SOUTHAMPTON UNI SHARKS A 58
WEYMOUTH TANDOORI BANDITS 82
DESPITE taking a small squad of just six players to Southampton, Weymouth Bandits sunk the Sharks, who played in SABA League Division One last season.
Due to logistical issues the game started 15 minutes later than the already late tip-off time of 8.30pm putting Weymouth out of their stride from the off.
The game proved to be a very tough and physical affair, against a young and full Uni squad.
The Tandoori Bandits enduring a gruelling total of 32 fouls throughout the course of the game. It was the Bandits who took first blood, taking a convincing 10-2 lead within the first five minutes with baskets from Dzintars Kalkis, Ian Manley and Julien Lawes.
Some fierce man-to-man defence by Weymouth also held the Uni side to two points in six minutes of play as they struggled to deal with the pressure.
Once they found a way through, the Sharks’ side went on a scoring streak.
Some impressive shooting from three-point territory saw the home side take the quarter 18-14 to leave the Bandits scratching their heads wondering what went wrong in the last four minutes of the period.
The two teams were evenly matched for much of the second, exchanging the lead until three minutes from the end when the Bandits took control. Points from Alex Fuhrmann, Manley, Kalkis and Brett Dunster saw the Bandits end the half ahead by seven points, 37- 30.
The second half was a test of nerve as the home side continued to give the Bandits a hard time in the scoring lane. The visiting side were taking punishment in the form of fouls all game, but refused to let it affect them.
Relentlessly threatening the Uni basket and converting the resulting free throws, the third quarter ended with Weymouth in the lead by 11.
Then came a key moment, two minutes into the fourth quarter, Chris Canham was fouled under the basket to put him at the line for two free throws. As the frustrated home side lost their temper and fiercely disagreed with the games’ officials, they incurred extra penalties. Another four free throws were awarded to the Bandits for technical fouls due to player dissent, one of which saw a Sharks’ player ejected from the game.
Lawes stepped up and converted three out of the four free throws.
The incident had stretched the Weymouth side’s lead to 17 points and although the contest was not over, Bandits knew that Uni had a big job ahead to turn this game around. As the clock ticked away the Bandits commanded the final minutes of the game with great composure and took the final quarter 27-12.
Coach Che Osborne said: “It was tough out there and the Sharks refused to give up easy baskets.
“They made us earn a lot of our points from the foul line, and I think we can be happy with making 31 of the 50 free throws we were awarded. “The players adjusted well to anything the Sharks threw at them and kept their cool when everyone else on court was completely losing the plot.
“We stuck to the plan and continued to play the type of basketball that has seen us win our first three games of the season.
“It took a great performance and attitude towards the game from the whole team to take this win and I can feel the whole team is buzzing and eager to carry this momentum forward into our next game.”
Bandits: Dzintars Kalkis, Ian Manley, Chris Canham, Alex Fuhrmann, Julien Lawes, Brett Dunster Game MVP: Dzintars Kalkis