BASKETBALL: Matt makes his mark as Northants Thunder hit the top

ACTION from Northampton School for Girls Under-14s' clash with a 'rest of the world' team (Pictures: Dave Ikin)
ACTION from Northampton School for Girls Under-14s' clash with a 'rest of the world' team (Pictures: Dave Ikin)

Northants Thunder beat Mansfield Giants 91-73 to move to the top of Men’s National League Division Four (Midlands Conference).

Matt Yates registered an impressive 40-point haul for Thunder, with brother Johnny contributing 12 and Jacob Holt 10.

The team’s hard work at shooting practice was rewarded with 11three-pointers.

Kitchen top scores for nerveless Northants

Northants Thunder beat Oxford City Hoops in overtime in the Under 14 Boys National League (Midlands West Conference).

The scores were level at 62-62, but Northants held their nerve to prevail 68-63.

It was a third successive victory for the Thunder boys.

A tired Northants knew a big effort was needed to in order to secure an overtime win.

A Benas Maldutis free throw saw Thunder regain the lead at 63-62 before some good defence denied Oxford scoring opportunities close to baske.

Allied to a strong rebounding performance from Kris Dambrauskas, Thunder secured the success thanks to a three-pointer and lay-up by Maldutis.

Thunder were led in scoring by Ashley Kitchen, who racked up 24 points, with support coming from Maldutis, who managed to bag 21 points.

Titans exact revenge in Under-14 League

NEBC Titans exacted revenge as they beat Northants Lightning 70-60 in the Under 14 Girls National League (Midlands Conference).

Titans dominated the opening exchanges, rushing into a 12-4 lead, and it was fully seven minutes before Lightning scored their first field goal.

Titans maintained their advantage to the end of the quarter, at which stage they led 24-12.

Lightning reduced the deficit to 36-28 by half-time by taking the second quarter 16-12 thanks to eight points from Dina Kosnikovska, but they were struggling to contain Ella McCahill-Brown close to basket and they knew a big effort would be required in the second half.

It was Titans who took control and an 8-zero run midway through the third quarter saw them extend their lead to 16 points with Lightning guilty of committing numerous turnovers after securing defensive rebounds.

Trailing 52-40 going into the final period of play, Lightning knew a massive effort would be needed to rescue the game but with Kosnikovska well defended, Titans were able to extend their lead.

To their credit, Lightning continued to battle to the conclusion of the game and a 10-2 run at the end gave the final score a more respectable look.

With the two teams having secured one win apiece, the decider will be on Saturday January 27 at the Basketball Centre.

In the 10-point defeat, Kosnikovska top scored for Lightning with 28 points.

Fiona Arthur, with 10, was the only other player to score in double figures, while for Titans, McCahill-Browne secured 25 points, with Virag (18) and Williams (15) also impressing.

Titans exact revenge in Under-14 League

A rest of the world team edged out Northampton School for Girls 65-52 in an Under 14 Girls Challenge Game.

With so many girls turning up for practice and other clubs reluctant to play games, the Northants Club arranged a challenge games for all the girls not involved in the National League fixture against Titans the following day.

The 16 girls were divided into a team of girls from Northampton School for Girls and the other multi-national team representing the Rest of the World.

It was the NSG team that took early control of the game, establishing a 20-4 lead after the first quarter.

The Rest of the World team fought back in the second period of play, taking it 25-9 to tie the scores up at 29 -29 at half-time.

The Rest of the World continued to dominate the third period of play and going into the last 10 minutes, they had edged ahead at 48-41.

They continued to dominate in the final period, holding on to win by 13 points for 
a wonderful comeback victory.

Vera Gulbenova top scored for NSG with 16 points, while Dzesmina Vizgaudyte netted 13 for theRest of the World.

The most pleasing aspect of the match was that 16 girls had played in a competitive game in addition to the two who would play against Titans the next day.

Fixtures

The teams of the Northants Basketball Club have completed their fixtures for 2017 and will be taking a two week break. Games will resume on Saturday, January 6, 2018.

Saturday, January 6: 9.30am-11am: Junior Ballers: 11.30am: Under 14 Girls versus Oaklands Wolves; 1.30pm: Junior Men versus City of Birmingham Rockets ; 3.30pm: Under 16 Girls versus Lancashire Spinners; 5.50pm: Cadet Boys versus NEBC Titans (these games will be played at the Basketball Centre which is situated at Northampton School for Girls in Spinney Hill Road, Northampton - spectators are welcome and admission is free)

Sunday, January 7: Senior Men travel to Derby Trailblazers II