Despite being understrength, Mystics U14 came through their toughest test so far this season when entering the Land of the Giants to play the previously unbeaten Sheffield Hatters on the wrong side of the Pennines last Saturday. This particular Battle of the Roses again saw red triumph over white in a contest of contrasting styles.
We rely heavily on our speed and could raise a couple of very good 4 x 100 metre squads from our team. Their strength lies in their strength! Consequently, we sought to out-run them. They wanted to pound the basketball into the paint (the key, not a tin of Duluxe brilliant white emulsion.)
This worked very much to our advantage throughout the first half. Our excellent starting 5 of Jane, Mojan, Tiana, Mya and Eniola ran up and down quicker than a high-speed lift to dominate the first quarter by 21-8 and the second by 25-11. My calculator informs me that this meant we led 46-19 at half-time, with Akeala, Adele and Elsa filling in admirably when called upon to give those team-mates gasping for breath a deserved break. Up to now, I had only been able to give Sophie and Fatima very brief appearances but neither let us down in any way.
Sky Sports News would have deemed this to be ‘game over,’ while Bet Fred would have locked their doors. However, whatever Sheffield had to drink during the interval caused a re-think. They were now proving more awkward than trying to write a letter with your wrong hand with gloves on in the dark! They were helped by the fact that, for some unknown reason, we had stopped doing what had worked so well in the first 20 minutes. They won the third quarter 13-20.
Adjustments were required and suggested. Their parents may disagree, but these young ladies are an obedient bunch. They responded well to the advice given and pushed our lead back up to a very safe 25 points before those who hadn’t had the chance to get out of breath were afforded at few minutes to show their worth.
Our 69-51 victory over worthy opponents was fully merited in a performance which bodes very well for the future. Many thanks to James, Laura and Louise for all their invaluable assistance and to all parents/taxi drivers for your wonderful support.