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Youngbloods keep play-off dream alive

PUBLISHED: 14:30 18 March 2015

Youngbloods under-18s face the camera

Youngbloods under-18s face the camera

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Wins for under-17s and under-14s has them on course for successful end to campaign

Youngbloods under-18s gave themselves a fighting chance of reaching the play-offs with victory in an exhilarating contest with Solent Kestrels.

Caroline Charles’ team ran out winners by just four points against the Southampton-based side – recording a 67-63 success.

Kestrels soared into an early lead as Youngbloods started poorly, despite home advantage.

The visitors were ahead 24-16 by the end of the first quarter thanks to their accurate shooting as Charles’ team were struggling to find a response.

The Youngbloods coach rallied her team, though, and made a change in defence. It worked as they hit back and outscored their rivals 19-15 in the second.

It wasn’t enough for the hosts to go ahead, as Solent still led by four, but Youngbloods had the momentum now. Both teams produced good basketball in the third and the lead changed times on numerous occasions.

Once again Youngbloods came out on top and this time they levelled the scores to make it 50-50 going into the final quarter.

Joe Rider and Jelani Watson-Gayle helped give them the edge as they took control.

Youngbloods were in the ascendancy now and forcing Solent into mistakes, which allowed the home team to build a healthy lead.

Kestrels tried in vain to get back into the contest, but Charles’ side controlled the final proceedings to earn a four-point victory and the success puts them into a play-off position with just three regular-season games left.

The under-14 boys were also celebrating last weekend as they closed in on a play-off berth.

Youngbloods, also coached by Charles this week, took on Pioneers at St Angela’s Sports Hall and were able to go on and record a win.

Although the youngsters found it difficult to initially get used to having a different coach they still took the first quarter.

Youngbloods extended their advantage in the second to come in 36-29 ahead at the break.

Pioneers made it difficult in the third, but Youngbloods remained focused and extended their lead to eight points with one quarter left.

And despite a late rally by Pioneers, Youngbloods were able to secure a 66-60 success to put them in pole position for a play-off place with one game remaining in their regular season.

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