Rams U16 I suffered a loss in what turned out to be a close and entertaining game at Harrow Falcons 76-69
The game wasn’t close until right near the end as the Falcons dominated the game for the first 35 minutes largelythanks to the inside defensive presence of their big centre who blocked or changed just about every Rams attempt, a polished performance by an excellent point guard and some good first half long range shooting.
Rams on the other hand struggled to get anything from their offense and on the other end were called for a lot of reaching fouls (so not moving their feet to get their whole body in front of the man they were guarding and choosing to reach in with their hands or catching them with hips and thighs…..all of which are fouls). In addition, lack of boxing out meant Harrow had far too many shot attempts.
Despite all this, Rams were only down 9 at the half but that Harrow lead quickly ballooned to 18 and then on to 23 with 5 minutes to go, the Rams just going through the motions.
Harrow’s point guard, who had controlled the game nicely, breaking traps, breaking down the Rams defence with dribble penetration and moving the ball really well, sat down for a rest. In just a few minutes, with a 13-0 run for Rams a few other smaller runs, the gap was suddenly 3 points. Finally the effort required to win games at this level was on display. Steals, deflections, forced shot clock violations all happening is quick succession.
As the clock ran into the last minute, a Harrow shot attempt was missed. Rams grabbed the rebound and rather than settling down to look for a good shot, decided to dribble out full speed and turned the ball over on the half way line. With nobody back, Harrow threw ahead for the easy layup and a 5 point lead.
Rams launched a couple of long range 3’s that missed and finally when Harrow grabbed the ball, fouling was the only option and Harrow went to the line. Time ran out and the comeback had fallen just short despite a 27-11 final quarter.
The lesson to learn here is that coasting through games doesn’t work against the better teams. The effort shown in the last 5 mins is the effort level needed for 40. It still may not guarantee a win, but it sure will give the boys a better chance.