Wednesday evening and the East Herts Royals are back in town for what’s the start of a local(ish) derby. The sides face off for the 3rd time this season, with the guests stealing the first 2 showdowns by a mere 4 points each time.
First quarter began with Hawks opening up a 14-0 lead as the Royals struggled to find the bottom of the net. Great ball movement on the offensive end and tenacious rebounding at the other had the Royals in a Panic. Now settled in the away side found their rhythm but were met at the basket by an unforgiving defence which sent them to the foul line to earn their points. However, hitting only 2 from ten free throws kept their score low and the Hawk’s spirits high. Looking like a completely new team, the home side scored from all over the court. With Norkeliunas finding easy lay-ups and Niaz & Cohen hitting uncontested outside shots. Even the rookie Callum (a.k.a Gibby) swished in a deep 3 pointer to beat the buzzer and end the quarter up 23-12
Starting the second period, the young hopeful Sargant, with his new found confidence hit a nice teardrop shot from the baseline to continue the offensive onslaught. Continuing to work hard at both ends of the court, Hawks poured in another 20 points to build on their already impressive lead. The guest team still failing to build any kind of chemistry, laboured up and down the floor only managing 10 points in an attempt to compromise the scoreline. Cohen built on his 1st quarter scoring with a 3 pointer, an inside shot for 2, and remained at 100% from the charity strip knocking down 2 from 2. Other scores came from Niaz, Allan and Norkeliunas to see off the first half 43 – 22.
Half time over and the ball back in play, the Royals came out looking for blood. Their intensity heightened and they began to hit shots, stringing together a pair of 6 point runs cut off only by the occasional bucket from the home team. Energy dropped for the Hawks as the younger visitors pressed the ball and mistakes allowed the opposition to chip away the deficit. Proving his worth, Gibby added a further 5 points to the scoresheet giving himself his first double figure score this season. Allan, Cohen and White also contributed to the score to see the quarter out 53 – 37.
Hawks looked to retain the lead they’d worked so beautifully to build in the first half. The guests were however, fired up and ready to claw their way into the lead. Fortune favouring the brave things started to head downhill, quickly. Matching their third quarter scoring pattern, the Royals scored from everywhere, paused briefly only by a single basket from the Hawks on three occasions. Returning to their old ways, the home team refrained for sharing the ball and the effect on the offence was obvious. Bailed out with some hard fouls, White, Patterson, Niaz and Norkeliunas headed to the foul line throughout the quarter only scoring 50% with each of them splitting a pair. Nevertheless, the buzzer sounded for the last time and the Royals where defeated. Final score 65-61 and Hawks were crowned the victors.
Written By:- Lee Morris