This game was preceded by a moment of silence to honour the life of a grade 12 basketball player from Panorama Ridge in Surrey who collapsed in a game on November 28th and passed away the same day the ‘No Regrets’ Tournament started, Dec, 7, 2017.
Following that sombre note and MC Justin’s anthem (at a higher pitch than comfortable for the baritones in the crowd, we hasten to add) the game was under way. Kits took an early lead and at 6-3 in its favour a timeout was called; then the proverbial worm turned and Handsworth edged into the lead. A late foul with a 2 off the inbound had Kits draw even at 16. Q1 in the books.
Kits’ twin towers of #34 Costa and #43 Armstrong were a formidable barrier. The Demons #11 stole and dunked for the crowd’s pleasure. Great springs on that kid! Now tied at 20. Grant was stuffed by a Kits defender which the crowd also liked. They loves them some drama! Ya gotta luv what the Royals Butler brings to the game in a “Its MY ball” sorta way on the boards. But a 6 point lead for Kits caused a Royals time out. We will see what Coach Mowat can achieve. A couple of possessions yielded little, nothing actually as Kits #11 Asenoguan took over with consecutive baskets. Now it was Kits by 10.
Finally life for the Royals off a Horn 3 but a lapse gave the Blue Demons 4 points to counter it. Blue Demons lead back at 10. Dependence by Handsworth on the long ball is long odds. The shots aren't falling for them. With 35 seconds to go in the half and a 10 point lead Kits called a timeout. Nothing came of it and the buzzer beater attempt by Handsworth didn’t fall either.
Halftime: Kits 38 - Handsworth 28
Halftime thought to ponder: How many ways can you say basket?
Second half: Towers are in for Kits as are the other starters for both teams. Grant scored on consecutive possessions under the basket for the Royals followed by a Blue Demons 3. Handsworth is showing life with Kits lead now at 5. Grant shot from underneath, missed, got the rebound and drew a foul. Royals stole an inbound and scored. This game was turning their way - down by 2. Note to all shooters- follow your shots! Good things can happen. Another Kits turnover and Grant exhorting the Royal troups while leading by example and scoring the tying basket and the go ahead ‘and 1’. Then a time clock buzzer beater by Kits’ Costa see-sawed the score followed by a Horn 3 for the Royals that drew the crowd into it as they sensed a barn-burner in the making. Asenoguan reheated after a cool patch and scored twice dunking the second one. 48-47 Kits. Arc specialist Horn for three and another foul drawn had Royals McLean make both shots and establish the 3Q score at 52-51 for Handsworth. A 23-14 quarter for Handsworth in the comeback.
This fabulous tournament is drawing to a close with one quarter of basketball left. Whatever the elixir Coach Mowat gave the Royals at the half, if it sustains them will create a dramatic finish. An over the shoulder interception by Asenoguan on a fast break pass was unbelievably athletic. It was not until 2 1/2 minutes into the quarter that anyone scored and it was, no surprise, a Horn 3 for the Royals. At 57-53 Handsworth, Costa for Kits makes both shots. Kits regains the lead by 1. Asenoguan insists on getting his own rebounds, the last one for a score ‘and 1’ (which he missed). He will be the key to a Kits win as he is dangerous at all times, more so inside than out. He’s wiggly.
Under 3 minutes to go and Kits are up 3. They turned the ball over but nothing came of it for Handsworth. Handsworth's Stanley drove the basket looking for Livingstone and found only 1 foul shot. Kits’ Costa scored two with a minute to go and down by 4 the Royals called a timeout. Kits ball and a foul of Asenoguan by Grant led to no scoring and the ball was driven back by Handsworth to a foul. McLean cooly scored both and with Kits up by 2 and 41 secons left it was Kits ball after the timeout. A foul by Handsworth after the inbound gave Kits a 3 point lead, then 5 on 2 made free throws and the game was in hand for Kits.
This was a great game! Congratulations to both teams. Congratulations to 2017 boys’ champion Kits.
Final score: Kits 67 - Handsworth 62
Player-of-the-Game: Tiago Costa of Kits