Second home game of the 2021-22 season for the Harlow Hawks 2 team. Once again the local supporters turned up in numbers eager to witness another epic game. The pre-game atmosphere was fantastic. A two minutes silence was observed to commemorate Remembrance Day.
The two sides started the game cautiously, with tight defences and conservative moves in offence. No surprise then the result at the end of Q1 was a mere 11-11. Low score, yet entertaining. The same tone continued in Q2 until two three pointers from each team spiced things up. After 7 minutes the visitors had a six point advantage and were threatening to get away with the game. Hawks reacted immediately with an 8-0 partial in two minutes. Hellcats #21 answered back with his third three pointer of the game to bring the half-time score to 23-25.
The crowd kept the noise up during the interval, while future Hawks stars in the crowd invaded the adjacent court to show their basket-ball skills and keep the energy levels up.
At the start of the second half it seemed nothing could separate the teams. However, a few free throw misses from the hosts and two successive three pointers form the guests, gave the Herts team a 8 points lead. Hawks did not panic. Instead they raised the intensity of their defence to a new level which forced turnovers and gave them the opportunity to come back in the game. This was materialised with an impressive 11-2 run in the last five minutes of the quarter.
Q4 started with a 1 point advantage to the local team. The game remained a very tight encounter with the leader changing four times in the first four minutes. No one was really on fire so every basket was hard fought and every possession was crucial. With less than one minute left Hellcats were up by one. Guli went to the free throw line and converted one of the two shots to draw the match, 47-47. But there was time for one more attack from the visitors.
At this point the noise from the crowd was deafening. The excitement unmeasurable.
Hawks managed to recover the ball and a well organized attack created the space for Russ who ended up in one of his favourite spots with the ball in his hands, primed to take the shot. The shot went, the ball hit the back of the rim resulting in what it looked like a favourable bounce, then a second bounce on the iron sent the ball away as the horn sounded the end of the 40 mins. Extra time!
Nail biting stuff. Two teams fired up, a crowd on their feet. What else can you ask for? (actually a second ref would have been nice, but the single ref did a majestic job controlling the players and letting the game flow.)
Hawks hit first in the additional period but Hellcats replied to maintain the equilibrium. With two minutes left, Hawks went up by one and missed a free throw. Then the opposition scored a completely unexpected three pointer to give them a two point lead 50-52. Hawks were not unsettled by this and in the next attack they found themselves at the FT line. Once again they managed to convert just one of the two throws. A strong defence forced an error from the visitors and provided another opportunity for the locals who set up an organized attack, moving the ball fast and accurately. Mubbasher got the ball in the corner, saw the space under the basket and went for a lay up that was calmly converted, putting the team up 53-52.
But there was time for more. Hellcats attack ended up in the free throw line. The chance to win went away. The chance to draw followed. Two missed FTs and the ball ended up Hawks side with 3.8 seconds left. After the corresponding time out and front court throw in Hawks remained in control of the ball until the time expired. Great game. Congrats to all who took part.
Written By:- E.Abad