw Titans play some of their best ball and it certainly did not look like they had been in a game the day before.
Titans’ defence dominated the young Loughborough team throughout, but the foul count started to take its toll, again Browne and Cali went to work in the paint with Johns connecting from three-point land meant the Titans took in a whopping 51-18 lead.
In the third it was a much even affair and with the young Loughborough team starting to impose their running game, Titans were for the first time looking jaded but Titans stood strong.
In the fourth it was all about how the exhausted Titans would deal with the youth of the Riders and with Cali, Bowne and Thompson in serious foul trouble, Titans took their chances at the offensive end but did not get fazed as Riders poured in 31 points in that final quarter, Titans won 78-67.
Top scorers were Cali 20, Browne 20, Johns 14 and Thompson 13
The first fixture of 2013 will be an away clash with Nottingham Wildcats II on 6th January