Basketball match ends in brave defeat

It was a tough day at the office for Leeds’ basketball teams in the Christie Championships, as they suffered defeats by Manchester and Liverpool. A high scoring game ended with a 67-43 defeat the home men against Manchester, with the women losing 57-22 to the same opponents. Manchester then made it four wins from four, with 59-42 and 59-29 wins against the Liverpool male and female teams respectively.

It was then Leeds’ turn to face Liverpool, with the men playing first followed by the women. Both matches were entertaining, aggressive and competitive, but, unfortunately, both ended up as victories for the away side. In the men’s case, although the match was evenly fought out for much of the encounter, the 18-10 lead that Liverpool took after the first quarter seemed to do the damage to the home side. The first ten minutes epitomised everything that was going to happen in the match; the relatively large crowd were boisterous; there were some questionable refereeing decisions and Liverpool were able to make the most of their scoring opportunities whilst the Gryphons struggled to make their chances count. That was the only difference between the two teams. 

The second quarter was closer, but Leeds were unable to close the gap on Liverpool, meaning the Gryphons would go into the second half of the match twelve points behind. The build-up play and defence from Leeds were both solid, it was just one of those days when the ball didn’t want to go into the basket, at least not often enough. At the same time, both coaches were saying some choice words to the umpire, as they felt some decisions had gone against their team. Passions were flaring between both sides. The third quarter, at one point, saw Leeds cut the gap to seven points, with the score being 36-29. Unfortunately, the home side could not materialise on this, as Leeds ended the penultimate quarter 12 points behind in 41-29. The match would end 49-35 to Liverpool. Perhaps the score was a little harsh, and not a true reflection of the performance from the Gryphons. On another day, the score would, at the very least, been much closer. 

The women’s team were equally, if not even more so, unlucky. One hour after scheduled (due to the previous matches starting late) this match was well worth the wait. Both sides were combative, strong and equally matched. Liverpool started off the better of the two sides, though, with a slim 11-8 lead after the opening ten minutes. But the lead had slipped between the two sides during the opening quarter, with Liverpool taking the lead, Leeds equalising, then Liverpool taking it back. It was setting up to be a great match for the spectator. 

If the first quarter was close, the second was to be even closer. Playing superbly and in a determined fashion, Leeds pulled the score back to make it 15-15 after half of the match played. The game, it seemed, was going to go down to the wire. At this point, the match was unpredictable. However, things did not go as planned for the Gryphons. After a couple of good triple throws, and a few other points, Liverpool took a 29-17 lead going into the final quarter. This quarter was, ultimately, what cost the home side. 

Going into the final quarter, it was a mountain to climb for the Gryphons. Losing by twelve points, some early points would be needed to have any chance of a comeback. And as much as Leeds tried, and played well, the difference kept increasing. 35-21 to the away side with only a few minutes left on the clock suggested it would, like the men’s, be a defeat which perhaps was harsh on the Gryphons. The full-time score finished 39-24, which definitely was not a fair reflection of the match and the abilities demonstrated by the home side. Leeds were committed, aggressive and played largely well. It was just the third quarter which cost them. As with most sports, it is these fine margins which are so important to the final result. 

Liverpool 39-24 Leeds

James Felton

Featured Image: John Gibby

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