JNBL Review: Development, Development and more Development!

Category: News
Author: Tahir Hajat
Date: 2nd February, 2017

All 3 teams were involved in basketball action this weekend, with the U12s completing back-to-back fixtures at home, U14s in Basketball England Midlands I action and the U16s on the road taking on the league leaders Northants Thunder.

U12 Leicester Riders 47 – 36 Nottinghamshire (Harrison 12pts, Carnoth/Goodwin/Chitakunye/Porter/Gammon 4pts)
Yet again another successful weekend for Coach Steve Farrington and the Leicester Riders u12s as they competed in two friendly fixtures in a back-to-back weekend. Up first was U13 Nottinghamshire County select team that featured Riders Zac Atkins. After a slow start from the Riders, an organised Nottinghamshire team took an early 2-9 lead before guards Woodley, Porter and Smith began to get the engine going finishing the 1st quarter 9-11. Riders began to feel their rhythm and great defence from Katchik, Farrington and Murva pushed Riders to a 24-19 lead at the Half. Sean Chitakunye then had his impact on the game as he claimed MVP for his performance, as the Riders continued to maintain strong offensive transition and finish the quarter 34-23 up. A final flurry of baskets from Goodwin and Chitakunye help to see out the game for a 47-38 finish.

U12 Leicester Riders 90 – 19 Rutland Thunders (Harrison 12pts, Woodley 11pts, Goodwin & Routledge 10pts)
The U12s rested and ready for action took on the former Leicester Riders play John Smith’s Rutland Thunders. A developing group based at Catmose College in Rutland, the Thunders showed good spirit and fight throughout the game. Coach Steve Farrington took this opportunity to run the bench right from Q1. A great opportunity for every player to show what they have learnt during the last 6-7 months closing out the half 48-13. Young Riders defence was fantastic going in to the 2nd Half, lead by Ben Carnoth & Mookie Routledge. Riders continued to compete throughout the game with great discipline, Fitzgerald, Lamour Brown and Bryce Woodley making very valuable contributions to end the game 90-19 in favour of the Leicester Riders.

U14 Leicester Riders 102 – 36 Leicester Warriors II (Banwo 37pts, Emejuru 18pts, 12pts)
Coach Pablo Vazquez’s young U14 stars have hit great form coming towards the business end of the season and a fixture vs the developing Leicester Warriors II. The Warriors II squad are a young group of players some experiencing their first taste of Junior National League basketball. However the Riders showed no mercy in another local derby rotating their bench to finish the game with a 66 point win. An amazing performance from Moyo Banwo gave him the game MVP as he made it rain in the Leicester Arena finishing with 37 points. It was a great team performance from the Riders and the introduction of 6’3ft Giovanni Emejuru, recently signed up after playing school basketball at Winstanley School, gave the team a huge morale boost. The young warriors battled on and were unable to overcome the deficit but have shown great improvement through their campaign this season. Final score 102-36.

U16 Northants Thunder 71 – 35 Leicester Riders (Taylor 10pts, Elsworth 8pts)
Another tough fixture for the U16s as they took on the league leaders Northants Thunder on the road. Development was the focus of the tie between the two midlands rivals as a injuries and absence adjusted the Riders roster. Despite the scoreline the Riders put in a tough performance in the first half, rallying behind on another on the defensive end to finish the half 32-16. Owen Elsworth led the battle of the boards and Patrick Taylor performed to his best ability to keep the Riders hanging around before the class and experience of the Thunder took affect. A huge highlight block from Jacob Farrington, called for a foul, much to the amusements of the gym wasn’t enough to keep the Thunder at bay as the Riders missed numerous open lay-ups and shooting attempts. The U16s fell to a 71-35 loss but were given wise words from their Head Coach Tahir Hajat, “We are a young team and will only have two members of the group moving up next season, however we showed fight and focused on ensuring we played the game we had planned too even if the shots didn’t fall. Proud of my group but what great performance from the Thunder.”

For all the latest information on trials and training check out the JNBL Academy page HERE. Alternatively email Tahir@leicesterriders.co.uk for more info.

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