Youngbloods end year on high
PUBLISHED: 11:00 23 December 2015
Impressive win for Newham youngsters
Newham Youngbloods under-16s ended 2015 on a winning note with a 74-60 success at London United Harefield Academy.
Laja Ogidan opened their account, with Termon Serrant and Titas Zydelis getting in on the act to build a 9-4 lead.
David Olupitan and Serrant sank three-point shots as the gap grew to 21-11 at the end of the first quarter, with Devante Abana-Odita scoring the first points of the second session.
Alex Distras joined the list of three-point shooters, before United sank two of their own.
And Jonathan Odur, Distras and Abana-Odita added further baskets to leave Youngbloods 35-27 up at half time.
United began the second half with a 10-0 run to take their first lead since early in the game and forcing Newham coach Aaron Senior to call a time-out.
Distras and Serrant set up scores for Abana-Odita, but it was level with four minutes left before Olupitan sank two free throws.
Abana-Odita and Olupitan combined for the next 10 points as Youngbloods moved 54-45 up going into the final quarter and Zydelis struck first for the visitors after the restart, with Ogidan and Olupitan adding to the haul as Shequell Roberts produced great defensive work.
And Menelik Stanley got in on the act, before Olupitan and Ogidan converted further baskets to complete the scoring.
Youngbloods had defeated previously unbeaten leaders Peckham Pride the previous week, after a thrilling contest in south London.
The hosts built a five-ponnt lead, before Youngbloods went on a 7-0 run as Richmond Ariyo and Abana-Odita shone.
The first quarter ended all square at 16-16, but Newham edged four points clear by half time as Zydelis, Serrant, Odur and Abana-Odita led the way.
Peckham turned it around to lead 41-37, but Distras launched a 9-0 run to help Youngbloods move five points up and although the home side replied with an 8-0 tear to go 49-48 up in the final quarter, they hit foul trouble.
Youngbloods went to the line five times in a short spell, but were four points down with two minutes left when Olupitan hit two three-point shots to level.
Adana-Odita’s free throw put Youngbloods ahead with 15 seconds left, but Peckham led with only five seconds to go.
Senior called a time-out and Ogidan converted a rebound with 0.8 seconds left to seal a 60-59 success. “We stayed cool under pressure and we were able to control the situation. This is a long season and we still have a long way to go,” said Senior.