Report by Mr Costello
The Year 11 basketball team experienced the highs and lows of competitive sport on Thursday 14 November, and hopefully learnt an important life lesson along the way.
It all started out so well, as they demolished a handy Hampton Boys team in their first match-up. The scoring was balanced as they shared the ball and rebounded strongly, complementing their stifling team defensive effort. They then watched Teddington play Hampton Boys. Teddington's Number 1 put on an absolute clinic in ball handling, attacking off the dribble drive and finishing around the rim both in the half-court and on the break. If that wasn't enough, he capped off a fabulous performance by hitting consecutive 3-pointers to round off a 24-point performance (yes, 24 points in 16 minutes!!!!).
Rather than be intimidated, RPA set out determined to shut him down in the next match. Teddington (read Number 1) started strongly, and despite some excellent defence from Axel, Emre and Billy, who constantly double and triple teamed their star, Teddington (yes, Number 1) scored the first seven points, including two "and 1s". After a time-out and some re-jigging on defence, RPA's unbelievable effort and discipline forced him to take contested shots and cut off any driving lane. As a result, RPA came storming back into the match, tying the game up at 10-10 heading into the final minute. RPA forced another Teddington turnover and Axel attacked on the break and threw up an unbelievable reverse lay-in (after hanging in the air), getting fouled in the process. He made the free throw but Teddington (guess who?) went straight down the other end and hit on a tough jumper. RPA came up short at the other end and Teddington called for time with ten seconds left. After denying the inbounds pass, the ball went to Number 1 who was fouled before he could get a shot away. Teddington in ounces with 2 seconds left and the contested shot rimmed out to seal an unbelievable comeback victory. The defensive effort was stunning.
All they had to do to progress to the London Games was to win their final match against Hampton Academy. Simple.
Hampton Academy faced Teddington and Number 1 went berserk. I'm not exaggerating when I say I have paid to watch worse basketballers than this lad. He hit six 3s, midrange jumpshots, free throws and scored with both hands around the rim demonstrating a feathery touch. The only thing he didn't do was dunk it. This game was a blowout, Number 1 scored all of Teddington's 36 points...
Hampton Academy beat Hampton Boys in quite a tight match which set up a must win for RPA to qualify.
RPA obviously thought that victory in this game was a foregone conclusion, and to be honest, it should have been. But in a perfect example of how psychological factors such as arousal and motivation can affect performance, Hampton Academy jumped out to a 6-point lead before RPA could batter an eye. The defensive communication and hustle from the first two games was gone, and the team found it hard to change their mindset whilst in the game. They lost concentration and missed easy shots, and allowed easy layups and offensive rebounds. The second half was improved, but Hampton Academy held on for a 12-8 win which resulted in a three way tie on points with Teddington declared the victors due to their superior points difference. RPA were second and Hampton Academy third.
The team were inconsolable. I'm sure the Teddington teacher will think it's April Fools Day when he opens up his emails tomorrow morning and finds out that his team won.
Hopefully it is a lesson learned for our boys. The moral of the story- never underestimate your opponent. It may be a slight consolation that they host Teddington in the league next Thursday at 4pm. Please come down to support (and you get to watch four quarters of Number 1).
Team- Billy, Craig, Axel, Rasharn, Leo, Emre, Moses, Nish, Dapo, Vadim