March 12, 2018, by Cara McIsaac-Hall

Team of the Week: Men’s Basketball 1s

Our Team of the Week this week is the Men’s Basketball 1st team, for a well-deserved win against the Cambridge 1st team 66-56, leaving them to finish top of the Midlands 1A league! In the past Nottingham have struggled against this team, with a hard-fought win against them in November and a defeat last year against a Cambridge squad consisting of just 6 players. However, this match, Basketball made the #GreenandGold proud and bought home a win!

To start the match, despite several opening three pointers, Nottingham found themselves behind. The Cambridge shooters were catching fire from long range and balls weren’t rebounding as well as Nottingham would have liked. But, with some great defending and improved rebounding performance, Nottingham finally found themselves leading by 4 points at the end of the first half.

Cambridge weren’t going to let it be easy for Nottingham though, double and triple teaming scholar Case Bruton. This didn’t stop Bruton from managing to end up with tallying over a third of Nottingham’s points from the match.  The third quarter saw more of the same close game play between the two teams, but with the physicality of rugby-built Cambridge team starting to wear Nottingham down, they sadly found themselves three points down going into the final quarter of play.

In the past, the squad had failed to deliver in big moments like this, but this year Nottingham found that about to change. Inspirational words from coaches and Greg Purnell ‘the voice of UoN Basketball’ sent a fired up #GreenandGold team back onto the court!

Nottingham came back into the game, with some great energy defensively by President Stuart Wharff and Josh Smith, some huge clutch steals by Bruton and Liam Stewart, all whilst being led by point guard Yujin Yamamoto. Finally, Purnell came onto the court and sealed the title with four consecutive free throws!

The brilliant defensive play by Cambridge could not stop Nottingham’s amazing comeback in the final quarter. With Bruton pouring in 19 points, Stewart with 12 and Yamamoto with 9. Smith’s great defensive work also paid off, seeing himself with 16 points and 8 steals.

As the final buzzer sounded, Nottingham Basketball 1st team saw themselves, for the first time ever, as Midlands 1A champions!

President Stuart Wharff told us ‘This is the best and proudest moment I’ve ever had on the basketball court. This club has been my life for three years and I’ve loved every minute of it, this is the perfect send off for myself and all the others who have put hours into the club!’

By winning the Midlands 1A league, this gives the team a shot at promotion into the Premier North league, with the playoffs being held in April, which the team have big hopes for! They also hope that due to their success this year, they can end a two-year losing streak at varsity and beat Trent to the title!

Congratulations to Men’s Basketball!

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