The game commenced with confusion. Halifax had won the tip-off, and immediately surged towards what turned out in the end to be their own basket. Fortunately for them, their shot attempt missed, and after the laughter subsided, the game truly began.
The half started in a tepid fashion, and was rife with errors. Both teams adopted a very casual play style, with the higher calibre players taking up the roles of facilitators.
The first points came from an easy fast-break layup for Halifax, courtesy of the initial misunderstanding. Vanbrugh’s Alvin Tsoi responded with a hard line drive straight to the basket which resulted in an easy layup.
Tsoi continued his scoring with a coast-to-coast layup and an easy putback. Vanbrugh’s Francis Sobowale followed him onto the score sheet with an impressive layup around the defenders, although, due to some intense on ball defence from Halifax, he would later mishandle, ultimately causing a turnover.
Halifax was slowly but surely bolstering their offence, and despite some air balls, they continued to accumulate points, thanks to Gabriele Del Brenna and his tenacious rebounding, which gifted him some easy putbacks. Sobowale closes out the half by attempting a flashy euro step which narrowly missed, leaving the score at 13-12 for Halifax.
The second half began rather abruptly with the referee suddenly handing the ball to Vanbrugh and yelling “Go!” Vanbrugh’s Dante Ellis had an open lane, but unfortunately blew the layup, leading to a fast break for Halifax, and the first points of the half.
More fast breaks were exchanged in a succession of quick back and forth turnovers. Pace of play was extended, and teams began to tire in places.
Vanbrugh’s Tsoi came up with a steal, and charged towards the basket. This promising break however, culminated in Tsoi bouncing the ball off of his own foot. Halifax maintained their lead by upping the pace of their game. Any miss by Vanbrugh was met with a long outlet pass to a breaking Halifax player.
Halifax showed a new, strong side to their offence, with superior ball movement, but their shooting paled in comparison. This was epitomised by a flat-footed Mutombo-esque block by Vanbrugh’s Tsoi. Sobowale started to heat up with an impressive euro-step and a double-clutch layup, but his streak was controlled by some strong full court defence.
As the final minute commenced, the play intensified. Vanbrugh’s increased pressure resulted in a fast break layup, making it 30-26 to Halifax.
After the make, another opportunity quickly arose for Vanbrugh, but an unfortunate travel nullified the basket. With some adept ball movement, Halifax managed to score, and see out the remaining seconds with some active defence, finishing the game at 32-28 to Halifax.
Halifax: Zhang, lansbergen, Del Brenna, Haziq, Custodio, Sethi