Image Credit: Luke Snell
AFTER THE 2S LOST A thrilling matchup to Leeds 3s, UYBC Men’s 1s looked to level the score against Leeds Men’s 2s in what would also turn out to be a hotly contested matchup. In missing a couple of big starters (in the literal sense of being 6ft6+ in height), the 1s were in for a challenging afternoon.
The first quarter was dominated mainly by York, as expected given how Leeds sit second bottom of the Northern 3B and York are second only to Sunderland 1s. York took more of their chances in possession, notably Taylor Lane who hit converted easy steals from Adelakun and Ainslie to put York ahead. Some early frustration was shown by the rowdy Leeds bench when a travelling call was given instead of one for contact, and Lane hit a three from deep to round out a 14-7 lead for York in the first quarter.
York started the second quarter in similar fashion getting early control, first by Dan Hogg coveting one out of two free throws to get the ball rolling. Good defence from Murphy and President Chris Martin off of the bench kept Leeds forwards at bay near the basket, collecting rebounds and missed three point attempts. Ainslie came back on for Hogg and had an instant impact, winning the aerial battle and converting lay up after lay up to put York 19-10 up with six minutes left in the quarter.
York, however, were unable to sustain this pressure and Leeds got massively back into the game, with their physicality starting to push York into a very stagnant state in terms of scoring, their centre getting a lot of control and slowing the game down up to the mid court line. Leeds were able to get within one point at 21-20 until Adelakun converted two lay ups, the latter from a very physical steal near the mid court line, able to finish it off the back-board with little to no pressure on him. Again Leeds responded, however, levelling the scores at 27-27 to finish the half.
The third quarter was where the Leeds crowd, their 3s team, started to have an effect on some of the York players, jeering at every opportunity they got, most notably at any free throws taken by York players. Leeds started converting on the majority of possessions, and seemed to be running away with the score, taking a 39-34 lead into the final five minutes of the third quarter. They maintained this five point lead until the end of the quarter, even after good responses from Adrian Azaharaini and Niall Murphy.
Going into the last 10 minutes of the game, York needed a big response to the now cocky Leeds crowd who were taking every chance to try get in their heads - most notably Stuart Blair, who had to cover this week, normally being a 2s player, but he responded well, getting into good scoring positions and converting from free throws and collecting rebounds off the backboard. York, however, did get stuck five points behind with six minutes left, Leeds’ guards converting numerous drop back three pointers to sustain their lead in looking to see out the victory.
Time was called by York with three minutes remaining, and this stop in play slowed down Leeds’ rhythm and they started missing three point attempts, giving York easy possession which Lane and Ainslie put into easy layups off the backboard to get York within one point at 55-56. Adelakun made one of two free throws after being fouled to tie it up, and a two point shot from Lane finally gave York the lead for the first time since the second quarter. Ainslie put the nail in the coffin with a deep three pointer from the left side of the court with 15 seconds left, taking some of the pressure off. A small scare from a quick response three pointer of their own from Leeds, a foul on Ainslie gave York two free throws to see out the result, one of which was taken and the 2.2 seconds left on the clock wasn’t enough time for Leeds to even get a shot off.
A great afternoon of basketball, both games going right down to the wire with York getting the better of the Leeds 2s. This puts them on equal points with Sunderland 1s, but they have a game in hand, and it will be interesting to see who out of them, York and Sheffield who sit close behind, will finish top of the league.