York edge basketball thriller

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Lancaster were edged out of an incredibly tight men’s basketball game by a York side who were largely considered underdogs on the day.

An early Sunday fixture, the two teams were greeted to a surprisingly boisterous sports centre crowd and the game certainly didn’t disappoint the passionate support. Lancaster were looking to follow up a comprehensive win in the away Roses last year with another home win and started brightly in the match.

James Banks in particular looked threatening whenever he received the ball for the home side, sinking two free throws early on as well as a fine finish to add a further two points to the total, making it 9-6 to Lancaster mid-way through the first quarter.

The York response was good as Boedt sunk a beauty of a three-pointer to tie the scores, but Ekem restored the Lancaster advantage just before the buzzer as the home time led 11-9 at the end of the first quarter.

To the crowds delight, the second quarter began frantically as both teams scored freely throughout the first few minutes. Rotimi Keshinro tipped in a basket to end a breathless period of play that saw Lancaster open up a five point gap with the score at 18-13.

York were not to be shaken off easily however, as they took full advantage of their free-throws to level the game back up at 18-18. After both teams exchanged scores again, York took the lead courtesy of good work from Boedt only to see Lancaster’s Hampton net three points seconds later, giving an indication of how the game would play out until the end.

The scoring continued throughout the quarter, as Keshinro added the final points of the half after a wonderful dribble, the score at the break being 29-25 in Lancaster’s favour. A breathless first half indicated that this certainly wasn’t going to be a game for either side to run away with, all indications being it would go down to the wire.

Lancaster made the quicker start though and opened up a six point lead, as Banks continued his fine form with a classy finish within a few seconds of the restart. York once again battled back however, and soon found themselves within a point again, after some inspired play from Adam Lewis.

Two wonderfully composed finishes from Dave Evens kept Lancaster’s score ticking over as York had their first dominant spell in the match, leading the game by a point before a Kears free throw. Sarunas Rubinas scored just before the end of the quarter to give Lancaster a narrow 43-40 lead going into the break, but the tension around the sports centre was now very evident.

York found another level in the final quarter, as Boedt and Zhang caused the Lancaster defence a number of problems with their height and skill. The two combined excellently to give York a 48-45 lead, before skipper Boedt put York in the driving seat with four minutes to play after he increased the lead to five.

Lancaster pushed hard to reduce the deficit, but missed free-throws were costing them points as Boedt netted again to make it 52-46, making Lancaster’s task that much more difficult. It was then the crowd erupted and forced the home side forward, Kesherino and Banks responding to the support to bring Lancaster within three points with 45 seconds on the clock.

It was to be York’s day in the end however, as some incredible skill from Zhang saw the York talisman Boedt net another and end Lancaster’s dream for another Roses victory before Lewis rounded off the scoring, Lancaster 50-57 York.

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