Men’s basketball team edged out in thriller

UNIVERSITY OF YORK 41-42 SUNDERLAND UNIVERSITY
BUCS Northern Conference 4B

Images: Philippa Grafton

The men’s basketball first team suffered a narrow defeat in their fixture against Sunderland this afternoon. Despite wasting a number of scoring chances in the final quarter, York were within a point at the final buzzer and will feel it was a match they should have won.

It was Sunderland who took an early lead in a cagey first quarter, netting an early free throw. York responded well to the early pressure, though, with Stephen Kajekere and Andreas Boedt to the fore on the scoreboard. The former in particular looked impressive early on, securing a tidy three-pointer mid-way through the opening period.

York’s discipline troubled them, conceding five fouls in the opening ten minutes, but Sunderland seldom converted these into points. As a result York ended the quarter 13–6 to the good.

The second quarter opened with a flurry of scores, with Sunderland’s forwards beginning to find more space to get their shots away. The York supporters bayed as a number of decisions went against the home team and Sunderland clawed their way back into the game.

York put up some resolute defence, however, and late in the half first Humphreys and then Prescott scored to restore the home team’s lead. The first half ended 20-13 to York.

Sunderland mounted a stunning comeback in the third quarter, largely from free throws as York’s discipline once again faltered. As the visitors wrestled the score back to 23-23, York called a timeout and looked to have stopped the rot with two quick scores from McStravick. But they conceded two breakaways scored late in the quarter after sloppy passing and Sunderland seized a 33-29 lead.

The impressive Boedt, Janis Zicans and Kajekere led a furious York attack as an exciting final quarter got under way.

Sunderland looked rattled as their lead narrowed and with three minutes remaining, York called another timeout trailing by 41 points to 39. Their defensive intensity was visibly higher as play resumed, but their eagerness cost them as they conceded a foul attempting to claim a rebound, gifting a point to Sunderland.

The hosts replied with an immediate two points of their own, taking the score to 42-41 with just seconds left. York drew two fouls in the dying moments but failed to score any points, and a speculative buzzer beater was sadly not to be. The team can take many positives from their opening performance, but ultimately a poor third quarter in which they were outscored by 20 points to nine, condemned them to a narrow defeat.

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