It was an interesting weekend of basketball for the Riders Junior Stars, with all three games going right down to the wire to decide the winner!
All three teams were in action for another weekend packed full of basketball across the country. It was the U12s who ventured furthest out as they took the trip down to Sussex Bears, whilst the U16s made a trip to Mansfield Giants and the U14s visited local rivals Leicester Dynamite.
The U16s boys have had a tough season so far adjusting to the speed, physicality and raw talent of teams at the U16s level. It was another tough lesson for them to learn again as inconsistency left them on their knees to an on fire Mansfield Giants 2nd team, who fought extremely hard to gain victory. It was a promising start for the Riders with Fisnik Nuhiji, Dane Carr and Joel Milner leading the pack with big plays on both ends of the floor. However foul trouble came alongside a severe ankle sprain to Carr and the riders were left vulnerable inside the paint.
Two tough injuries to both Papaioannou and Carr have left the Riders light this season but Coach Tahir sees the positivity in the scenario; “This is a great opportunity for other players to continue to learn about other positions on the court and step up their game to level that both Michael and Dane have been playing at. It is tough to have two East Midlands selected players out but the rest of the boys must rise to the challenge.” Fisnik Nuhiji was the game MVP with 30pts, assisted by a tough performance from Dane Carr, Owen Gill and Joel Milner. Final score 66-59.
The U12s travelled to Sussex to increase their experience of playing the game and it was a great chance to travel a long distance and play. A huge commitment from all players, staff and parents to make this event happen saw a crown of over 100 spectators enjoy this U12s game. The first half saw the bears battle fiercely utilising their home court advantage and came out to a 40-21 lead at half time.
However a tough performance in the third quarter saw the young riders close the deficit to 17 points before an explosion of confidence help bring the game within 5 points. Tough full court defence and spirited offence led them to win the 4th quarter 9-21 and finish the game 62-57. Ben Carnoth was game MVP with 21 pts, supported by Hugo Gammon who had 12 and Fabien Porter’s pts.
The final journey of the weekend was a short one for the U14s as they took on the Leicester Dynamite for the 2nd time this season. Riders went into the game as favourites after previously beating the Dynamite in their earlier encounter. It was the Riders who would start strong again with strong offensive plays from James Pinner and Dan Hadley, whilst Howard Dayman put in the work on the defensive end to put Riders in the lead 25-21 at half-time. However the Dynamite came back fighting under the guidance of head coach Dave Harris, pushing the final score to a nail biting 57-60.
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