Hunters Keep Visiting Dogs On The Leash
Woking Blackhawk Hunters 85 - 75 Hungerford Dogs
With a lot of new faces in a lot of new places, the Hunters were keen to get their season off to a good strong start on Thursday night. Only the visiting Hungerford Dogs and their full court defence stood in their way.
As expected, Hungerford got going with their full court pressure, forcing some tricky passing and frantic movement from the home team in order to break it down. Once broken, points were easy to come by. Rick Lansdell opened the scoring for the season with a couple of easy looks under the basket. But the press wasn't always that easy to break, and a back and forth first quarter ended with the Dogs on top by 2 points.
"We played like headless chickens in the first," said the Woking coach. "Running around in near chaos. We got lucky sometimes, but their press is relentless. We needed to keep our heads better."
The 2nd quarter saw the game start to open up for Woking. A good game plan for the press, some pinpoint sharing of the ball and a solid defensive effort soon put the Hunters up double digits. James Wildsmith scored 11 points in the quarter to help propel them into the lead, while Nick Sammut rebounded almost everything else. Some great assists from Ady Jayaram made it easy for the points to flow. 10 point game, Blackhawks on top.
Yet the sleeping Dogs would not lie down. Hungerford came out in the 3rd quarter and scored 4 3-pointers in the first 5 minutes. Woking were able to keep pace thanks to 8 combined points from Sammut and Lansdell, plus a 3 of their own from James Wildsmith. The visitors weren't done - 6 unanswered points brought them very close to retaking the lead, but "Thunder" Dan Marshall nailed a corner 3 at the buzzer to maintain the score buffer for Woking.
The Hunters held Hungerford off in the last quarter, despite some good shooting from distance. Captain Dave Nuttall controlled the game down the stretch and sank free throws in the dying minute of the game to seal a 10-point win for the Hunters.
James Wildsmith top scored with 24 points. Nick "Sputnik" Sammut added 16 and Rick Lansdell 10. Each player brought something valuable to this game. A true team effort.
"I'm glad the lads were able to get the win tonight," said Captain Dave Nuttall. "I had a terrible game, so if we'd lost I'd have been stewing over that all night!"
Hunters are back in action on the road next week against the Windsor Warriors.
James Wildsmith 24
Nick Sammut 16
Rick Lansdell 10
Dan Marshall 9
Harris Porter 8
Dave Nuttall 8
Sam Cane 6
Vince Elwick 4
Highlight of the game: The ball is rebounded and passed to Wildsmith on the outlet. Wildsmith jumps, catches, pivots and releases a pass to the streaking SAmmut, who dives down the lane to catch and finish at the rim!