The heavy rain today didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the Hatters U12s. It was an easy adjustment from the dark skies to a darkly lit gym, and from the beginning, the Hatters had their eye in.
Coach Gayles choice of starters set Sharmaine loose against York’s backcourt and from the start, she dug in, and put enough defensive pressure on that would dictate the outcome of he game, forcing turnovers that lead to fast breaks and within the first 5 minutes went ahead 8 – 0.
Hatters U12s clearly had the upper hand and individual play was always available but their focus on team play didn’t waiver. The next 5 subbed in and continued to build on the lead and a big part of increasing the points difference was great passing and second chance effort. For every shot, there was an offensive rebound and second shot that more often than not went in.
A consistent effort from all the girls raced them out to a 49 – 5 lead at the half. At this point it would be easy for them to relax, but at the start of the second half they continued to play hard, being first to get to the floor for loose balls, played pressure defense and continued to push the pace of the game.
The 3rd quarter saw a lapse in concentration and a breakdown in communication in the Hatters defense that allowed York to get some easy shots and soon after four uncontested layups by York, Coach Gayle called a timeout to refocus the team and organise the defense and the Hatters were soon back on track.
Heading into the third quarter, Marley impressively orchestrated Hatters free flowing play with key passes and timely long distance shots.
The last 5 minutes entered a Hatters lineup stacked with guards. A stand out moment that capped off a great win was an offense that had two dribbles and five passes to create an easy layup.
Both teams played hard, both teams showed effort, but it was one team that dominated the game and every member of the team would of been proud and full of smiles on the way home to Sheffield.
Match Report by Mike Payne