Written by John Leong, Handsworth Grad 2011
The Annual North Shore Spirit Games of the No Regrets Tournament are always an anticipated event in the basketball community. Walking into the gym 20 minutes before the game, both teams had taken the court and were warming up with classes still in session. 5 minutes later the bell rang and students swarmed to the gym right until tip-off and into the first quarter.
Handsworth called out all the stops, inviting local Super Fan Crazy P, who, armed with t-shirt gun, smoke machine and an array of strobe lights, had the crowd pumped up. By the time tip off came around, there was standing room only as the bleachers were full and courtside seats were all occupied by senior students and parents.
In a hostile gym, the New West Hyacks came out and won the jump ball, but it was #11 Ben Grant and the Royals who lit up the scoreboard, first opening the game with a three ball. Handsworth was off to a strong start with an equal dose of inside scoring from Grant and a couple early 3s that put them up 15-6 causing New West to call a time out. The Hyacks responded out of the time out with a bucket from #7 Luka Cuk followed by a three ball from #10 Ramadan Ali. The crowd was electrified once again by Ben Grant for the Royals as he had a huge chase-down block. Score after one quarter was 26-17 for the Royals.
The second quarter opened and both teams had clearly calmed themselves down from the energy in the gym and were settling into their half court sets. Crafty guard, #10 Ramadan Ali of the Hyacks, was pushing the ball every chance he got, but the Royals size inside was proving tough to score on. Score at the half was 45-31.
At halftime, spectators were presented with two high energy performances from the Handsworth Dance Team that kept the crowd engaged before the teams returned from the locker room ready to make adjustments for the second half of play.
Whatever the Hyacks talked about clearly worked as they forced four consecutive turnovers by the Royals. As the Royals relaxed, #10 Josh Butler picked up right where he left off the first half attacking the rim and getting easy buckets. Handsworth’s adjustment came in the form of a 2-3 zone that caused some early troubles for the New West team. New West soon started penetrating the zone and finding the gaps forcing Handsworth back to a man-to-man defence. Soon after Ramadan Ali hit a deep two point jump shot that certainly looked like he was fouled as well. The Hyacks had closed the lead to nine points with 3:19 left in the third quarter. Handsworth answered and the score entering the fourth would be 60-45 for the Royals.
Royals guard #3 Blake McLean opened the fourth with a three pointer and transition lay up, but despite the clear home court advantage, Handsworth was missing it’s freethrows which allowed New West to stay in the game early in the 4th. #13 Manny Phangura had stayed steady inside and #11 Alex Tehkle knocked down back to back triples which brought the score to 71-58. That last run was as close as the Hyacks could get in the 4th as the Royals closed them out to a final score of 75-61.
No Regrets Player of the Game: Handsworth Royals #10 Josh Butler
#3 Blake Mclean - 20 Points
#11 Ben Grant - 19 Points
New West Hyacks
#10 Ramadan Ali - 13 Points
#13 Manny Phangura - 10 Points